Using behavioural science to tackle public health and policy issues was top of the agenda at a conference to mark the official opening of Sheffield Hallam University’s new Centre for Behavioural Science and Applied Psychology (CeBSAP).
The centre, based at the Heart of the Campus on Collegiate Crescent, Sheffield, was formally opened with a full programme of talks, workshops, and lab demonstrations took place and the key note speech was delivered by Dr Tim Chadborn, head of behavioural insights and evaluation for Public Health England.
He provided an insight into the growing demand and capacity for behavioural science in Public Health England, the wider health system and across government.
The aim of the conference was to show how behavioural science and psychology are being used to provide real-world solutions to a wide range of issues including well-being, health, social inclusion, cognition and behaviour change.
The event was an opportunity for external stakeholders from local government, public health, healthcare, education, policing, business, voluntary organisations and other higher education institutes to meet members of staff from CeBSAP and find out more about the centre and the range of research projects being carried out there.
Work currently being undertaken at CeBSAP includes devising and testing interventions to address low levels of adherence to medication; developing an online test of cognition which can be used by patients after brain injury or stroke; work to address low levels of physical activity in disadvantaged communities and developing the resources to support prevention of doping use in fitness and sport.
Professor Madelynne Arden, director of the Centre for Behavioural Science and Applied Psychology, said: “I am so pleased to be launching the Centre at a time when there is growing recognition of the central role of behavioural science and applied psychology across all situations where people are responding to life-experiences, information, environments, or other people, and when they are making decisions and choices. We have the opportunity to transform peoples’ lives to make a real positive difference.
Guests were welcomed by Professor Roger Eccleston, pro-vice chancellor for research and innovation at Sheffield Hallam University.
There were practical workshops and presentations on three themes – behavioural science, neurocognitive testing and applied psychological theories and methods.
Professor Arden added: “Developing services and policies that meet the needs of people requires an understanding of how people think and behave in given situations. Psychology and behavioural science provides that understanding so that we can work to provide practical solutions that help people to live healthy lives and to have high levels of well-being.”
Practitioners, scientists, researchers, engineers and designers at Sheffield Hallam regularly collaborate to create new and innovative ways to help people lead healthier, fulfilled lives. As the largest provider of health and social care education in England, the University’s research is rooted in providing practical solutions.