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Though the PRG is relatively young, we have and continue to work on a diverse research portfolio. This involves basic scientific study, policy-driven research for government, and corporate partnerships linking evidence to decision-making that influence industries. Whether or not stated explicitly, all work from PRG aims to contribute to evidence-based policy.

Current Projects


The impact of the economic crisis on mental health


Population well-being is closely tied to economic stability. We consider the impact of the recent economic crisis on European mental health, focusing particularly on inequalities between those highest and lowest in well-being. Through this, we hope to provide insights on the impact of existing policies on well-being during times of economic instability and identify future areas of potential impact relevant to policymakers. This work is supported by the Economic and Social Research Council in collaboration with the Well-being Institute. The full report on this project has been released and is now available here.




Population attitudes toward the future of transportation


What does the future of transportation look like and is the public ready for it? We are working with a large team of collaborators from academic, industry, and government on the UK Autodrive project. This involves a wide-scale study on public views toward current trends in automotive innovation, particularly self-driving vehicles. We are interested in those insights as well as the potential benefits these may bring in making the UK a leader in innovative approaches to transportation. Collaborators on this include Arup, Jaguar-LandRover, Ford, the University of Oxford, and Milton Keynes Council.




Design for sustainable change


Sustainability is one of the major topics of global development. So is it possible to motivate individuals to save energy, donate to charity, and support local businesses over the long run through choice rather than regulation? Taking into account a significant body of evidence from these topics, we looked into how policies can communicate sustainable choices to individuals to encourage their intrinsic engagement. Such work in behavioural economics is of critical use for policymakers, and we have been engaging with a number of partners in multiple countries to ensure meaningful impact.




Mental health and economic development


There is increasing recognition that improving mental health would have significant benefits on economic development on a global level. However, the imbalance of access to mental health professionals in lower and middle income countries is a major barrier to achieving this. Utilising the tremendous insights generated in recent years in evidence-backed population health policies, we are looking into effective strategies for this to coincide with the 2016 World Economic Forum goals on global mental health.




Population behaviour, choice, and policy


With the increasing investment on evidence-based policies related to behaviours across large populations, equal emphasis must be placed on understanding how diverse groups make choices and how those choices change when circumstances change. While work on 'nudges' has become popular, there are still many fundamental questions about behaviours that require further understanding for ethical application of polices. Across several current issues of major interest, we are looking at ways to better understand choices and behaviours, what influences those when information changes, and how to apply effective policies in a transparent way that benefits well-being to the greatest number.




 Measuring well: A free online resource for well-being researchers

With the ambition to study well-being across disciplines and sectors comes the challenges to use appropriate measures. These can vary between samples, sectors and circumstances of the populations involved. To address this, we have developed the Well-Being Measurement Advisory Tool to provide well-being researchers with a resource to systematically select measures based on the needs of their work as well as to improve consistency and quality of evidence available.



What evidence-driven managers can learn from personality measurement


Most academics agree that highly diverse teams are the way forward for performance focused companies. Taking that thought further, in this research project we look at how fundamentally different individuals can be effectively retained and managed via a cost effective and personally tailored management strategies. Through the appropriate analyses we hope to find the key to higher employee well-being and therefore performance levels. This work is supported by PwC Netherlands.


Past projects


 Developing guidelines for treatment policy in rare cancers



Relapsed and refractory multiple myeloma (rrMM) is an aggressive recurrent cancer associated with poor survival outcomes and high healthcare costs. At present there is no cure for RRMM, and treatment guidelines are required to ensure that each patient receives the most appropriate plan of care to maintain life. Across a series of systematic reviews working with academic, clinical, and industrial partners, we are seeking to provide insights through network meta-analysis of pharmacological treatments for RRMM. Collaborators for this work include colleagues from Trinity College, Dublin, the University of Limerick, the Medical Research Council, Leeds University, Cogentia, and Celgene UK.




Closing the gap in mental health patient safety


The Safer Care Pathways in Mental Health Services project addresses patient safety hazards within a range of care pathways across five project sites. It emphasises the importance of frontline staff in dealing with major concerns around mental illness. Specific concerns include the risk of suicide and serious self-harm within older adult mental health care pathways, safety issues related to discharge in adult mental health pathways, as well as the risk of falls and aggressive behaviour in dementia care pathways. The work involves training staff in Safer Systems Assessment with colleagues from the Engineering Design Centre as well as Human Factors training with external collaborators. The aim of this project is to present evidence that informs best practice for avoiding major incidents while improving the mental health of highly vulnerable individuals. The project is supported by The Health Foundation and hosted by the Cambridge EDC.


Mobile technology and mental health in an ageing population


While there is increasing emphasis on understanding population mental health globally, many approaches are in need of further evidence to ensure they are sufficient for use in ageing populations. One specific are of this involves the translation of existing tests of cognitive function commonly used in screening programmes. To inform key policies on the issue, we are running a series of experiments looking at implications of this approach. In each case, findings had clear implications for public mental health.



Global Health Access Policy


In 2010, the OECD challenged researchers to look into the possibility of expanding patient choice for medical care across borders as a way to control costs of treatment globally. In response to this challenge, we launched the Global Health Access Policy project to determine what areas of evidence were urgently needed as well as to generate useful information. In doing so, we proposed a research framework to the WHO followed by additional work on potential risksinternational quality standardseconomic and legal guidelinesavailability of information, and the broader impact on well-being. This project was carried out in partnership with the Junior Researcher Programme.



Employment for single mothers: Looking for options


With considerable changes in labour markets, social services, and the understanding of family living arrangements, there is increasing emphasis on ensuring access to work for vulnerable populations across Europe. As part of a wider study on gender equality in the workplace, we looked specifically at challenges and opportunities regarding employment for single mothers in search of effective policies that will benefit both families and communities. See a few of the key arguments summarised by our collaborators from RAND.



Proceed with caution: Patient choice across borders 


Patient choice is a major area of interest for researchers, clinicians and policymakers alike. The challenges in understanding and utilising insights into this area are many but they are vital to explore. This importance only increases when considering patient choice when it comes to crossing borders: Where do they go? From where do they come? For what reasons do they go? For what reasons do they not go? How can you test the right people? We explore this using a novel approach to understanding decision-making amongst potential medical travellers