Centre for Behaviour Change


CBC conference 2021: Enabling Behaviour Change to Build Back Better for health and sustainability

01 November 2021–03 November 2021, 1:00 pm–5:45 pm


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Centre for Behaviour Change


Online event

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The 7th international CBC conference brought together academia and industry to exchange developments in behaviour change and digital health to build back better.

Our 2021 event was packed with thought-provoking talks, debates and loads of networking opportunities and social exchanges for delegates. With international keynotes and half-day workshops, the conference was a great opportunity to share your work and collaborate with experts in the field.

This conference celebrated the amazing contributions behaviour change has made to tackle the pandemic. It also showcased the day-to-day application of behaviour change in the diverse field of behavioural science and digital health to deliver real-world impact.

Twitter hashtag: #cbcconf2021

Keynote Speakers

Eric HeklerProfessor Eric Hekler

Interim Associate Dean Community Partnerships, Herbert Wertheim School of Public Health and Human Longevity Sciences (HWSPH)

Director, Center for Wireless & Population Health Systems (CWPHS) Qualcomm Institute & HWSPH

Faculty Associate Director, Design Lab

University of California, San Diego, USA.

Eric is a transdisciplinary researcher, educator, and practitioner who works at the intersection of public health (primary affiliation), health psychology (original training), design, and control systems engineering. His mission is to advance methods and processes that equitably serve people and practice towards a more vital, just, and resonantly diverse society and planet. He is recognized internationally as an expert in applied health science methods and digital health.

Molly BryneProfessor Molly Byrne

Professor of Health Psychology, School of Psychology, National University of Ireland Galway (NUI Galway), Ireland.

Molly is a Professor of Health Psychology at the School of Psychology in NUI Galway where she directs the Health Behaviour Change Research Group (HBCRG). This Group is a national hub and internationally-recognised centre of excellence in the application of behavioural science to health behavioural intervention development, evaluation and implementation. Molly’s research aims to improve population health by working with key stakeholders to develop and promote an evidence-based behavioural science approach to health behaviour change interventions. She is particularly interested in chronic disease prevention and management, and directs the Collaborative Doctoral Programme in Chronic Disease Prevention (CDP-CDP).

Molly is an Honorary Fellow of the European Health Psychology Society, Associate Editor of Annals of Behavioral Medicine and a member of the Executive Committee of the International Behavioural Trials Network. Since March 2020, Molly has been a member of the national Communications and Behaviour Change Advisory Group to inform the government’s response to COVID-19 in Ireland.

Eric is a transdisciplinary researcher, educator, and practitioner who works at the intersection of public health (primary affiliation), health psychology (original training), design, and control systems engineering. His mission is to advance methods and processes that equitably serve people and practice towards a more vital, just, and resonantly diverse society and planet. He is recognized internationally as an expert in applied health science methods and digital health.


Dr Heather Patrick

Dr. Heather Patrick is a health psychologist working at the intersection of digital technology, motivation, and behavior. She has worked as an academic researcher, within the US federal government, and in the private sector. Dr. Patrick’s work involves defining, creating, evaluating, optimizing and managing technology- and human-delivered solutions that help people to live their best lives. She has a passion for supporting long-term motivation and sustained behaviors for stress management, tobacco cessation, weight management, nutrition, and physical activity.

Conference themes

The following themes in any area of health or sustainability were indicative of the scope of the conference:

  1. The Science of Behaviour Change:  advances in behaviour change evidence and theory and its application to developing and evaluating online or offline interventions.
  2. Methodology: methods for evaluating process, user experience, and outcomes; innovations in analysing complex data; and novel designs (e.g. Ecological Momentary Assessment (EMA), N-of-1).
  3. Current technologies:  established and pervasive technologies, such as: SMS or more traditional mobile device apps that have been applied to behaviour change.
  4. Emerging technologies: Translation of basic behavioral research into novel intervention technologies and strategies e.g. wearables, sensors, just in time methods.
  5. Real-world applications:   implementation of individual and multilevel interventions that address structural, cultural, and policy interventions in the private sector, public sector or charitable sector including scalability and sustainability. These include:
  • Environmental sustainability: enabling behaviour change in relation to reducing climate change and preserving biodiversity and the physical environment.
  • Equity: reducing social and material inequalities amongst individuals and communities.
  • Covid19 and pandemic preparedness: understanding and changing behaviour in relation to Covid19 and increasing societal resilience to the likelihood and impact of future pandemics.


