Dr Patrizia Setola

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PhD projects

Human-animals relations

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Research activity per year

Personal profile


I am currently a faculty member at SETU, where I teach psychology. My academic background is diverse, with degrees in general and experimental psychology, cognitive science, applied animal behaviour and welfare science, and artificial intelligence and machine learning. I earned my PhD in philosophy (animal ethics) from UCD School of Philosophy, followed by my Government of Ireland Postdoctoral Fellowship, also at UCD.

Research Interests

My research interests are interdisciplinary, encompassing moral philosophy, moral psychology, and animal cognition. My IRC-funded project, titled ‘The Value of Sentience’, allowed me to investigate these areas.

Looking ahead, I aim to explore the possibility of moral progress in our relations with nonhuman animals and the natural environment in my upcoming research project. I plan to address both conceptual and practical questions, considering what would constitute moral progress in this context, and which conditions would help bring it about, at both the individual and socio-political levels.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • SDG 12 - Responsible Consumption and Production
  • SDG 14 - Life Below Water
  • SDG 15 - Life on Land

Education/Academic qualification

Postgraduate Diploma, Science in Computing (AI/ML), National College of Ireland

01 Sep 202231 Aug 2023

Award Date: 13 Nov 2023

PhD, Philosophy (Animal Ethics), University College Dublin

Award Date: 02 Feb 2017

Postgraduate Diploma, Applied Animal Behaviour and Animal Welfare (, University of Edinburgh

01 Sep 200631 May 2007

Award Date: 22 Jun 2007

Masters Degree, Cognitive Science, University College Dublin

01 Sep 200030 Sep 2001

Award Date: 24 Oct 2001

Masters Degree, General and Experimental Psychology, Università degli studi di Padova

01 Sep 199130 Sep 1996

Award Date: 24 Feb 1997

External positions

Post-doctoral Research Fellow (IRC), University College Dublin

01 Sep 201922 Dec 2020

Lecturer and Academic Tutor, University College Dublin

01 Sep 201130 Jun 2018


  • B Philosophy (General)
  • Animal ethics
  • BF Psychology
  • Animal and Environment Interaction


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