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Dr. Elsa Vasseur

Elsa Vasseur is an Associate Professor in the Department of Animal Science at McGill University and Co-Chairholder of the Research and Innovation Chair in Animal Welfare and Artificial Intelligence (WELL-E), alongside Abdoulaye Baniré Diallo (Computer Science, UQAM). The goal of which is to tackle new tech technologies (i.e. AI and IoT) and develop toolkits for the monitoring and improvement of human and animal welfare. She is also program director of the Global Food Security program at McGill. She founded the CowLife McGill Lab in 2016, upon the creation of the NSERC Industrial Research Chair Novalait-Dairy Farmers of Canada-Valacta on Sustainable Life of Dairy Cattle. 


Much of her research centers on agricultural systems, and specifically through the lenses of food security and farm animal welfare in national and international contexts. Her research takes into account realities of farming and leverages contacts with industry stakeholders to lead to the development of recommendations for best practices and novel approaches for knowledge transfer to Canadian farmers and beyond. Grounding her work in multidisciplinary collaboration, Vasseur takes both animal- and socio-economic approaches to improving animal wellbeing and longevity, farm profitability and sustainability.


Working directly with producer groups is at the heart of Vasseur’s work, both locally and internationally. Vasseur is the Program Director of Global Food Security at McGill. She is also an instructor in the Barbados Interdisciplinary Tropical Studies (BITS). Her international research and development work includes a recent UN-FAO funded project focussing on women empowerment in Senegal livestock value chains, and a CECI-led project supporting local university in research, training and knowledge transfer in agriculture in Haïti.


Vasseur’s academic background is multidisciplinary and areas of expertise are plural, ranging from i) applied animal behavior science (ethology) for a better understanding of animal needs, ii) the development of outcome measures of welfare for animals in confinement and the links between those outcomes and the risk factors in housing and management, iii) the advancement of animal welfare through innovations in technology, iv) the study of knowledge and technology transfer methods to encourage adoption of new practices by farmers, and v) the associations between farming systems and local and global food security.

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