Society for Companion Animal Studies Confirms Successful Applicants for 2020 Research Funding Round

The Society for Companion Animal Studies (SCAS) is proud to announce the successful applicants to its 2020 round of research funding. This is the first of three annual funding rounds planned for 2020, 2021 and 2022. The aim is to support research which furthers current understanding of the human-animal bond.

The human-animal bond is a mutually beneficial and dynamic relationship between people and animals that is influenced by behaviours that are essential to the health and well being of both. This includes emotional, psychological, and physical interactions of people, animals, and the environment. Projects to this round of funding were prioritised if they focussed on animal assisted interventions, particularly with children, explored the human-companion animal relationship or utilised cross-disciplinary working.

Five pump priming grants were awarded to the following projects:

  • A framework for understanding the impact of dog ownership and its related activities on the mental health of autistic adults (Ana Maria Barcelos, University of Lincoln, £9,771).
  • SAFE – Safe Animal Friendly Eldercare. Developing a comprehensive multi-species risk management tool to enable people to bring their companion animals into high needs residential aged care (Dr Janette Young, University of South Australia, £10,000).
  • Exploring the use of animal assisted interventions in educational settings: A mixed method approach (Dr Lauren Finka, Nottingham Trent University, £9,952.30).
  • Physiological assessment of the effects of human-animal interaction on social anxiety in adolescence (Dr. Megan Mueller, Tufts University, £9,982).
  • How best to say goodbye? Exploring new ways of enfranchising childhood experiences of grief following the loss of nonhuman life or the termination of a nonhuman supportive relationship (Professor Samantha Hurn, University of Exeter, £9,989.34).

In response to the ongoing covid-19 crisis, an additional project was funded which will examine the impact of the pandemic on companion animal relinquishment and abandonment (Dr Catherine Reeve, Queen’s University Belfast, £9,285).

SCAS also funded the open access publication of a systematic review examining current evidence on the effects on assistance dogs on psychosocial health and wellbeing (Kerri Rodriguez, Purdue University, £1,372). We will be providing more detail of included studies in the coming weeks.

Commenting on the recent funding round, Elizabeth Ormerod, SCAS Chair, said “SCAS was pleased to receive grant applications from scholars across the globe. Continued research into human-animal interactions, combined with practitioner training, is essential to help ensure that the field continues to develop responsibly, thus enabling more people and animals to benefit from carefully planned interventions.”

Acknowledgements: SCAS would like to thank the legacy donors who made this funding possible, the lay panel members who contributed to the review process reviewers, the research working group and the SCAS Board.

The call for the deadline for the next round of funding will be early 2021.

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