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.



Oct 8th & 9th, 2020:
5th Behaviour Change Science & Policy symposium: Complexity Science and Behaviour Change Interventions

How can complex systems approach enrich behavioural and social science research, and increase its relevance to public policy? The symposium will shed light on various ways of how theoretical insights and empirical methods of complexity science can contribute to research and practice of interventions to change behaviour in various societal domains. We have both international and Finnish speakers who are experts in this area. All scholars, students and audiences interested in the behaviour change research and policy are welcome to discuss and seek promising avenues for the future! The program and abstracts of the presentations are available on the symposium webpage.

The 5th BeSP symposium will be held online in Zoom. The Zoom links will be provided via email to all registered participants.

There is no participation fee, but registration is required. Register here!

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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 Intervention evaluation & field experiments website.

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 live streaming 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 website.

The 3rd BeSP symposium was on Reverse translation: Practice-based evidence. The 1-day event in Metsätalo was once again fully booked and many followed the live stream. More information and recordings of the presentations are available on the Reverse translation: Practice-based evidence website.

The 4th BeSP symposium  Creating real-world impact: Implementation and dissemination of behaviour change interventions was transformed to a virtual symposium at short notice (due to the COVID-19 situation). This high-profile multidisciplinary 2-day event attracted a wide audience: Close to 500 viewers followed the stream on Thursday and approximately 300 on Wednesday! More information is available at symposium website (the recordings of presentations are available there too).



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
Satu Korhonen, Senior Consultant, 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