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Simon Doherty

Simon Doherty


Simon is a director of Blackwater Consultancy Ltd – the company works to bring together people, skills and technology in the animal health sector, to maximise effectiveness and ensure food security.

Simon Doherty is an established and well-respected consultant in the veterinary and animal health sector. His knowledge is based on genuine experience in the real world where he has been a:

  • Veterinary Surgeon
  • Director of Operations & Business Development
  • President of the British Veterinary Association

This gives him enormous credibility in the work he delivers and a unique insight into ‘both sides of the table’ from a commercial perspective.

Simon qualified from the University of Glasgow Veterinary School in 2000 and, following several years in progressive farm animal practice in the west of Scotland and ‘at home’ in North Down, he spent two years establishing Veterinary Northern Ireland.

He joined the Agri-Food & Biosciences Institute as a Veterinary Research Officer in 2007 – there he managed the Ruminant Virology, Animal Services & Fish Diseases Units, and played an important role in contingency planning for epizootic diseases.

Stepping back into the commercial world for a year as Director of Operations and Business Development of Belfast biotech company SiSaf Ltd, during the Summer of 2015 Simon appointed as a consultant in Animal Science to the Agri-Tech Organisation of the Department of International Trade (DIT) (previously UK Trade & Investment).

Simon is an accredited CowSignals Trainer, an honorary lecturer at Queens University Belfast and a trustee of the livestock development charity, Send a Cow. His style is always to bring sound theoretical ideas into the real practical world. He challenges convention and engages audiences to take an innovative and engaging approach to solving problems.

He is actively involved in veterinary careers advice, regularly mentoring applicants to veterinary school and is a STEM Ambassador.

Simon has been an author / co-author on peer-reviewed scientific papers, tech-transfer articles & presentations, review articles & reports on topics as diverse as bovine respiratory disease, colostrum management of calves, on-farm biosecurity, mastitis in dairy cows, measures to reduce tail-biting in pigs, and emerging & re-emerging diseases of livestock.

Simon has wide international experience, his business, speaking and development engagements have taken him all over Europe, North America, Asia and Africa.

Professional Representation

Simon has

2014 – present

Send a Cow Trustee

2012 – present

STEMNET Ambassador

2011 – present

Honorary Lecturer, Queens University, Belfast

2012 – present

Postgraduate Supervisor, Queens University, Belfast

2011 – present

Visit Belfast Ambassador

  • Winning bid to host European Federation of Animal Science (EAAP) Conference in Belfast in 2016
  • Winning bid to host Association of Veterinary Consultants (AVC) General Assembly 2016
  • Winning bid to host European Association of Fish Pathology (EAFP) Conference in Belfast in 2017

2009 – present

Northern Ireland Licensee Training Group (NILTG)

  • Course tutor & assessor on farm animal modules
  • Assistant course tutor on surgery course
  • Course tutor & assessor on LA NACWO course
  • Assessor for the NILTG Annual Bursary Award

2005 – 2014

University of Glasgow Veterinary School Undergraduate Interview Panel

Simon has

Memberships (with committee / council representation)
2000 – present

Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS)

  • RCVS/BVA VetFutures Consultative Group 2015-2016
  • RCVS/BVA VetFutures Action Group 2016

1997 – present

British Veterinary Association (BVA)

  • Recent Graduate Working Group 2004-2007
  • Member Services Group (MSG) 2004-2008
  • BVA Congress 07 Host Organising Committee 2005-2007
  • Council (representing NIVA) 2006-2009
  • Council Review Group 2008-2010
  • Council (representing BVA NI Branch) 2013-2015
  • Education Sub-Committee 2014-present
  • Governance Review Group 2015-present

2013 – present

British Veterinary Association Northern Ireland Branch

  • Council 2013-present
  • BVA Council representative 2013-2015
  • Junior Vice-President 2014-15
  • President 2015-present


2004 – present

North of Ireland Veterinary Association (NIVA)

  • Honorary Associate 2006-2008
  • Council 2005-2010
  • Honorary Secretary & PRO 2005-2009
  • BVA Council representative 2006-2009
  • Integration Working Group 2008-2010
  • Junior Vice-President 2014-2015
  • President 2015-2016


2009 – present

Association of Veterinary Teaching & Research Work (AVTRW)

  • Council 2012-present
  • Irish Regional Council 2012-present

2003 – present

Association of Veterinary Surgeons Practising in NI (AVSPNI)

  • Honorary Life Member 2007-present

1995 – 2000

Association of Veterinary Students (AVS)

  • Publications Editor 1997-2000
  • AVS Sports Weekend 1998 Host Organising Committee 1998-1999
  • AVS Congress 2000 Host Organising Committee 1999-2000


1995 – 2000

Glasgow University Veterinary Medical Association (GUVMA)

  • Honorary Secretary 1997-1999
  • President 1999-2000


2008 – present

Ulster Immunology Group (UIG)

  • Committee 2010-2013

Simon is currently a member of

2015 – present

Association of Veterinary Consultants (AVC)

2015 – present

Royal Ulster Agricultural Society

2013 – present

Northern Ireland Institute of Agricultural Science (NIIAS)

1998 – present

British Cattle Veterinary Association (BCVA)

1999 – 2010

Sheep Veterinary Society (SVS)

2011 – present

Fish Veterinary Society (FVS)

2015 – present

European Association of Fish Pathologists (EAFP)

2016 – present

World Aquaculture Veterinary Medical Association (WAVMA)

2009 – present

Laboratory Animal Veterinary Association (LAVA)

2009 – present

Laboratory Animal Science Association (LASA)

2006 – 2010

Royal Society of Medicine (RSM) Young Fellow

BVA President

Simon is currently president of the British Veterinary Association (BVA) 2018-19.

