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ISES 13th Equitation Science conference – ISES 2017 Down Under

Charles Sturt University, Wagga Wagga, New South Wales, Australia

Professor Natalie (Nat) Waran

BSc (Hons), PhD

Presenting: Standing on the Shoulders of Giants.

Nat is an applied scientist by training, and an educationalist at heart. She describes her research and education interests as being in the field of ‘One Welfare’ – the relationship between animal and human health and welfare, an interdisciplinary area combining aspects of: social sciences, health and veterinary sciences with education, ethics and law. She has a long standing research and practical interest in horse behaviour and welfare, having published on a number of topics including; horse transport, welfare assessment, temperament testing, weaning, feeding and stereotypies, indicators of stress and pain behaviours. Her interest in equine training, performance and welfare led to her being a co-founder of the International Society for Equitation Science (ISES) with the first workshop on Equitation Science being held in Edinburgh in 2004. She served as the inaugural Senior Vice President for the first few years of the organisation’s history and was flattered to be made an Honorary Fellow in 2014.

Natalie gained a first class Zoology degree from Glasgow University, and her PhD from Cambridge University’s Veterinary School funded by the British Veterinary Association’s Animal Welfare Foundation. In 1990, she joined Edinburgh University as a young lecturer to develop and direct a unique Postgraduate Masters programme in the new area of Applied Animal Behaviour and Animal Welfare. This was the first PG programme for the emerging discipline, and it is still considered the gold standard qualification in the field after 26 years. After 14 years, during which time she developed a number of other educational and research initiatives at Edinburgh, including an MSc in Equine Science, an equine behaviour referral clinic based at the veterinary school and led an anthrozoology and animal welfare research group, she and her family decided to make a life-changing move to New Zealand when she was invited to become the Chair of Animal Welfare at Unitec Institute of Technology in Auckland. Nat worked at Unitec for just over 6 years, taking up the role of Head of the School of Natural Sciences and Associate Dean (Research) in the Faculty of Social and Health Sciences, and developing the animal behaviour and welfare research and educational programmes there.

Early in 2011 she decided  to leave Unitec and New Zealand, to take up the exciting new challenge of developing a new centre of excellence for international animal welfare education, supported by a generous £2 million grant from the Marchig Animal Welfare Trust. As the inaugural Director of the new Jeanne Marchig International Centre for Animal Welfare Education, she has developed international networks and working partnerships with overseas governments, universities, professional bodies and NGOs, to develop and deliver innovative capacity building initiatives for improving the quality of life for animals and the people that rely on them, through education, capacity building training and by influencing policy at the highest level. This has involved the development of accessible education packages, translated into a number of languages, MOOCs (Massive open access online free courses), new online International PG Masters programmes, shared international pathways in UG and PG degrees, international government-level workshops for policy advisors, veterinarians and health professionals within the area of One Health and One Welfare, and the general promotion of the new multidisciplinary area of ‘One Welfare’. Combined with her joint role as the University of Edinburgh’s Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies’ Associate Dean (International), and her university role as part of the global executive, Nat has considerable experience with working in many different parts of the world, and in particular across Asia. In 2016, after 5 wonderful years back in Edinburgh, Natalie and her family (including 2 horses, 3 dogs and 3 cats) decided they needed to live where there are higher temperatures and more sunshine hours, and so she recently returned to New Zealand to take up the position of Professor of One Welfare and Executive Dean at the Eastern Institute of Technology in sunny Hawkes Bay.