Covid-19 update April 2021: Our rehoming centres are currently closed to the public for general browsing. We’re still rehoming virtually and we’re here to help if you can no longer care for your dog. Please don’t visit, or travel to our centres unless you have already been matched with a dog, or are leaving donations at one of our contact-free drop off points.

Meet the Research Team

The overall aim of the Research Team is to make sure that Dogs Trust leads the field with evidence-based standards of best practice for the dogs in our care, and further to inform individuals, organisations and governments on topics related to canine behaviour and welfare.


Our team is managed by Melissa Upjohn (Head of Research)

Melissa heads a widely experienced and talented team of researchers and data specialists who support the generation of evidence to inform Dogs Trust’s operational, programmatic and public affairs work.

The work we carry out comprises new research (where no current evidence exists), collations of existing evidence in to literature reviews for both technical and non-technical audiences, helping teams to assess outcomes (changes at dog and/or people level) and analysing data to evidence the impact of Dogs Trust’s own work.  All of these may be used to:

  • Improve the physical and mental wellbeing of dogs within our Rehoming Centres.
  • Help address dog behaviour issues, by assisting with the development of effective training programs, carried out within our Rehoming Centres or Dog School.
  • Identify key drivers behind the successful rehoming of dogs, in order to ensure dogs are best matched to the new owners.
    Provide support to dog owners, within the wider community, in order to help cultivate harmonious and enjoyable dog-owner relationships.
  • More effectively engage with the public, in order to promote responsible dog ownership and highlight the importance of dog welfare.
  • Inform our discussions with government and policy makers about the implications of their decisions on the welfare of dogs and their owners.

The Research Team is split into 2 sub teams - the Welfare Projects & Grants Team, and the Policy & Impact Evaluation Team - you can find out more about these below.

Jessica Down is our Research Team Administrator across both teams, and Ashley Cairns is our Data Manager. 

If you would like to get in touch with the research team, please drop us an email.

Welfare Projects & Grants Team

For this group, the aim is to explore the 'big issues' in dog welfare.

Policy & Impact Evaluation Team

The aim of this team is to work primarily with internal Dogs Trust teams and continue to embed a culture of evidence-based policy evaluation and impact assessment.