Animal Welfare Scientist

Chicago, IL
Full Time

Lincoln Park Zoo inspires communities to create environments where wildlife will thrive in our urbanizing world. The zoo is a leader in local and global conservation, animal care and welfare, learning, and science. A historic Chicago landmark founded in 1868, the not-for-profit Lincoln Park Zoo, is a privately-managed, member-supported organization and is free and open 365 days a year. Visit us at 



Lincoln Park Zoo is seeking a full-time Animal Welfare Scientist to join the Animal Welfare Science Program. The Animal Welfare Science Program takes a strategic approach to advancing animal welfare and maximizing our positive impact on animals by (1) prioritizing research questions that have the greatest potential to advance zoo and aquarium animal welfare; (2) developing and disseminating practical methods for evaluating animal welfare; (3) communicating findings broadly and assisting in implementation to enhance animal welfare globally; (4) training the next generation of applied scientists to amplify our influence on animal welfare into the future.


We are hiring a PhD-level scientist to work with us to make progress in our key areas of focus, which include:

  • Capacity Building and Tool Development. We create and support resources that can be used to measure and enhance welfare of animals at Lincoln Park Zoo, throughout the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), and the international zoo and aquarium community. Examples include the development of the ZooMonitor app and associated community support, the Lincoln Park Zoo Welfare Discussion Tool, involvement in professional committees, and training of the next generation through internships and university partnerships. 
  • Understanding Human-Animal Influence. We study the effects of zoo visitors on the welfare of animals, as well as the influence of sound, light and habitat design on animal welfare. We also consider how educational programs impact animal welfare and how the way that people encounter animals impacts their perceptions and likelihood of acting in the animals’ best interest.
  • The Impact of Choice and Agency on Animals. We are interested in how the amount of agency or control animals experience impacts their welfare. We are exploring when and how to offer choices to animals in order to enhance their welfare, and whether the choices animals make, in turn, provide us with insight to their welfare.
  • Advancing Welfare Science of Understudied Species. We aim to identify and validate indicators of welfare for species that have been historically understudied, such as reptiles, amphibians and nocturnal species, and to develop and implement strategies to enhance the welfare of these species the care of zoos and aquariums.


The Animal Welfare Scientist will report to the Director of the Animal Welfare Science Program. In addition to conducting and disseminating original, applied research, the Animal Welfare Scientist will be an integral part of the Animal Care & Horticulture Department, working alongside animal managers to support animal welfare for the animals in the care of Lincoln Park Zoo.


This is an in-person position located in Chicago. Review of applications will begin June 20, 2022 and continue until the position is filled. The expected start date is on or around September 1, 2022. To apply, applicants should submit a cover letter and CV.



  • Designs, conducts, analyzes and disseminates original research that supports the aims of the Animal Welfare Science Program.
  • Disseminates research findings through scientific publications and presentations.
  • Disseminates and translates research findings in an accessible manner to zoo staff from various departments including Animal Care and Horticulture, Learning, Conservation and Science, and Development.
  • Participates in the implementation and regular review of animal welfare assessment procedures, analyzes animal welfare assessment data, and participates in program evaluation.
  • Collaborates with animal managers and care staff to prioritize and implement research that will generate actionable knowledge at Lincoln Park Zoo.
  • Collaborates to support the development and implementation of ZooMonitor, an app developed by Lincoln Park Zoo to record animal behavior and generate actionable insights to enhance animal welfare.
  • Provides presentations that are engaging for non-specialized audiences including the general public and potential donors.
  • Participates in national scientific and professional organizations, including AZA.
  • Participates in Animal Welfare Science Program and Departmental activities, including journal clubs, Lincoln Park Zoo seminars, serving on Lincoln Park Zoo Committees, and participating in outreach and donor events.
  • Supervises and mentors assigned personnel that may include research assistants, interns, students, and volunteers.



  • Ph.D. in Psychology, Biology, Animal Sciences, or related discipline.
  • An expert understanding of animal welfare and animal behavior
  • An expert understanding of research design, data analysis, summary and interpretation
  • Record of publishing peer-reviewed scientific publications in animal welfare or related field
  • Experience presenting research findings to professional and scientific audiences
  • Experience developing or supporting custom software applications preferred
  • Demonstrated leadership working in collaborative professional partnerships, both within and outside of an organization
  • Enthusiasm for working with others, including the training staff and students
  • Ability to communicate research findings in an accessible and engaging way to non-scientists
  • Experience working with opposing views and operating as a facilitator/reconciler of interests
  • Articulate and able to establish, develop, and maintain a strong rapport and positive, engaging relationships



  • Ability to work at computer for long periods of time
  • Ability to traverse zoo grounds
  • Ability to publicly address audiences of varying sizes



Ph.D. in Psychology, Biology, Animal Sciences, or related discipline. Researchers with experience in animal welfare science from outside of the zoo and aquarium industry (e.g., companion, laboratory or agricultural animal welfare) encouraged to apply.  


Available to attend conferences and work special events that may occur outside of regular work schedule, including evenings, weekends or holidays, as assigned.


Proof of COVID 19 vaccine.


Lincoln Park Zoo is committed to an environment that is inclusive and welcoming.  We celebrate the diverse qualities, perspectives, values and experiences of all people.  For Wildlife. For All.


Loading Job Application......