COMBAR Training School Introduction to socio-economics of helminth infections and anthelmintic resistance in ruminants 21-23 November, Bruges, Belgium

In brief

Cattle, sheep and goats are parasitized by various helminth species. These pathogens are important production-limiting diseases of grazing ruminants in Europe and are mainly controlled through the strategic use of anthelmintics. Frequent and indiscriminate use of anthelmintic drugs has led to the development and spread of anthelmintic resistance (AR), which today has become a global threat for effective parasite control. The COST Action COMBAR aims at coordinating research to find solutions for the AR problem.

The consideration of the economic and social factors involved is a prerequisite for the development of new, sustainable control advices that tackle the problem of AR. In this 3-day training school, participants will be introduced to principles and practices of research in socio-economic aspects of animal health management and of helminth infections and AR in particular. After the workshop, participants should have a solid basis to understand, interpret and conduct research on the economic and human behaviour aspects of novel control approaches. This should inform pathways towards sustainability.

Lectures will be provided by a unique mix of trainers with backgrounds in parasitology, economics and communication studies. There is also ample time foreseen for a hands-on practical, to present participant’s own work and to discuss how to achieve a coordinated approach in future research.

Organised in association with:


Day 1 – Economics of animal health and helminth infections

8h30-9h00: Registration

9h00-9h15: Welcome and introduction to COMBAR and the training school (J. Charlier)

9h15-9h30: Who is who and expectations of the workshop

9h30-10h15: Introduction to the case: helminth infections in sheep and cattle (D. Bartley & E. Claerebout)

10h15-11h00: Introduction to economics of animal health (E. Wauters)

11h00-11h30: Break

11h30-12h00: Basic economic tools and methods for production diseases (J. Charlier)

12h00-12h30: Production economics and efficiency analysis (J. Van Meensel)

12h30-13h30: Lunch

13h30-14h00: Examples of economics of helminth infections in ruminants (J. Charlier)

14h00-15h30: Hands-on exercise

15h30-16h00: Concluding remarks

19h30: Group dinner in the historic centre of Bruges

Day 2 – Veterinary socio-epidemiology

9h00: Start of session. Introduction to social sciences studies in animal health

9h00-9h45: Introduction to social veterinary epidemiology: behaviour and how to change it (E. Wauters)

9h45-10h30: How to induce behavioural change? An insight into persuasive communication theory and practice in the context of sustainability (L. Hudders)

10h30-11h00: Break

11h00-11h45: Introduction to quantitative and qualitative research methodologies in social sciences (L. Hudders & C. Mingolla)

Real life examples: using social sciences studies to build communication strategies

11h45-12h05: Communication strategies for promoting the uptake of diagnostic methods in dairy cattle (E. Claerebout)

12h05-12h25: Communication strategies to promote sustainable control approaches in sheep (D. Bartley)

12h25-12h45: Communication strategies to promote effective control against psoroptic mange in cattle (Carla Mingolla)

12h45-13h45: Lunch

13h45-16h00: Short presentations (10 min) on own work in the field by participants.

19h30: Group dinner in historic centre of Bruges

Day 3 – Towards a harmonised European approach to collect socio-economic information on helminth infection and AR in ruminants.

9h00: Start of session

9h00-11h00: Short presentations on own work by participants, continued

11h00-11h30: Break

11h30-12h30: Discussion: Assess economic impact of helminths and AR in Europe: approach, gaps, way forward (Chair: J. Charlier)

12h30-14h00: Lunch

14h00-15h00: Discussion: Identifying cattle and sheep farmers’ determinants for the adoption of sustainable practices in gastrointestinal nematode control: survey design and implementation (Chair: E. Claerebout).

15h00-15h15: Concluding remarks


Dr. Dave Bartley – Dave is principal investigator in the Disease Control division of Moredun Research Institute and has specialized in the sustainable control of livestock helminths and all facets of anthelmintic resistance for 25 years. He has published >50 peer-reviewed research papers and written a large number of lay articles. He develops training programmes in round worm control in livestock and is actively involved in the promotion of best practice approaches. His team’s outputs inform and update government and industry led committees on the best practice advice for producers (e.g. Sustainable Control of Parasites of Sheep; SCOPS). Current research interests include the factors that influence farmer’s attitudes and behaviours with respect to roundworm control and the interactions between farmers and horse owners and different anthelmintic prescribing groups and distribution channels in the United Kingdom.

Dr. Johannes Charlier – Johannes is a veterinary parasitologist/epidemiologist. He worked for 13 years as researcher at Ghent University in the field of diagnosis, epidemiology and economic impact of parasitic helminth infections in ruminants and subsequently for 2 years as CTO at Avia-GIS. In 2017, he founded Kreavet with the objective to put insights on sustainable animal health solutions, obtained through research, in practice by developing projects and providing services to the different actors in the field. Johannes is a European Veterinary Specialist in Parasitology (dipEVPC) and received several scientific awards for his contributions to veterinary parasitology and epidemiology. He is chair of the COST Action COMBAR, project manager of DISCONTOOLS and sits in the board of various scientific organisations.

Prof. dr. Edwin Claerebout - Edwin graduated as a veterinarian at Ghent University, Belgium in 1990. After a short stay in a rural practice in the UK, he started working at the Laboratory of Parasitology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Ghent University, where he obtained his PhD in veterinary sciences (parasitology) in 1998. He became lecturer in parasitology at Ghent University in 2001 and full professor in 2010. Since 2003 he is a European Veterinary Specialist in Parasitology (dipEVPC). His current research focuses on sustainable worm control in cattle, including vaccine development and sociological farmers influencing farmers’ behaviour in worm control.

