Towards a vibrant stream for advanced studies on behavior and institutions

Modern societies are confronted with numerous major challenges, such as social conflict, climate change, public health issues, inequality and unethical behaviors in the private and public sector. Modern societies are built on public institutions, designed to address these and related societal challenges. These institutions are under severe pressure. The trust in and legitimacy of governments are among the most important issues on the societal and political agenda  and improving the performance of governments has been the most prevalent policy goal in the past decades.

In order for institutions to optimally contribute to the formation of open and sustainable societies and to be able to develop solutions for societal challenges, they need to be attuned to the real behaviors of people in society at large. Although most salient policies aim to address human behaviors – ranging from such diverse issues as donor registration, healthy eating, societal integration of refugees, white collar corruption or sustainable consumptive choices – behavioral knowledge has until very recently not been institutionalized in the public sector.

We aim to contribute to the quality of public institutions and their policies relating to important contemporary societal issues. We will do so from a specific perspective: the combination and integration of behavioral and institutional insights, approaches and knowledge. We adopt an interdisciplinary approach, combining excellent research in psychology with public administration, economics, law, sociology and linguistics. We focus on research in collaboration with important societal stakeholders, leading to applications and new scientific insights that adhere to the highest academic standards, which is simultaneously of immediate relevance to societal stakeholders.

We are currently

  • Establishing a scientific community, embedded in a network of policy makers, stakeholders and public institutions
  • Fostering education and knowledge dissemination in behavioral sciences, public policy and administration
  • Facilitating the formation of consortia and applications for research grants and external funding  in conjunction with societal partners

More information about Institutions, click Institutions for open societies