Behavioural Research UK (BR-UK)

Our Aims & Objectives

The Behavioural Research UK  Leadership Hub (BR-UK) is a new consortium funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) that serves as a leadership hub within the wider ESRC programme to build national capability for behavioural research.

Our Team

Led by Professor Linda Bauld from the University of Edinburgh and Professor Susan Michie from University College London, BR-UK involves behavioural researchers from a range of academic disciplines in eight UK Universities, along with partners including the Scottish Government, Welsh Government, government departments and agencies in Northern Ireland, the UK Health Security Agency, Public Health Wales, the Transport Research Laboratory, and Zinc (a company working with entrepreneurs). BR-UK also has e support from a range of other organisations, including the UK Government Office for Science, who are providing a secondment for the duration of the grant for a BR-UK post-doctoral researcher.

BR-UK Map with eight partnering universities

Our Research

Our research is organised around four work packages and four themes themes. BR-UK's initial work will focus on a series of demonstration projects and a capability scoping study while developing longer-term plans for each work package and theme. 

Capability scoping: what is it and how you can get involved

Open Science

We are committed to open and transparent science, with the view that open science practices are an essential foundation for conducting high-quality research. This includes a commitment to open-access publications; open data; open-source software and tools; pre-registered protocols and pre-prints.

Find out more about BR-UK's specific approach to Open Science here.


Our Objectives

Adopting a well-structured and adaptable approach to managing the Hub, with an emphasis on collaboration and responsiveness to evolving needs, BR-UK’s longer-term aims and objectives will be organised around themes and work packages which will be further developed based on the findings of the capability scoping exercise.  Our overarching objectives are:

1. Increase scientific understanding of how to:

  • enable short-term change to prevent long-term societal threats (e.g. anti-microbial resistance (AMR), climate change) and maintain behaviour in the long-term;
  • integrate and synthesise behavioural insights across contexts, disciplines and sectors to be more useful and useable to decision-makers;
  • test, refine and generate theoretical understanding of behaviour change, including the drivers of attitudes and beliefs and how context affects them.​​​​​​

2. Advance methodologies to:

  • use technology to capture real-time, ecologically valid behavioural data and analyse these and other complex data sets; effectively and efficiently;
  • learn from the process of conducting transdisciplinary behavioural research and capture that learning in ways that apply to a wide range of contexts.

3. Generate impact by:

  • involving the public in our research, learning from their experiences, and enhancing understanding including among decision-makers about the complex drivers of behaviour (e.g. about more than changing conscious choice);
  • better preparing behavioural advice in volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous circumstances, such as novel and/or sudden large threats;
  • more effectively assessing and demonstrating the impact of behavioural research on policy and practice;
  • employing behavioural research to address the ‘implementation gap’;
  • championing the widespread use of behavioural datasets with innovative open science and data-sharing approaches.