SIN France organises first UK-France bilateral workshop on Behavioural Science at Paris British Embassy

An impact story about how SIN France initiated UK-France cooperation on the use of behavioural science in health public policies.

On 7 February 2019, the Paris British Embassy’s SIN team organised the “Influencing Behaviours through Science: UK-France Perspectives” workshop at the British Ambassador’s Residence. The aim of the workshop was to establish dialogue, share knowledge and experience, as well as promote co-operation between UK and French experts at the academic and policy level.

It is thanks to a HMA Paris-hosted dinner in September 2017 that this workshop came about. The September 2017 dinner, in honour of Chris Whitty, Chief Scientific Adviser to the Department of Health and Social care, gathered several French health experts from government, policy, academia and industry. The dinner bore fruit in three particular areas: genomics, health data sharing and behavioural science.

Genomics

The UK and France started working together in this innovative area of science and healthcare as early as 2017. At the last UK-France Summit (January 2018), Genomics England and Aviesan, France’s national health alliance, signed a joint document to co-fund collaborative work into new technologies to accelerate genomic medicine and research collaboration. Today, this partnership is growing stronger with both sides working on the signing of a MoU in the coming months.

Health data

Both the UK and France have placed access to data across the health research and R&D community as national priorities. SIN France is working with relevant parties in both countries to establish dialogue and explore potential cooperation in an area designed to build a more innovative and efficient health and care system.

Applying behavioural science and social sciences in health

At the 7 February 2019 Paris workshop, experts, scientists and policy makers from both countries met for the first time to discuss the use of behavioural science and evidence-based policies in government and public policy to answer this question: how can UK and French scientists and experts work together with policy makers to produce the most effective evidence based policies?

The use of behavioural science and evidence in public policy-making has developed dramatically over the last few years, both in the UK and France. In the UK, the Public Health Improvement Research Network (PHIRN), Public Health England Behavioural Insights and the Behavioural Insights Team (BIT) – the world’s first unit dedicated to applying behavioural science to public policy – are well-established entities with a history of policy trials in health. Both Public Health England and the BIT participated in the Paris workshop. In France, the use of behavioural science in public policy is more recent: the government created a behavioural sciences unit within the Inter-departmental Directorate of Public Transformation). One of the unit’s first projects is the application of behavioural science to reduce the prescription and consumption of antibiotics.

From the findings presented at the conference, it is apparent that there is plenty of goodwill and room for UK-France cooperation on behavioural science in health and, more generally, on the application of science to public policy.

For further details about the workshop, please click here to read the full report co-published by the BIT and SIN France.