Pre-Conference Workshops Friday 29 October

1) Oral health behaviour change: from theory into practice lead by Dr George Kitsaras & Dr Koula Asimakopoulou from 10am – 11:30am 

Considering the crucial role of individual behaviours on oral health diseases, effective and sustained behaviour change is vital. Currently, behaviour change in oral health is slowly making headways. Public Health England, recently, included a specific chapter on behaviour change in their landmark "Delivering Better Oral Health" guidance for dental professionals. Key industry players including BUPA UK and Colgate-Palmolive are also investing in behaviour change. Despite advancements and wider interest, lessons are constantly being learnt on how behaviour change can be best applied to oral health research and practice. Reflecting on recent developments, this workshop will shed a light on common barriers around oral health behaviour change, key developments from research and practice and a reflection on the future of oral health behaviour change. Key academic, industry and practitioner representatives will offer an in-depth discussion and overview of oral health behaviour change, a space bound to expand in scope and importance. 

 By participating in this workshop, participants will be able to:
- Describe the role of individual behaviours on oral health diseases, the importance of oral health diseases on individuals and the cost to the NHS and public finances
- Understand the key barriers facing oral health behaviour change
- Identify key opportunities and facilitators for change in oral health
- Explore and review key developments across the oral health behaviour change arena from clinicians to industry


2) TaTT and PAT chat: HBCP Tools for Behaviour Change Intervention Design and Reporting lead by Professor Susan Michie and Professor Robert West from 10am – 12:30am 

This workshop will consist of two sessions with a small break in between. In the first session, Professor Susan Michie will introduce the Human Behaviour-Change Project and the two applications being presented in the workshop. She will then present the Theory and Techniques Tool (TaTT), give participants an exercise to try it out and then lead a discussion based on the feedback. In the second session, Professor Robert West will present the Paper Authoring Tool (PAT) following the same format.

By participating in this workshop, participants will be able to:

- Describe the Human Behaviour-Change Project, TaTT and PAT
- Know how to use TaTT for designing behaviour change interventions and PAT for reporting interventions


3) From Intervention to Interaction: Applying BCTs to Digital Design lead by Dustin DiTommaso and Aidan Hudson-Lapore from 2pm – 4pm 

You’ve defined your problem and the outcomes you wish to achieve. Identified precisely who needs to do what for desired outcomes to occur. Established your intervention strategy in terms of what behavioral determinants need to change and what behavior change techniques you’ll use to change them. Well done! Now you just need to translate and apply that strategy into the exact content, features, and functionality that will attract, engage, and deliver the active ingredients of your intervention to those who will benefit. No problem, right?

Crossing the chasm from evidence-based strategy to functioning application can seem like a daunting challenge to even the most tightly integrated teams or cross-disciplinarily practitioners. This workshop will focus on methods, tools, and artifacts for rendering intent and communicating digital intervention functionality.

Participants in this workshop will learn:

- How to communicate research insights and key strategic elements to design collaborators who might not have behavior change expertise.

- How to run collaborative ideation and validation sessions to apply intervention strategies and behavior change techniques to concept visions, application content, features, and functionality.

- How to render granular behavior change techniques (and clusters of techniques) into interface design and interaction flows.
- Best practices for remote collaboration using different browser-based software platforms.
- How to effectively include your target audience in the design process through generative co-design sessions and evaluation studies.


4) Leveraging a digital network to change pharmacy practices in LMIC lead by Josselyn Neukom from 10am – 11:30am 

 Live demo and review of mClinica's use of the SwipeRx application--which currently connects more than 211,000 pharmacy professionals in LMIC in SE Asia--to promote improved pharmacy practices relevant to a range of public health priorities. Using digital research, awareness campaigns, accredited education and referral tools, for the first time global health partners can address barriers to pharmacist practices for optimal community health outcomes at speed and scale that has not previously been possible. This workshop will live demo digital tools and review data regarding exposure, engagement, education and ereferral results to inform insights regarding digital communication good practices for provider behavior change. 

By participating in this workshop, participants will:
- Understand digital techniques used to create a community of practice among pharmacy professionals 
- Know the end-to-end digital solutions being trialed to prompt better pharmacy contributions to public health priorities including family planning and HIV
- Understand the process used to apply a behavioral theory of change to formative insights and create evidence-based digital awareness campaigns 
- Know digital exposure, engagement and education monitoring techniques used to assess digital communication with pharmacy professionals