Practice driven innovation in the laying hen sector.

Lisa van Dijk, Claire Weeks, Henry J Buller, David Main

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference Contribution (Conference Proceeding)


Commercial animal husbandry has undergone many changes recently in response to animal welfare and sustainability concerns. These changes often require producers and industry to modify existing practices, thereby creating opportunities for experimentation and innovation. With the growing recognition that the traditional model of knowledge transfer from scientific research to industry practice has not always been effective in addressing hoped-for changes in animal welfare and environmental sustainability, a growing emphasis is now being placed on more cooperative forms of knowledge generation and experimental innovation. Using the laying hen sector as a case study, the Hennovation project aims to explore and test novel mechanisms for addressing and overcoming the ‘research/practice’ divide in the delivery of sustainable animal welfare practice in two specific areas of current farm animal welfare concern: feather pecking amongst laying hens and end-of-lay transport.
The research project promotes practice-driven innovation through the establishment and encouragement of innovation networks of both producers and the hen processing industry that proactively search for, share and use new ideas to improve hen welfare, efficiency and sustainability within laying hen systems. Up to 20 networks are being mobilized at different levels of the production chain, local, national and European level. These networks are supported by science driven-actors, such as veterinary surgeons, farm advisors and scientific researchers alongside market-driven actors, such as those who buy eggs or certify egg production. Critically, the need for innovative responses amongst producers and industry drives the innovation process.
In focusing on the dynamics of practice-driven cooperative approaches to innovation and its articulation with existing science and market-driven actors, this project explores and identifies the conditions necessary for a significant and lasting shift in the relationship of science, innovation and practice within the egg-laying hen and other animal production sectors.

Acknowledgements: The HENNOVATION project is a European level collaborative research project with 6 academic partners funded under the topic 'Closing the research and innovation divide: the crucial role of innovation support services and knowledge exchange” of the Horizon 2020 EU Research and Innovation programme.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAWSELVA-ECAWBM-ESVCE Congress Proceedings
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 30 Sep 2015
EventAWSELVA-ECAWBM-ESVCE Conference 2015 - SS Great Britain, Bristol, United Kingdom
Duration: 30 Sep 20153 Oct 2015


ConferenceAWSELVA-ECAWBM-ESVCE Conference 2015
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


  • Practice driven innovation
  • Laying hen
  • Knowledge exchange


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