UCL Psychology and Language Sciences


NIHR Policy Research Unit (PRU) in Behavioural Science


NIHR’s Policy Research Unit (PRU) in Behavioural Science was launched in 2019, led by Newcastle University, with Prof Susan Michie as Co-Director. The unit was initially funded for five years, and has been extended for a further five years, with a wider remit of Behavioural and Social Sciences, with Prof Angel Chater now as Co-Director, and leading the UCL-team. The PRU brings together researchers with a range of disciplinary backgrounds and expertise to inform the design, development, evaluation and implementation of government policy on promoting health, preventing ill-health and enhancing health systems. It works closely with the Department of Health and Social Care, in collaboration with other government departments and Policy Research Units, to provide the best behavioural science theory, methods, evidence and advice to support decision-making in a timely way, for the benefit of the public and patients. 

The PRU aims to conduct interdisciplinary behavioural research to provide the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) with timely answers to key policy questions. 

Specific objectives are to:

· conduct strategic analyses of how best to apply behavioural science to major policy areas;

· support the development of policies grounded in behavioural science/evidence;

· assess behavioural aspects of current policy to enable learning, identify opportunities for optimisation and to facilitate implementation;

· advise on the design of policy evaluations;

· address evidence gaps relevant to the needs of the DHSC;

· use behavioural science methods to identify effective and cost-effective interventions, including for whom interventions are effective in terms of key equality and diversity issues;

· engage with stakeholders to raise awareness of behavioural science utilisation in policy development, evaluation and implementation; and

· to achieve sustainability of the PRU and to develop capacity in interdisciplinary behavioural policy research.

Funder:  National Institute of Health Research (NIHR)  Partners: Newcastle University, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, University of Warwick, University of Cambridge

CBC/UCL Lead: Professor Angel Chater; (Professor Susan Michie – Co-Director 2019-2022) CBC/UCL

Research team: Dr Fabiana Lorencatto, Dr Vivi Antonopoulou, Dr Alison McKinlay, Dr Neil Howlett, Dr Jorina Von Zimmerman, Professor David Osborn (Epidemiology & Applied Clinical Research)

URL: https://behscipru.nihr.ac.uk/

Twitter: @PRUBehaviourSci