Prof. dr. Liselot Hudders - Liselot is an assistant professor in marketing communication and consumer behaviour at Ghent University, department of Communication Sciences and director of the Center for Persuasive Communication. She is also a post-doctoral fellow of the FWO at the marketing department of Ghent University. Her (mainly experimental) research focuses on the effectiveness of persuasive messages in a commercial and non-profit context, with a focus on 1) how children and adults cope with digital advertising, 2) how consumers can be persuaded to make more sustainable choices, and 3) how the new media environment affects advertising processing. She is currently supervising about 10 PhD students and several research projects on a diverse range of topics within the domain of Communication Management.

Carla Mingolla, MSc – Carla graduated as a master in Communication Sciences (Ghent University) in 2015. In 2016, she obtained a BOF scholarship at Ghent University. In her PhD, she (1) investigate the influence of perception biases in consumers’ mindset on sustainable behavior change, and accordingly communication strategies to refute or use these biases to incite sustainable behaviour change and (2) develops a theoretical framework based on the Theory of Planned Behaviour that explores the influence of perception biases in farmers’ mindset regarding sustainable treatment methods (e.g. use of diagnostic tools) to treat mange in Belgian Blue cattle farms

Dr. Jef Van Meensel – Jef is a senior researcher at the Social Sciences Unit from the Flemish Research Institute for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (ILVO). He is responsible for the research line ‘Farm Management’, focusing on the analysis of farm performances, the identification of improvement measures and the development of decision support tools. In order to achieve these goals, participatory modelling and operations research methods are used.

Dr. Erwin Wauters – Erwin has a Bachelor in Bioscience Engineering, a Master (2002) and PhD (2010) in Agricultural Economics, all from the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven. Until 2007, he worked as research assistant at the Division of Agricultural and Food Economics of the same university. Since 2008, he is senior researcher at the Social Sciences Unit of the Flanders research institute for agriculture, fisheries and food. There, he coordinates national and international research projects on the economic, institutional and social aspects of farming and food systems. He focuses on understanding the economic, institutional and social drivers that shape our farming and food systems, and how to create a more enabling environment that fosters sustainable farming and food systems. Specific topics of his research deal with agro-ecological farming systems, the resilience of farming systems, milk production systems and animal health management. For several years, he was also professor economics of livestock production and health at University of Antwerp.

Practical Information


Participants should register online and before 9 November 2018 17:00 (GMT +1) CLICK HERE. Registration is only complete when payment has been received. Rates include the lectures, coffee breaks, and sandwich lunch.


Participants from Belgium should add +21% VAT to the amount:

  • COMBAR participants: € 100.00 (excl. VAT)
  • External participants: € 450.00 (excl. VAT)
  • Members of VEE (Flemish Society of Veterinary Epidemiology and Economics) or BSPP (Belgian Society of Parasitology and Protistology): € 375.00 + 21% VAT.

Please transfer the correct amount to: IBAN: BE23 7370 3597 2491 (KBC Bank, BIC: KREDBEBB, Billing address: Kreavet, H. Mertensstraat 17, 9150 Kruibeke, Belgium) and mention “COMBAR TS” in the reference.

This training school is organised in the framework of COST Action COMBAR CA16230 “Combatting anthelmintic resistance in ruminants”. COMBAR participants can apply for a (partial) reimbursement of travel and accommodation expenses by sending a short motivation letter (1 page max) and short CV (1 page max) to isabelle.despeghel@ugent.be before the 22nd of October. Participants eligible for reimbursement will be selected by a selection committee and will receive an invitation through the e-COST system. Priority will be given to early career investigators taking into account a gender and geographical balance.


Jacob Van Maerlantgebouw, Koning Albert I-laan 1-2, 8000 Brugge (Google Maps). Room 1.E.25


Should be booked at the participants own expenses.

Hotel Ibis Brugge Centrum Station

€ 163.86 euro for 3 nights / room including breakfast and citytax for 1 person

BOOKING REFERENCE “Kreavet, reservation number 219498”

Other hotels including price ranges are available here.

How to get there from the airport?

There is a direct intercity train from Brussels airport to Brugge. Take the train to direction “Knokke” and after 6 stops (ca. 1.5 h) you will be at the train station of Bruges.

Tourist information

Bruges is a city that will capture your heart. It is a city of human proportions, but one that can never be truly fathomed. Its history has made it great, a fact that garnered it the title of a Unesco World Heritage City. Retaining the mysteries of the Middle Ages and unashamedly exuberant, Bruges has been an international metropolis for centuries. https://www.visitbruges.be

Further questions and information:

Practical arrangements:

Isabelle Despeghel (Universiteit Gent)

E-mail: isabelle.despeghel@ugent.be

Tel: +32 9 264 74 00


Johannes Charlier (Kreavet) (jcharlier@kreavet.com)

Website: www.combar-ca.eu


This workshop is organised by the COST Action COMBAR and is the result of a collaboration between Ghent University, the Flemish Research Institute for Agriculture Fisheries and Food (ILVO), Moredun Research Institute and Kreavet. It is endorsed by the Belgian Society of Parasitology and Protistology (BSPP) as well as by the Flemish Society of Veterinary Epidemiology and Economics (VEE).

Created By
Johannes Charlier


Created with images by Ales Krivec - "untitled image" • kalhh - "railway line railway route" • Libby Penner - "untitled image"

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