Edinburgh Research Explorer

Jill MacKay

Lecturer (Veterinary Science Education)

Profile photo

Willingness to take PhD students: Yes

Education/Academic qualification

2010Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), University of Edinburgh
Characterising personality traits in cattle through the use of biotelemetry systems
2004Master in Science, University of Glasgow

Professional Qualifications

2019Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, SFHEA
2016Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, FHEA


I am a lecturer in veterinary science education and explore how we educate people in STEMM fields. My main interest is in research methodology, and I teach in this area at undergraduate and postgraduate levels. As an interdisciplinary and mixed methods researcher, my research interests are broad, although I mainly explore how educators can utilise digital tools in their teaching, with a focus on video resources such as lecture recording and MOOCs, and game-based learning. I also research the development of professional identity and student experience.

I’m very passionate about public engagement with science and blog regularly at Fluffy Sciences. I have also written a popular science book on animal personality. I participate in many science festivals and am happy to do guest spots with student groups or special interest groups when asked.

Please feel free to contact me with any queries.  

Current Research Interests

Within education research: Digital education (effectiveness, utilisation and effects on experience), student learning, student experience, staff teaching experience, effective public engagement.

Within human-animal relationships: animal support, companion animal welfare, animal welfare education.

Research Groups

I am based within the VMED (Veterinary Medical Education) research group. We have a wide remit looking at many aspects of veterinary education including student support and wellbeing, feedback and assessment and e-learning.

I am associated with the Global Academy of Agriculture and Food Security which aims to support decision making to transform agri-food systems and food security.


I also maintain links with the Jeanne Marchig International Centre for Animal Welfare Education group at R(D)SVS, reflecting my interest in personality and human-animal relationships. 


Veterinary Undergraduate (BVM&S)

  • Student Research Component

Agricultural Science BSc (Hons)

  • Professional Skills

Clinical Animal Behaviour Online MSc

  • Principles of Animal Behaviour

  • Anthrozoology

 International Animal Welfare Ethics and Law Online MSc

  • Research Planning and Methodology in Animal Welfare

Administrative Roles

Course leader: Student Research Component (BVM&S, co-organiser); Research Planning and Methodology in Animal Welfare (International Animal Welfare Ethics and Law Online MSc); Professional Skills (Agricultural Science BScs)

Exam board chair: Integrated Farm and Clinical Course


I run a public engagement blog, Fluffy Sciences at www.fluffysciences.com

Research activities & awards

  1. The Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour Summer Talks

    Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesPublic Engagement – Public lecture/debate/seminar

  2. Scientific Reports (Journal)

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesPublication peer-review

  3. IGMM 'Science Insights' Work Experience Programme

    Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesPublic Engagement – Schools engagement

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