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 third BeSP symposium on Reverse translation: Practice-based evidence

on Friday 21st February 2020, 9.00-15.00

KEYNOTE: Professor Christa Fouche, The University of Auckland: Results to Practice: Navigating Complexities to Create Meaningful Impact

Venue: University of Helsinki/Metsätalo, Unioninkatu 40, lecture hall 6 (3rd floor)

Symposium will feature topics on how to…

- accelerate quality of research and science by investigating practice-generated solutions 

- advance collaborative knowledge production via practice research (research-mindedness)

- develop practices and knowhow through experimentation 

… and many other topics.

More information:

There is no participation fee, but registration is required here:


Save the date:

The fourth BeSP symposium on Implementation and dissemination

on 25-26 March 2020

Dates: Wed 25th 13.00-17.00, Symposium reception 18.00-19.00; Thu 26th March 09.00-16.00 

Venue: Wed 25th University of Helsinki/Think Corner, Yliopistonkatu 4; 

Thu 26th Sonckin Sali, Eteläesplanadi 16, Helsinki

Symposium will feature international and Finnish speakers on implementation science contributions to implementing evidence-based interventions to practice.

Registration opens 31st of January 2020 


Our aim is to create a space for in-depth conversations. The events will also provide numerous opportunities for networking.

All scholars, students and audiences interested in the behaviour change research and policy are welcome!


The forthcoming symposia will cover topics such as:

  • 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. Tiedekulma was fully booked (over 180 registered participants), and a 2-day event had a wide livestreaming audience (119 viewers followed the stream on Thursday and 149 viewers on Friday!). More information and recordings of presentations are available at: 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