The Human Behaviour-Change Project: building the science of behaviour change for complex intervention development


  • Prof Susan Michie

    University College London

  • Prof Marie Johnston

    University of Aberdeen

  • Dr James Thomas

    University College London

  • Prof Michael Kelly

    University of Cambridge

  • Prof John Shawe-Taylor

    University College London

Project summary

Changing how we behave is central to addressing the economic, health, and environmental challenges we face, for example what we eat and how we recycle. Efforts by individuals, organisations and governments to change such behaviours have been only partially successful. Every day more than 2,000 scientific articles are published on how to change behaviour. However, the evidence is not presented in a uniform way so it is difficult to collate and use, often taking many months or years to integrate evidence about the techniques that can change behaviour.

Our project will revolutionise this situation by developing new ways to make sense of the enormous amounts of scientific evidence. It brings together human expertise in behaviour change with new computer power and machine learning methods to produce a framework for classifying relevant features of behaviour change interventions in a standardised way, combining them and retrieving answers to questions from researchers, practitioners and policy makers.

At the end of this project we will have a much better understanding of behaviour change as well as a searchable, up-to-date database of evidence that will allow people to design the best possible behavioural intervention for their circumstances.