Mary MacLennan

Behavioural Science Advisor at United Nations


Behavioural Science Advisor, United Nations

Mary researches in the areas of behavioural science, health policy and health economics.

She was recently an expert advisor and consultant to the WHO, OECD and UN Women on the application of behavioural science and health economics. She is currently working across the UN to establish rigorous behavioural science practice.

Having spent about half of her career in government (Canada, UK, Australia) and international organisations (WHO, World Bank, UNDP), and the other half in academia (as a researcher and lecturer), she has a unique perspective on challenges and insights into conducting rigorous analysis in policy settings. Mary’s key areas of expertise include:

Behavioural science: Mary helped establish and led the behavioural insights research in the Government of Canada's Innovation Hub (now the Impact and Innovation Unit) which is housed in the Privy Council Office and provides non-partisan advice to the Prime Minister and Cabinet. She also worked with the Ontario Behavioural Insights Unit (in 2015) and the New South Wales Behavioural Insights Team in Sydney, Australia (in 2014) in their early stages.

Health policy and health economics: Mary has worked extensively in health policy and health economics. She has been a researcher and lecturer in universities in Canada and Australia, and spent time at the World Health Organization in Geneva working on the flagship World Health Report as well as writing reports with the UNDP International Policy Centre for Inclusive Growth in Brazil. She has been published in journals such as the Lancet Global Health and Health Policy and Planning, as well as authored book chapters with publishers such as Cambridge University Press.

Health care systems: Mary has worked in a number of health care systems at national and sub-national levels. This includes the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-term Care and the Privy Council Office in the Government of Canada; Australia at the Commonwealth Department of Indigenous and Rural Affairs and AusAID (now Department of Foreign Affairs); and the UK Department of Health. She has also worked on health care issues and lived in Bangladesh, Argentina and Ghana.

  • 6 February 2020, 5:30pm

    2020 Christ’s College Climate Seminars

    The Centre for Science and Policy is working with Professor Charles Kennel, Director Emeritus at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California San Diego, to deliver the 2020 series of climate change seminars hosted by Christ’s College.

  • 6 February 2020, 5:30pm

    2020 Christ's Climate Series: Seminar 4

    The fourth and last seminar in the 2020 Christ's Climate seminar series given by Niva Thiruchelvan (Net Zero, HM Treasury).