As an officer of the association, he sits on the Board of Directors and is an officer-trustee of the BVA Animal Welfare Foundation (AWF). As president, Simon is the principal spokesperson for the association – he makes regular appearances on national radio and television, regularly writes for mainstream, agricultural and veterinary print media, and is very active on social media. He has also chaired sessions, delivered keynote presentations and participated in panel discussions at an array of regional, national and international conferences.

Simon and his fellow officers have a packed schedule of meetings with government, veterinary associations and other stakeholders with an interest in animal health and welfare.

In addition, Simon is one of the BVA representatives to the Federation of Veterinarians of Europe (FVE) and the World Veterinary Association (WVA). He chairs the FVE FishMedPlus Coalition and, as part of the UK delegation to FVE, will be involved in hosting the FVE General Assembly in London in early June 2020.

Veterinary wellbeing has been highlighted as one of the biggest challenges currently facing the profession; Simon represents BVA on the MindMatters Initiative Taskforce and on the Vetlife External Reference Group.

Simon has particular interests in One Health and sustainability – both in agriculture and in veterinary practice. He chairs the UK One Health Coordination Group and is a member of the International Organising Committee for the 6th World One Health Congress in mid-June 2020. He also represents BVA on the Farm Animal Welfare Forum (FAWF) and on the committee of the Love British Food campaign.

With personal experience of the range of career options open to vets, Simon, through his position on the VetFutures Project Board, has been a champion of MyVetFuture – an online portal for veterinary careers information – and other initiatives created to enable vets to develop fulfilling careers.


Simon regularly writes editorial content, press releases, technical briefings, reports, interviews and photographic services for the:

  • Agricultural Press (inc. Farm Week, Farming Life, Irish Farmers’ Journal)
  • Veterinary Press (inc. Veterinary Record, Northern Ireland Veterinary Today, Irish Veterinary Journal, Veterinary Times, Veterinary Practice, Veterinary Business Journal)
  • Local Media (inc. Belfast Telegraph, Newtownards Chronicle, BBC Radio Ulster)

Simon Doherty has been published in a vast range of articles, including:

  • Peer Reviewed Journals
  • Conference Paper and Poster Presentations
  • Articles & Reports

For a comprehensive list of publications, please, contact


Simon was appointed as an Honorary Lecturer at the Institute of Global Food Security, Queen’s University Belfast in 2011. Prior to this, he was a Guest Lecturer within the Institute of Agri-Food & Land Use, School of Biological Sciences, Queen’s University Belfast. He is a lecturer on the honours level Animal Health & Welfare module, which is delivered to undergraduate Zoology and Agricultural Technology students.

Simon has acted as a co-supervisor for a number of postgraduate research (PhD & MPhil students) since 2012 spanning studies into vaccine delivery technologies for livestock, proteomics & metabolomics of bovine respiratory disease, early calf health management and the control of lameness in dairy cows.

Simon sits on the British Veterinary Association Member Services Group (MSG) Education Sub-Committee (2014-present) and is a Universities Training Group accredited tutor for the Northern Ireland Licensee Training Group.

Simon has a long-standing interest in veterinary education. In 2003, he was invited by the European Network of Quality Assurance in Higher Education (ENQA) to take part in the Transnational European Evaluation Project (TEEP) of four European veterinary programmes, as an independent assessor.


For the last decade, Simon has regularly provided mentoring and careers advice to Northern Irish school-leavers applying to study veterinary medicine in UK and Irish veterinary schools.

Simon was involved with the admissions process for the undergraduate programme in veterinary medicine & surgery at one of the UK’s leading universities for 10 years (2005-2014).

As a past-president of the Glasgow University Veterinary Medical Association (GUVMA) and having completed a term on the council of the Association of Veterinary Students (AVS), Simon was invited by the British Veterinary Association (BVA) to assist with writing the BVA Recent Graduate Guide in 2007. This led on to his involvement with the early establishment of the Young Vet Network (YVN) with which he still maintains an active interest.

Simon was appointed as a STEMNET Ambassador in 2012 and regularly participates in local Science, Technology, Engineering & Maths (STEM) and school careers events throughout Northern Ireland.


Simon became a volunteer ambassador with Send a Cow in 2012. He regularly gives talks to schools, churches, community groups and farming & veterinary organisations, raising awareness of Send a Cow and generating valuable income from donors to sustain Send a Cow’s work.

Simon has been on two self-funded visits to Africa – to Ethiopia (2013) and to Kenya (2015) – and uses a lot of his own photography and personal experiences to illustrate his presentations. If you would be interested in arranging a talk for your organisation, please contact Simon using: or through the Contact Us section of the Send a Cow website.

If Simon is unavailable on your chosen date, it may be possible to arrange for another local Send a Cow ambassador to visit your organisation.


Follow Send a Cow:


Simon was appointed to the UK Board of Send a Cow in September 2014. He plays a key role in the strategic development of the organization, with a particular focus on its UK activities, which include community and institutional fundraising, and an award-winning programme of development education.


Simon is regularly called on to provide support to the Send a Cow Programme and Research teams, in an advisory role, using his broad knowledge and skills in livestock health and welfare, as well as his extensive network of contacts within the UK veterinary and animal science communities.