Your Research

Conducting your research with RZSS

This section of the website provides information about how the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS) can facilitate projects and collaborate with researchers who wish to conduct research concerning the living collections, or data and samples associated with them, at Edinburgh Zoo or the Highland Wildlife Park. If you are interested in carrying out Education or Social research please head to our projects and placements page.

We currently work with researchers from undergraduate to post doctoral level and beyond conducting observational, sample and data related projects.

We are unable to assist students with general information requests and specify below in which circumstances we are able to consider questionnaires.  Provided at the end of this page is a list of useful web sites that should help students seeking information and those planning to conduct research in a zoo setting.

To ensure the best use of your time and to help us best respond please read the information below and follow the instructions on applying to conduct research.

Behavioural observations

If the research simply involves looking at the animals then this research can be arranged relatively quickly.  Observations that also involve some manipulations of the enclosure i.e. introducing an enrichment device, can be arranged with agreement from the keepers and time allowing.

Sample request

Samples are collected opportunistically so it is not always possible to take samples at regular intervals on behalf of researchers.  We do have a collection of blood, hair and feather samples in storage and arrangements can be made to collect some samples from animals that are currently in the collection. 

Data request

For some species there are records dating back almost to the opening of Edinburgh Zoo (1913) and the acquisition of the Highland Wildlife Park (1985), though as with many old data sets information is sometimes sporadic and often still only held on the original paper records.  Requests of this nature will be passed on to the population management group once we have a project proposal.


Occasionally questionnaires can be completed if they are specific to the work of RZSS and its animal collections.  Please note that questionnaire requiring essay type answers cannot be completed, therefore well created yes/no answer and multiple choice surveys will be considered.  Questionnaires should be sent with a project proposal in your application for research with RZSS.

Multi zoo research

Those wishing to conduct research in conjunction with a number of zoos in the UK should have already sought BIAZA approval for their project.  Therefore a letter of approval from the BIAZA research group and/or relevant TAG (Taxon Advisory Group) should be included with your proposal.

Budongo Trail

For research queries relating to The Budongo Trail, please e-mail Katie Slocombe:


Squirrel Monkeys and Brown Capuchins

Theses species are housed at a facility called Living Links at Edinburgh Zoo. 
Established by St Andrews University and RZSS the research centre facilitates research conducted by the Scottish Primate Research Group (  Applications to conduct research on these primates can be made through the Living Links web site (

Submitting a project proposal

Once you have read the available information and feel you are ready to submit a project proposal please click here to access the project proposal form .

Send your completed project proposal to

When emailing the forms to the research address please use the subject title to detail your level of study/research, i.e. School, BSc, MSc, PhD, PostDoc, Cert/Dip followed by 'project proposal'.

If your project is accepted you will be contacted by RZSS.  If your project requires you to be on site we will arrange a meeting with the relevant staff.  You will also be sent various health and safety forms along with a finance form.  All researchers conducting their projects on site are required to purchase a Research Pass at the cost of £35.  This must be received before research commences, please allow 3-4 weeks for your payments to be processed.  In most cases students should be able to obtain this fee from their University or Research Institute in whole or part.

If you are requesting samples suitable collecting equipment must be supplied and you will be expected to arrange pick up from the relevant site or arrange postage.

Useful Websites

International Species Information System

British Association of Zoo and Aquariums

European Association of Zoos and Aquaria

World Association of Zoos and Aquaria

Association of British and Irish Wild Animal Keepers

Zoo Lex

IUCN Red List