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What is behavioural science?

Behavioural science draws on expertise from across the social sciences (e.g., psychology, sociology, anthropology) and beyond, to help us systematically study and understand human behaviour. In other words, it is the science of understanding what people do and why they do it. By studying the factors associated with different behaviours it can help us to design communications and interventions to help ensure that the public have the information, skills, and opportunities to make informed decisions about undertaking behaviours relating to their health and the health of others.


Programme Scope

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This workstream has a two-fold focus: a) enhancing the UKOTs capacity and capability in behavioural science informed risk and crisis communication, and b) the embedding of principles of behavioural science (e.g., insight generation, community engagement, co-production, intervention development and design) into the work of public health teams within the UKOTs.

As part of this workstream, the programme has provided support to the UKOTs with the application of behavioural science to public health across the Covid-19 pandemic and beyond. This involves providing expert advice, resources, and support to help troubleshoot public health concerns through a behavioural science lens. Ongoing work through this workstream involves the development of bespoke behavioural science training opportunities for the UKOTs. 


Workstream Focus


  • The development and delivery of an introductory course in the application and utility of behavioural science to address public health concerns within the UKOTs.
  • The ability for specific UKOTs to develop plans, intervention scoping and implementation projects.
  • The continued provision of support to individual UKOTs in order to address public health areas of concern. Both those anticipated by the individual UKOTs, and also in response to emergency situations (e.g., natural disasters, infectious disease outbreaks, etc.).

Example Projects

  • Behavioural analysis of vector-borne disease prevention in Anguilla.
  • Providing behavioural science support the UKOTs Covid-19 response including; targeting vaccine hesitancy in Montserrat, inputting into St Helena’s communication strategy and, supporting vaccine promotion messaging in Bermuda, Turks and Caicos and Gibraltar.
  • Virtual Mpox risk and crisis communication seminar. 


Training Opportunities

  • Psychological First Aid (PFA) course on Future Learn. A free training course on how to support people who have experienced an emergency or stressful life event. There are also separate courses on PFA with children and young people, and PFA in the COVID-19 pandemic context.

Training Opportunities


We're currently in the process of developing training opportunities for the UKOTs, based on the gap analysis and needs assessment that is currently underway. Links to this training, and other relelvant training, will be provided here as they develop.


Key Resources