In October 2013, CSaP launched it's Policy Challenges initiative, funded by the ESRC. At CSaP's 2014 annual conference, the first publication of this series was released. Looking at emergency behaviours, the focus of this challange was ‘how can government better understand how the public behaves in an emergency situation?’

The UK Government had identified a gap in their understanding of the extent to which behavioural sciences could make a significant difference in responding to a national emergency. In this Policy Challenge, CSaP brought together policy makers from GO Science, the Cabinet Office, and the Home Office with academics from a range of disciplines from architecture, economics, education and engineering to behavioural science, medicine, public health and security.

GO-Science was a key partner in this Policy Challenge. They have since used insights from the workshops and briefing as the basis on which to build a checklist for emergency response planners and managers. In the following months they trialled it with one topic, space weather, and continued trials more widely in 2015 with different risks.

Liz Surkovic, Deputy Director, Science in Government - Global Issues, said “The behavioural sciences provide vital insights into handling the range of hazards and threats Government plans for, from Ebola to flooding. CSaP's Policy Challenge provided important stimulus for the development of a behavioural science checklist, which enables risk holders in Government to incorporate behavioural science advice into their emergency planning.”

You can download the Policy Briefing for Emergency Behaviours here.