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Human behaviour is at the heart of pandemic transmission and at the heart of its suppression. During the COVID pandemic, UK psychologists have drawn on their theories, methods and evidence to provide advice to policy makers.  The translation of this advice into policies is not direct and often not transparent, raising questions about the nature of the science/policy relationship.  Science has many ways of informing policy.  Channels include formal Government structures, ad hoc and informal groups and networks, individual relationships and press, broadcasting and social media.  This talk will present some of this advice, consider the science/policy relationship and raise questions about lessons learnt for UK society following this pandemic.



Susan Michie, FMedSci, FAcSS, FBA is Professor of Health Psychology and Director of the Centre for Behaviour Change at University College London.

Professor Michie’s research focuses on human behaviour change in relation to health and the environment: how to understand it theoretically and apply theory and evidence to intervention and policy development, evaluation and implementation. Her research, collaborating with disciplines such as information science, environmental science, computer science and medicine, covers population, organisational and individual level interventions. Examples include the Human Behaviour-Change Project and Complex Urban Systems for Sustainability and Health. She is an investigator on15 research projects, including three addressing behaviour and the COVID-19 pandemic. She has published >550 journal articles and several books, including the Behaviour Change Wheel: A Guide to Designing Interventions.

She serves as an expert advisor on the UK’s COVID-19 Scientific Pandemic Insights Group on Behavioural Science (part of SAGE), the Lancet’s COVID-19 Commission and a member of the UK’s Independent SAGE. She serves on WHO’s Behavioural Insights and Sciences Technical Advisory Group, is Chair of the UK Food Standard Agency’s Advisory Committee for Social Sciences, is part of NIHR’s Behavioural Science Policy Research Unit, led UCL’s membership of NIHR’s School of Public Health Research and chaired the Academy of Social Science’s ‘Health of People’ project.  



Anne Marie Treisman (1935 – 2018) was a renowned member of our department and this annual talk was created to honour the impact of her work. Find out more on this webpage.



This will be a hybrid event.  The lecture will be followed by an Afternoon Tea Reception at St Anne’s College.

You can register for the event and access the livestream via Oxtalks here: Anne Treisman Lecture: Behaviour and the COVID pandemic: Science matters - Oxford Talks Or, email us at to request the link.