Dr Jill Fernandes

Research Fellow

Centre for Animal Science
Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation
+61 7 334 62821


Dr Jill Fernandes is a decision scientist at the Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation, The University of Queensland. Decision science is the field of research concerned with making optimal choices based on available information. Practitioners of decision science use a suite of qualitative and quantitative methods from political science, behavioural economics, cognitive and social psychology, neuroscience, and computer science to inform decision-making at the individual and population levels. Dr Fernandes uses decision science to inform evidence-based policy in government and other sectors. Through her work, Dr Fernandes aims to empower people to make better decisions about the messy, complex problems facing our society.

Dr Fernandes joined The University of Queensland in 2017 after concluding her Fulbright Scholarship research on mosquito control in Germany and her PhD in Environmental Science and Policy at the University of Miami. Trained as an interdisciplinary scientist, Dr Fernandes currently undertakes research in the field of decision science with a focus on policy problems and decisions in animal welfare. She collaborates with a wide variety of organisations with an interest in animal welfare to help them clarify their options and make better decisions.

Specifically, Dr Fernandes is interested in the following areas:

Evidence-based decisions

  • How do we capture evidence that truly reflects what we are trying to understand (e.g. what an animal is experiencing)?
  • How do we make decisions with incomplete evidence?
  • How do we incorporate evidence into decisions along with normative, economic, and social considerations?

Adoption of 'best practices'

  • How does an individual decide to change his or her practices (e.g. to adopt best practices in animal welfare)?
  • What kind of decision support is most effective for promoting practice change?
  • How does social interaction influence the adoption of best practices?

Social influences on decision-making

  • Which groups influence policy decisions and how?
  • How does social interaction influence decisions at the individual level?
  • How do power dynamics within groups influence collective decisions?

'Wicked' or complex problems

  • How can we make better decisions when there is uncertainty about the problem and the solution?
  • How can diverse stakeholders work together to address wicked problems more effectively?
  • How can we make decision-making more transdisciplinary, adaptive, and participatory?

Civil society and social change

  • How does civil society influence policy decisions?
  • How can civil society contribute most effectively to innovation?
  • How useful is the participation of civil society in policy development?

Research Interests

  • Decision science
  • Animal welfare
  • Wicked problems
  • Political science
  • Design thinking

Research Impacts

The Animal Welfare Collaborative (TAWC)

Dr Fernandes and her colleagues have been involved in establishing a UQ impact initiative called The Animal Welfare Collaborative (TAWC). TAWC is a broad network of individuals, companies, and organisations working together to improve animal welfare. The network is facilitated by key Australian universities. TAWC facilitates positive change in the welfare of animals by providing the following:

  • A safe forum for diverse groups to engage constructively around ways to improve animal welfare
  • A supportive network for those with animals under their care to learn from others and grow in their capacity to ensure the welfare of the animals
  • A clear process for those with animals under their care to make tangible and ongoing improvements in animal welfare
  • A swift vehicle for different sectors to exchange critical information on animal welfare and coordinate action
  • An inclusive mechanism for society to participate in existing initiatives in animal welfare, identify gaps, and propose strategies to make further improvements to animal welfare.

Anyone who cares about animals and agrees to abide by TAWC’s Philosophy can work with TAWC. For example, TAWC welcomes members of the public, community groups, industry bodies, animal protection organisations, companies, academic institutions, and government agencies to participate in the network.

Want to get involved? Subscribe to our mailing list via TAWC’s website, follow TAWC on social media, meet with one of our university-based facilitators to join discussions on animal welfare, and consider participating in TAWC events and projects.

UQ Partnership for Animal Wellbeing (UQ PAW)

Dr Fernandes and her colleagues have been instrumental in uniting academics across multiple UQ Schools and Institutes under a single UQ Partnership for Animal Wellbeing (UQ PAW). UQ PAW draws on existing expertise across multiple disciplines at UQ and relationships with industries and the community to provide knowledge leadership in animal wellbeing. UQ PAW will deliver tangible benefits to society in the following areas:

  • Education - Interdisciplinary education and training programs in applied aspects of animal wellbeing and ethics
  • Research - Higher-impact research in animal wellbeing resulting from national and international collaborations across disciplines
  • Engagement - New strategic partnerships with companies and organisations with an interest in animal wellbeing
  • Culture - A supportive environment for UQ staff and students to engage in critical thinking around animal wellbeing

If you have an interest in animals and would like to be involved in UQ PAW, please email Dr Fernandes (j.ulrich@uq.edu) to express your interest.


  • Doctor of Philosophy, University of Miami


  • Fernandes, Jill N., Hemsworth, Paul H., Coleman, Grahame J. and Tilbrook, Alan J. (2021). Costs and benefits of improving farm animal welfare. Agriculture, 11 (2) 104, 1-14. doi: 10.3390/agriculture11020104

  • Fernandes, Jill, Blache, Dominique, Maloney, Shane K., Martin, Graeme B., Venus, Bronwyn, Walker, Frederick Rohan, Head, Brian and Tilbrook, Alan (2019). Addressing animal welfare through collaborative stakeholder networks. Agriculture, 9 (6) 132, 132. doi: 10.3390/agriculture9060132

  • Fernandes, Jill N., Moise, Imelda K, Maranto, Gina L and Beier, John C (2018). Revamping mosquito-borne disease control to tackle future threats. Trends in Parasitology, 34 (5), 359-368. doi: 10.1016/j.pt.2018.01.005

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View all Grants


  • (2021) Doctor Philosophy

  • Doctor Philosophy

View all Supervision


Featured Publications

Journal Article

Conference Publication

  • Kho, Elise, Fernandes, Jill, Kotze, Andrew, Lord, Maggy, Fox, Glen, Beasley, Anne, Moore, Stephen and James, Peter (2020). Shining a light on Haemonchus contortus in sheep. 3rd International Tropical Agriculture Conference (TROPAG 2019) , Brisbane, Australia, 11–13 November 2019. Basel, Switzerland: MDPI . doi: 10.3390/proceedings2019036138

  • Wu, Chen, Fernandes, Jill, Devine, Greg and Hugo, Leon (2018). Characterization of Wolbachia infections from native Australian mosquito vectors. 67th Annual Meeting of the American-Society-of-Tropical-Medicine-and-Hygiene (ASTHM), New Orleans, Los Angeles, 28 October - 1 November 2018 . Deerfield, IL, United States: American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.

Grants (Administered at UQ)

PhD and MPhil Supervision

Current Supervision

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

    Other advisors:

Completed Supervision