Centre for Companion Animal Welfare

Welfare problems are widespread among companion animals, often with major consequences for both animals and their owners. Centre for Companion Animal Welfare facilitates research into the nature and scale of the problems and how they are best eliminated or reduced. 

Dog that lies on a sofa
Obesity, behavior problems, and dogs who cannot breathe are some of the issue of interest for the Centre of Companion Animal Welfare 📷 Sébastien Lavalaye // Unsplash














The manager of the centre is Professor Peter Sandøe and Associate Professor Irena Czycholl is the deputy manager. They are supported by several additional senior researchers:  Professor Charlotte Reinhard Bjørnvad, Associate Professor Janne Winther Christensen, Professor Björn Forkman, Professor Merete Fredholm, Associate Professor Thomas Bøker Lund, Assistant Professor Iben Meyer, Assistant Professor Roi Mandel Briefer, and Associate Professor Maja Arendt.

Peter Sandøe spends at least 40% of his working time on work related to the centre. Three months a year he is paid based on centre funds and two months a year his salary is based on co-financing (with one month from each of the institutes he is employed at). The other senior researchers will, in agreement with the centre management, be paid to the extent they contribute.

The centre is affiliated with the Department of Veterinary and Animal Sciences at the University of Copenhagen (where Peter, Iben, Björn, Merete, Irena, Roi and Maja are employed) and collaborates with the Department of Veterinary Clinical Medicine, University of Copenhagen (where Charlotte is employed), the Department of Food and Resource Economics, University of Copenhagen (where Peter and Thomas are employed), and with the Department of Animal Science, Aarhus University (where Janne is employed).

Peter Sandøe has the overall responsibility of the centre; for planning the centre's research in collaboration with the group of senior researchers and for ensuring public dissemination of research activities, e.g. via this webpage and via an annual conference. Should Peter Sandøe not be able to undertake his position as manager anymore, the deputy manager takes over the responsibility for the centre.

Steering group

At least four times a year, the group of senior researchers meets and plans the centre's work. To ensure the relevance of the centre's work in a Danish context, an advisory group has been set up. The group meets with the group of senior researchers once a year and has the opportunity to comment on completed, ongoing and planned research. The members of the advisory groups are:

  • Christine Fossing, Chair of the Companion Animal Group at the Danish Veterinary Association
  • Jens Jokumsen, Head of companion animals, shelters and education at Animal Protection Denmark
  • Maria Gravgaard Laursen, Veterinarian at the Department for Animal Welfare and Veterinary Medicine, Danish Veterinary and Food Administration
  • Mette Uldahl, Veterinary consultant at the Danish Equestrian Federation
  • Helle Friis Proschowsky, Special Consultant at the Danish Kennel Club
  • Charly Riis, Chair of the Danish Siamese and Orientales Ring Club

Scientific Advisory Board

To strengthen the academic quality and international collaboration, a Scientific Advisory Board is set up. The Scientific Advisory Board consists of the following people:

  • James Serpell, Professor at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine 
  • Susan Hazel, Senior Lecturer at the School of Animal and Veterinary Science, University of Adelaide
  • Dan O'Neill, Senior Lecturer at the Royal Veterinary College, University of London
  • Uta König von Borstel, Professor at the Justus-Liebig-University of Giessen


















Involved researchers


Name Title Phone E-mail
Björn Forkman Professor +4535333581 E-mail
Cecilie Ravn Skovlund Postdoc +4520270506 E-mail
Charlotte Reinhard Bjørnvad Professor +4535332864 E-mail
Iben Meyer Assistant Professor +4523983879 E-mail
Irena Czycholl Associate Professor +4535329677 E-mail
Maja Louise Arendt Associate Professor +4535336130 E-mail
Merete Fredholm Professor +4535333074 E-mail
Peter Sandøe Head of Section +4535333059 E-mail
Roi Mandel Briefer Assistant Professor   E-mail
Thomas Bøker Lund Associate Professor +4535336861 E-mail


Name Title Telephone E-mail
Janne Winther Christensen Associate Professor +45 87158075 E-mail
Svenja Springer Post.doc +43 1 25077-2687 E-mail


Centre for Companion Animal Welfare has received funding to cover the costs of establishment and operation from Skibsreder Per Henriksen, R. og Hustrus Fond.

Centre name: Centre for Companion Animal Welfare
Start: Januar 1, 2020 


Peter Sandøe


+45 35 33 30 59

Irena Czycholl 


+45 35 32 96 77