Caroline Ritter


Animal Welfare Program
Marina von Keyserlingk


Research topic

Dairy farmers' social network

Research Description

Many dairy herd health interventions aim to improve animal welfare by reducing the risk of disease spread on and between farms. These interventions will be more successful if the influences of other people affecting dairy producers’ management decisions are taken into account. Social network analysis is a tool based on the assumption that people (e.g., dairy farmers) and their actions are interdependent and that personal relationships are channels for information transfer. Therefore, we aim to describe farmers’ networks and identify the most influential social referents on farmers’ dairy health and welfare management.

Why did you decide to pursue a postdoctoral fellowship at UBC? Did you consider other opportunities?

When I first looked into post-graduate opportunities, I considered many different options but a postdoctoral fellowship at UBC was always very high on my list because UBC has a reputation as a top research university. During my PhD I also fell in love with Canada and really wanted to stay.

What specifically attracted you to your research group?

Dr. Marina von Keyserlingk is a top researcher in her field and known to be a great supervisor. Furthermore, she shares my passion for animal welfare and believes in the importance of translating research findings into applicable recommendations for policymakers and other stakeholders.

What advice do you have for new postdoctoral fellows?

Be passionate about your research but take a break and discover what your university's city/country has to offe. This will clear your head and keep your mind fresh.

What do you like to do for fun?

Everything that you can do outside: hiking, camping, snowboarding,...

What is the most enjoyable aspect of your postdoctoral fellowship?

I am excited to get to know the dairy farms in B.C. and work alongside some of the best researchers in my field. Besides growing my professional and personal network, I hope to be able to develop skills to become an independent researcher.

What does receiving this award mean for your career?

Receiving the Banting Postdoctoral Fellowship is a great honour and it will allow me to follow my research path without having to worry about funding for two years.