Sunday, December 17, 2017

2017 Update #ucdbsp

Just a brief note of thanks for all the interactions in the first year of our new programme in Dublin. Our twitter feed and hashtag #ucdbsp gives a sense of the activity over the year. We have now got a very solid research team in UCD. We also funded our first major projects in this area, including the award of a highly competitive Marie Sklodowska-Curie fellowship to Michael Daly this year to join our group, and an EPA fellowship to Leonhard Lades to work with EnvEcon and our group on a collaborative project. We are glad also to welcome Till Weber as a research fellow and Sean Gill, Tadgh Heggarty, and Kenneth Devine, as PhD students. Doireann O'Brien, Aisling Reidy, Sarah Breathnach, Lucie Martin, Karen Arulsamy, Roland Umanan, Philip Carthy, Pierce Gately, Dara Lavelle, all worked on many different aspects of the development of our projects as paid student research assistants, and it is particularly good to develop this aspect and I hope the group will become a training ground for top researchers of the future.

This year we held many events internally and externally, including with some of the leading thinkers in this area globally, including several sessions of our behavioural science and policy network, which now has over 400 members on the mailing list. See this link for the preliminary list of Wednesday sessions for next term and I will add more shortly. These sessions have been very useful in connecting the research group and students to the wider world and I hope it will be an engine room for the development of this area in Ireland more generally. We also hosted the 10th annual workshop in economics and psychology in Ireland on December 1st, with keynote speakers Professors Don Ross and Jennifer Sheehy-Skeffington. We also hosted a workshop for PhD students and early career researchers in behavioural science on November 30th, and we will host this event again in 2018. We formally launched our centre in September with a keynote talk from Professor Peter John. We were also glad to host Professor Cass Sunstein on two occasions, including the award of the UCD Ulyssses medal to him and Professor Samantha Power.

We have worked on projects with the Environmental Protection Agency, Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland, Beaumont Hospital, Amarach Research, EnvEcon, Department of Health, and others and these will develop further throughout 2018.  Our new MSc in Behavioural Economics began in September with a very strong group of students and it is recruiting solidly for 2018/2019 also, and was made possible by industry funding to UCD from AIB. We also opened up the undergraduate module to a wide group of students, and 230 students registered and took this course at UCD this term. Publications from our team in 2017 included several peer-reviewed articles in international journals in economics, psychology, and health, including Psychological Science, Economic Journal, Journal of Applied Psychology, Economics Letters, Journal of Behavioural Decision Making, Health Psychology, European Journal of Political Economy, and others. Many of these papers are based on projects that were developed before the current initiative but much of this work will be continued here in various forms.

In 2018, we will roll out new modules in behavioural public policy and experimental behavioural economics. We will also have a full programme of external events, details of which will be made available shortly, including monthly sessions of the Irish behavioural science and policy network. We are also in the process of building a physical experimental laboratory space in Dublin and I look forward to talking to people more about that. We will also make preparations for hosting the 44th annual IAREP conference in Dublin in September. 2019. We look forward to developing a stream of interesting projects across environmental policy, health, and financial decision making, with particular emphasis on measurement foundations, evaluation methods, and ethics. I hope the team will build up well during the year and we already have some interesting things to announce relatively early in the New Year. We will also put up a full website toward the middle of the next academic term.

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