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Sustainability through behaviour change

Global sustainability problems such as food security, energy and water conservation are ultimately rooted in human behaviour. Addressing these problems requires an understanding of how to support people to initiate and maintain changes to their behaviour. This programme focusses on understanding human behaviour to support those transitions towards sustainability, as a long-term wellbeing for all.

The challenge

People cycling

Sustainability-relevant behaviour change is a multidisciplinary challenge requiring the skills and knowledge of people such as psychologists, sociologists, economists, engineers, and computer scientists. 

Changing any given behaviour also requires a grounded knowledge of the behaviour, the stakeholders for whom the behaviour is relevant, and the broader systems in which the behaviour is situated.

Global sustainability problems, such as food security, energy and water conservation are rooted in human behaviour. Addressing these problems requires an understanding of how to support people to initiate and maintain changes to their behaviour.​

​Using existing cutting-edge behavioural science, the programme will enable further theory, methods and applications in behavioural science. The programme aims to co-design and coordinate research activity at the University of Surrey, with space provided within the Institute to address diverse, real-world sustainability challenges in behavioural attitudes.

This programme aligns to UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) SDG3, SDG4, SDG6, SDG7, SDG8, SDG12, SDG13 and SDG17.​

Many of the most pressing sustainability challenges are rooted in human behaviour. No one scientific discipline can address these challenges alone. With the Institute’s backing, this multidisciplinary theme brings together the cutting-edge skills, knowhow, and passion of Surrey’s world-leading scientists, allowing us to offer fresh new behaviour change solutions. The Institute has already been instrumental in creating opportunities to connect with organisations and networks invested in understanding and changing sustainability-relevant behaviours. Dr Benjamin Gardner, Co-Lead