People: Alison Skipper, Dan O'Neill, Rowena Packer

Vet Compass Project Type: Dog

dteAlison Skipper dog photo

Dates: September 2022 - March 2024


This project, supported by four leading UK canine charities in partnership with the RVC, will explore the levels and distribution of UK canine health research funding over the last decade, and analyse the areas of research this has included. Through collaborative discussion with funders, vets, scientists, dog breeders and owners, the project will develop a joint strategy to agree priorities for future research funding decisions.

Funding Partners  

This project is co-funded equally by Battersea Dogs’ Home, Dogs Trust, the Kennel Club Charitable Trust and Waltham. These partners are also all supplying research data to the project. Additional research data will be provided by the Animal Welfare Foundation, Pet Plan Charitable Trust, PetSavers, and other canine charities and funding bodies.


Historically, UK charities that support canine health research have made funding decisions with limited consultation between themselves or with other key stakeholders. Without a clear, shared, overarching strategy for funding distribution, each organisation has tended to independently decide which projects to support. This can lead to a situation where some important research topics are generally neglected, while other separately funded projects may inadvertently overlap.  

Moreover, with no central platform or space dedicated for communication on funding strategy between different stakeholders, it is difficult for grass-roots people and groups closely involved with canine health, such as dog owners/caregivers, to contribute to the planning of future research. Consequently, projects with considerable real-world impact may inadvertently be overlooked in favour of those that appear more scientifically innovative but may be of less practical relevance.  

This project will address both these problems through a gap analysis of UK canine health research funding.


This project aims to analyse how UK canine health research funding has been allocated in the past and to compare this with collaboratively agreed current priorities for canine health research funding. It will produce a central agreed strategy for future funding decisions and create a pilot consultation process that could be used to develop a central platform for future collaborative research prioritisation. 

Project structure and methods  

This project is divided into three phases.  

  1. (September 2022 – March 2023) Firstly, data will be collected from a wide range of UK charities and as many other in-scope funders as possible. This will be used to analyse what types of research have been funded and how these decisions have been made, creating a comprehensive survey of the UK canine health research funding landscape over the past ten years.
  2.  The second phase (March-September 2023) will involve collaborative and iterative discussion with a wide range of representative relevant stakeholders, to include funders, first and second opinion veterinary clinicians, research scientists, dog breeders and dog owners/caregivers. This will establish holistic consensus agreement of current priorities in canine health research.
  3.  In the third phase (September 2023-March 2024), past research funding will be compared with present research priorities to create evidence-based guidelines that indicate which research topics should be supported in the future. This gap analysis will be used to produce an agreed central framework for subsequent research funding decisions by participating stakeholders.

How to get involved

If you work with an organisation that funds or carries out canine health and welfare research in the UK, please contact Alison directly ( for more details. We’d particularly like to hear from smaller groups that might not be on our radar. However, we want to produce as full a survey as possible, so please get in touch even if you think we may already be aware of your work!

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