Students from the UK and Australia announced as winners in 2021 Veterinary Evidence Student Awards

Veterinary students from the UK and Australia are this year’s winners in the annual awards, launched by RCVS Knowledge in 2019 to recognise and support students’ engagement with evidence-based veterinary medicine (EBVM) and its application into practice.
Veterinary charity RCVS Knowledge is pleased to announce the winners of its annual student awards, which are managed by their online, open-access and peer-reviewed journal Veterinary Evidence.
The prestigious awards allow students to enhance their academic and research skills by writing a Knowledge Summary and submitting it to Veterinary Evidence, with the chance of being published in an academic veterinary journal before graduation.
The winning Knowledge Summary was written by Alexandra Bartlett BSc (Hons) of The Royal Veterinary College in London, UK, whose summary explored if using NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) can reduce signs of postoperative pain in calves undergoing castration.
Alexandra critically appraised 20 controlled trials and she concluded that there is moderate evidence to suggest that NSAID administration before, during or after castration can reduce the signs of postoperative pain in calves castrated without anaesthesia. Alexandra’s research has the potential to improve calf welfare and benefit farm vets and farmers throughout the UK. She said that she is proud to have her research published in Veterinary Evidence, to add to the knowledge base which will ensure that clients and patients receive the highest possible standard of care, and uphold the high welfare standards for farm animals in the UK.
I first became interested in research during my intercalated year which was unfortunately affected by the pandemic, so my final project was cut short and the summer studentship I had hoped to carry out was unable to go ahead. I was worried that I’d missed out on opportunities to get involved with research during the rest of my time at vet school, so when I found out about the Veterinary Evidence Student Awards, I was really keen to get involved.
“I’m absolutely thrilled to have won the competition and have really enjoyed the opportunity to further my scientific writing and evidence-based veterinary medicine skills. I would definitely recommend the experience to anybody interested in entering!” she said.

Second place was awarded to Erina Leask from The University of Sydney, School of Veterinary Science, Australia, whose Knowledge Summary looked at the efficacy of EMLA cream for reducing pain associated with venepuncture in felines.

Erina said: “I was composing a Knowledge Summary as part of the research component of my veterinary medicine degree. I challenged myself to pursue publication because I wanted to produce something that could contribute meaningfully to our industry’s evidence base and assist clinicians in making decisions that improve animal welfare.
“Writing a Knowledge Summary was surprisingly straightforward! The guides and templates produced by RCVS Knowledge’s Veterinary Evidence really eliminated a lot of the guesswork. Although a little daunting overall, each step of the process felt like an achievable goal, which helped keep me on track and motivated.
“Most of all, this experience has allowed me to hone my critical analysis skills, which I believe will be invaluable as I attempt to practise evidence-based medicine in my own career! Furthermore, publishing an article has been a huge achievement for me, and has been incredibly rewarding in its own right.”
Third place went to Eleanor Best, from The University of Bristol Veterinary School, UK whose Knowledge Summary asked, “In reducing surgical recovery time in rabbits, should doses exceeding 0.2 mg/kg of oral meloxicam be given and is twice daily administration more effective than a single daily dose?”

Eleanor said: “I am really passionate about research and contributing to the expanding knowledge base to improve the welfare of our patients. Entering this competition and writing a Knowledge Summary enabled me to hone my skills in literature searching and appraisal, and I hope to use these tools in general practice to make a difference in the clinic.”
The Veterinary Evidence Student Awards recognise the capability of undergraduate students to produce high-quality research, with all submissions subjected to the journal’s usual standards and peer-review process.
Dr Kit Sturgess, Editor-in-Chief of Veterinary Evidence, said, “The engagement of the students, quality and number of submissions was fantastic and I am enormously encouraged by such a positive endorsement from the vets of the future about the importance and value of evidence-based veterinary medicine and their desire already to contribute knowledge to the profession.”
Chris Gush, RCVS Knowledge’s Executive Director said “With the Veterinary Evidence Student Awards now in their third year, I am really delighted to see the high calibre of applications from veterinary students around the world.
“We are also pleased to see that our free evidence-based resources and research are being utilised by an increasing number of students as well as qualified professionals. All of the winning applications were high quality and well researched and I wish all of the winners fulfilling careers ahead.”
The winning paper is available to read on the Veterinary Evidence website. The second and third place papers, along with the other submissions, will be published and freely accessible in the coming weeks. The awards will be officially presented at the RCVS Honours and Awards virtual event in September 2021.
The Veterinary Evidence Student Awards 2022 are now open to submissions. All undergraduates studying veterinary medicine, veterinary nursing, veterinary bioscience or bioveterinary science are eligible to apply.
Further information is available on the RCVS Knowledge website.

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