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NIHR PRU Behavioural Science

The aim of the NIHR Policy Research Unit (PRU) in Behavioural Science is to inform government policy on health, preventing ill-health and health systems. We use behavioural science evidence, theory and methods to support decision-making.

NIHR PRU We aim to inform government policy on health, preventing ill-health and health system.

Established in 2019, the Unit is a collaboration between:

  • Newcastle University
  • University College London
  • University of Warwick
  • London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

We also have a collaborating network of experts in public health and public and patient involvement and engagement (PPIE).  We bring together researchers with a range of disciplinary backgrounds and expertise, to support policy makers in policy design, development, evaluation and implementation. We work closely with the Department of Health and Social Care and in collaboration with other Policy Research Units. This enables us to provide the best evidence and advice, in a timely way, for the benefit of the public and patients.

Find out more about the team here.

This project is funded by the National Institute for Health  Research (NIHR)  [Policy Research Unit in Behavioural Science (project reference PR-PRU-1217-20501)].


How we work with the public

Within the Unit we have a dedicated team of six external patient and public representatives, who form our patient and public involvement and engagement (PPIE) strategy group. This group advise on the involvement of patients and the public at each stage of our research, including reviewing project protocols and evidence reviews. Two members of this group attend our management meetings and all members are invited to take part in staff training and collaboration events.

Latest projects

Latest outputs

Policy Brief: Effectiveness of personal letters to healthcare professionals in changing clinical practice behaviours: A systematic review and meta-analysis

This systematic review and meta-analysis reports the effectiveness of personal letters interventions in altering health-care professionals’ (HCPs) clinical behaviour.

November  2023

Click below to download

Covid-19 response

The PRU has undertaken a further seven projects in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. These relate to the vaccination rollout programme, antibody testing and public health messaging.

Guide to writing policy briefs

Research engagement with policy makers: a practical guide to writing policy briefs. Policy briefs are short evidence summaries written by researchers to inform the development or implementation of policy. This guide has been developed to support researchers to write effective policy briefs.

Download it here

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