The Northern Ireland Agricultural Research and Development Council (T/A AgriSearch), is a charitable organisation whose mission is to drive innovation and sustainability in ruminant livestock farming, as a trusted, valued conduit of knowledge and innovation based on sound science, and widely applied research.

The role: Placement Student

AgriSearch is recruiting a placement student for a fixed period of no more than 12 months to assist with the delivery of research projects and with knowledge exchange and communications activities.

The first task which will be undertaken by the placement student will be a farmers survey on beef and dairy farms on issues around cattle temperament.  This survey aims to capture the number and severity of “near-misses” which may not be recorded in HSE’s statistics.  The survey would also examine farmers’ attitude to animals with poor temperament (e.g. culling practices) and farmers’ actions to improve their farm facilities for handling cattle.  AFBI will develop the survey in consultation with AgriSearch and other industry stakeholders. The outcomes will be used to improve our understanding in Northern Ireland cattle farms health and safety conditions, to make evidence-based policy, to improve farmers’ awareness of safety on cattle farms, improve animal health and welfare in NI farms, and to design multidisciplinary scientific projects to address this critical issue.

It is anticipated that this task will take around four months of the student’s placement.

In addition to the farmer survey the placement student will also assist the General Manager and Research Manager with the implementation of AgriSearch’s diverse research portfolio. It is expected that the placement student will also assist organising knowledge exchange events and will work to enhance AgriSearch digital offering including a revamp of the AgriSearch website.

Purpose of Role:             

  • To assist in the design and testing of a survey on cattle temperament across the Northern Ireland’s dairy and beef sectors
  • To conduct face-to-face interviews with dairy and beef farmers and industry stakeholders from across Northern Ireland
  • To enter and collate the data from the surveys into a database
  • Prepare database for statistical analysis
  • To assist as required with the implementation of AgriSearch’s research portfolio
  • To assist with the organisation of knowledge exchange events and activities
  • To enhance AgriSearch’s digital offering and communications activities.

Person Specification:


  • Currently engaged in a third level course on agriculture or related subject
  • Have the right interpersonal and communication skills to gain the trust of a diverse range of people.
  • Knowledge of the ruminant livestock sector
  • Knowledge of health and safety in a farm environment
  • Excellent organizational skills
  • Strong working knowledge of Microsoft Office (especially word and excel)
  • GCSE (or equivalent) in Mathematics and English at grade C or above
  • As travel throughout Northern Ireland is essential the successful candidate must have a full valid driving licence and access to a form of transport that will permit them to meet the requirements of the post in full.

Working hours: 37.5 hours per week

Based at: Hillsborough but with frequent travel throughout Northern Ireland to conduct surveys

Salary: Minimum wage / living wage (as appropriate to age) + mileage

Date: It is anticipated that the student will start on 1st June 2020 and finish on 31st May 2021

An information pack can be downloaded here.

An application form can be downloaded here.

Completed forms should be submitted by 12 noon on Monday 10th February 2020