Centre for Behaviour and Evolution

Staff Profile

Professor Candy Rowe

Professor of Animal Behaviour and Cognition, Director of NUAcT Fellowship Scheme



I came to Newcastle in 1998, first as a Sir James Knott Research Fellow, and then as a Royal Society Dorothy Hodgkin Research Fellow, before being appointed an academic member of staff in 2005. My expertise lie in animal behaviour and cognition, with particular interests in animal communication, camouflage strategies and animal welfare. I set up and co-directed the Centre for Behaviour and Evolution in 2007, which has successfully built new and interdisciplinary collaborations between researchers interested in behaviour from across the university.

I am passionate about advancing EDI in universities and the wider research environment. In 2014, I relaunched NU Women and was Chair for two years (2014-2016), before taking over as the academic Athena SWAN Lead for the Institute of Neuroscience: we were awarded Silver in 2016. I subsequently became the Faculty's Director of EDI (0.4FTE, or 2 days a week, 2016-2019), leading the first Athena SWAN application for the entire Faculty, which was awarded Silver in 2018. I currently lead the university's For Families project to make the university a leader in being family friendly by 2021.

I am also Director of the Newcastle University Academic Track (NUAcT) Fellowship Scheme, which will be investing £30M to support around 100 new fellowships over five years (2019-2023). This is an exciting role, allowing me to support fellows in their transition to independence, and help develop new ways of thinking and doing research.


Research Interests

I work on the sensory and cognitive processes of animals in an evolutionary context. During my DPhil, I developed an interest in 'multimodal communication', where information is transferred between animals in more than one sensory modality. By studying the multimodal warning signals of toxic insect prey to their avian predators, I showed how cognitive systems can select for combinations of visual signals with olfactory and/or acoustic components. More recently, my research has focussed on how predators make optimal foraging decisions when faced with a variety of palatable and toxic prey, and the implications of these decision-making processes on the evolution of prey defence strategies. I have also explored what makes an effective warning signals, and how high contrast patterning could be an effective form of camouflage for moving prey.

I apply my expertise in animal cognition and behaviour to think about the evolution of cognition and the brain, and to address important questions in animal welfare. I am particularly interested in laboratory animal welfare, and how to best measure the welfare of rodents and primates and improve experimental protocols and husbandry procedures.

I am also actively conduct research relating to advancing equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) in an academic context. Projects I am leading or contributing to involve those on unconscious bias, reward and recognition for EDI roles, and developing an EDI toolkit for research leaders.

My work has been supported by the BBSRC, NERC, NC3Rs, the Royal Society, the Wellcome Trust and the Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour.

External Activities

Grant Panel membership: I am currently Deputy Chair of BBSRC Committee A (2019-2022). Previously, I have served on the NC3Rs Grant Panel (2013-2015), BBSRC Committee A (2014-2016), BBSRC Training Awards Committee (2010-2012), a Norwegian Research Council (2013-15, Chair from 2014); BBSRC CASE Studentship Panel (2013).

Editorships: Most recently, I have been an Associate Editor for the Proceedings of the Royal Society B (2015-2017), but I have also been an Editor for Behavioral Ecology (2008-2013), and a Guest Editor for Behavioral Processes 'Cognition in the Wild' (Special Issue, 2014).

Other: I have been the Secretary for the Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour (2007-2012); Member of an Athena SWAN Assessment Committee (2013), and regularly review Athena SWAN applications for UK institutions.


I currently teach and tutor students on the MRes in Animal Behaviour. I also provide undergraduate and MRes projects in animal behaviour and welfare.