Professor Robert Young

School of Science, Engineering and Environment

Photo of Professor Robert Young

Contact Details

Peel Building Room G51

Office times: 1pm to 3pm Thursdays

Please email for an appointment.


Current positions

Chair in Wildlife Conservation


Ever since I was a child I was fascinated by animals and their behaviour.  Growing-up in the 1970s I became aware that if I wished to study animals in the wild or zoos that animals first needed to be conserved and their welfare protected.  It was, thus, that studied for a BSc (Hons) in Biology at the University of Nottingham (1986-1989) and then did a PhD in Animal Behaviour/Animal Welfare at the University of Edinburgh (1989-1993). 

After this I worked for four years, as a researcher, at the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (Edinburgh Zoo) before moving full-time into academia.  Whilst working at Edinburgh Zoo I learnt about how zoos can make significant contribution to animal conservation whilst at the same time respecting the wellbeing of their animals.  From 2001-2013, I worked as Professor of Animal Behaviour and Conservation at a Brazilian university (PUC Minas in Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais) where I was able to realise my lifelong ambition of conducting fieldwork on everything from mammals, birds and reptiles to fish. 

In 2013, I returned to the UK accepting the Chair in Wildlife Conservation at the University of Salford Manchester where I divide my time between field conservation projects mainly in Brazil but also Madagascar – and zoo-based research (both conservation and animal welfare orientated).  In my career to date I have published research on approximately 50 different species of animal (everything from giant anteaters to humans).  I am the author of more than 100 full scientific papers and one textbook about zoo animal welfare. 

Recently, my research group has become very interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary, and we are using a wide range of methodologies and techniques to answer scientific questions including: behavioural observations, biotelemetry, molecular biology, microbiology, colour analysis, machine learning (artificial intelligence), bioacoustics, biogeography, social network analyses, physiological, amongst others. 

All of this rich experience I bring to the supervision of my postgraduate students and to my teaching/tutoring/supervision of undergraduate students.  My greatest pleasure as an academic is sharing my wonder of animals with the students that I supervise and teach.

Areas of research

Wildlife Conservation, Animal Welfare, Animal Behaviour, Zoos, Anthropogenic Impacts

Areas of supervision

Animal Conservation, Animal Behaviour, Animal Welfare


Undergraduate: Introduction to Zoo Biology; Zoo Animal Management: Final Year Project; Study Skills; Wildlife Study Skills; Evolution.

Postgraduate (MSc): Wildlife Biology, Ecology and Behaviour; Contemporary Topics in Wildlife Conservation; Acoustics Master Class.

Research Interests

  • Animal Conservation
  • Animal Behaviour
  • Animal Welfare
  • Zoos

Qualifications and Memberships


  • BSc (Hons) Biology (Nottingham 1989)
  • PhD Animal Behaviour and Welfare (Edinburgh 1993)