Behavioural Insights Research This programme aims to support research over a two to three year timeframe that designs, tests and evaluates behavioural interventions that can improve efficiency and reduce waste within health care services in the UK


This programme is closed for applications.

  • £1.8 million awarded to eight multidisciplinary research teams to generate new knowledge of what can motivate people to act in more efficient and less wasteful ways.
  • Each project has received between £150,000 and £350,000 for research to be completed over two to three years.

Our Behavioural Insights Research programme is supporting research over a two to three year timeframe that designs, tests and evaluates behavioural interventions that can improve efficiency and reduce waste within health care services in the UK.

The programme also seeks to support research that increases our understanding of how to better implement and spread behavioural interventions in a UK health care context.


We invited researchers to submit ideas rooted in ‘behavioural insights’ or ‘nudge theory’ across three key areas of interest:

  • Patient pathways eg. improving patient flow within the system, improving coordination and transfer of care, as well as expediting discharge.
  • Procurement, pharmacy and medicines optimisation eg. minimising cost and waste in procurement and prescribing, as well as improving medication adherence.
  • Care best practice eg encouraging attendance, uptake of screening and health promotion by making every contact count; reducing unnecessary or ineffective care; better demand management and reducing harms.


We are working with and supporting eight multidisciplinary research-led teams that demonstrated strong collaborations between academics and researchers in psychology and behavioural economics, health care professionals, support-staff and managers, patients and those with design expertise.

The projects will:

  • strengthen understanding of the potential for low-cost behavioural interventions in improving quality
  • test different approaches across different settings and services to examine how interventions work and for whom, in what circumstances
  • provide lessons on spread in a UK health care services context.

More information on the programme aims and funding priorities is available in the Notes for applicants.

Nudging more cost-effective medication use across NHS organisations

Research project

Project that will use behavioural insights methods to optimise health care workers’ medication prescribing and use choices, improve understanding of patient experience, and prioritise medication safet...

Real-time data analytics to improve mechanical ventilator wean – guiding clinical behaviour (ATTITUDE study)

Research project

Project that aims to understand the barriers to implementing evidence-based care in complex critically ill patients, and will use behavioural insights to develop a clinical decision support tool to im...

From thermometers to thermostats: taking control of preventable harm from urinary catheters

Research project

Project that will use behavioural science expertise to enhance the efficacy and scale of a catheter care bundle, and investigate whether behavioural change interventions can encourage early checking o...

Improving efficiency by building behavioural insights into an innovative NHS procurement portal

Research project

Exploring how behavioural insights can be applied to an online procurement system, to generate cost savings without compromising quality. The project team will test how messages and prompts can be use...

BLUEPRINTS: Does targeted parental education reduce non-urgent paediatric emergency department and urgent care centre reattendance?

Research project

This project will use insights from behavioural science to design a new intervention for families that have attended PED or UCC with a non-urgent healthcare concern.

Does feedback on cost or radiation dose for common diagnostic tests modify demand in a busy district general hospital?

Research project

The research will also explore whether providing information about radiation exposure from CT scans and the associated increase in cancer risk encourages clinicians to use safer alternatives. 

Behavioural insights and health care

Research project

Led by Chris Perry, Ipsos MORI, this research aimed to combine existing literature with expert interviews to better understand the opportunities to use behavioural interventions to improve efficiency ...

Kjell-bubble-diagramArtboard 101 copy

Get social

Smoking, poor diet, physical inactivity and harmful alcohol use are leading risk factors driving the UK’s high burd…

Follow us on Twitter
Kjell-bubble-diagramArtboard 101

Work with us

We look for talented and passionate individuals as everyone at the Health Foundation has an important role to play.

View current vacancies
Artboard 101 copy 2

The Q community

Q is an initiative connecting people with improvement expertise across the UK.

Find out more