Behaviour Change Science & Policy (BeSP)




Key to solving several societal problems lie in changing behaviour. For example, tackling climate change, chronic diseases and ethnic discrimination, and promoting wellbeing at work and schools can be influenced by changing a variety of behaviours, with interventions ranging from individual-level to system-level interventions.

Behaviour Change Science & Policy (BeSP) is an ‘Argumenta’ project funded by Finnish Cultural Foundation in 2019-20). It aims to evoke scientific and interdisciplinary discussion on questions related to influencing behaviour. The project brings together researchers from different fields, policy makers, and other actors to discuss the science of developing and evaluating effective interventions, to best solve challenges related to behaviour change. The project aims to improve the uptake and use of research on influencing behaviour, when designing public policy.

The core of the project is formed by five symposia that cover evidence based policy-making and making better use of behaviour change research. In the symposia, we will discuss opposing scientific views, and seek novel promising avenues for the future. 

Finally, we will publish a toolbox of societal decision making that serves as a guidance to better utilise science and research.


The forthcoming symposia will cover topics such as:

  • Implementation and dissemination; dialogical project management and experimental government
  • Interventions as complex systems


The 1st BeSP symposium was a high-profile multidisciplinary 2-day event around Intervention evaluation & field experiments and had over 130 registered participants, more information and recordings of presentations are available at

The 2nd BeSP symposium was on Behavioural insights in developing public policy and interventions.


Coordinator: Postdoctoral researcher Elina Renko,

Principal Investigator: Assistant professor Nelli Hankonen,

Members of the working group
Markus Kanerva, Senior Specialist, Prime Minister's Office 
Sirpa Kekkonen, Head of Government Strategy Secretariat, Prime Minister's Office 
Aino Kääriäinen, University Lecturer, Social Work, University of Helsinki
Taru Lintunen, Professor, Sport and Exercise Psychology, University of Jyväskylä
Kirsi-Marja Lonkila, Senior Expert/Research Impact, Demos Helsinki
Topi Miettinen, Professor, Economics, Hanken School of Economics
Harri Oinas-Kukkonen, Professor, Information Processing Science, University of Oulu
Jukka Pirttilä, Professor, Public Economics, University of Helsinki
Juho Saari, Professor, Sociology, University of Tampere
Katariina Salmela-Aro, Professor, Educational Sciences, University of Helsinki
Maija Setälä, Professor, Political Science, University of Turku