Welcome to the website of the ESRC's Environment and Human Behaviour New Opportunities Programme.

Welcome to the website of the ESRC's Environment and Human Behaviour New Opportunities Programme.

This website contains a wealth of information about the Programme, which has now come to an end.
The fifteen projects for the Programme were commissioned in late 2002 and most had finished by June 2004. A list of the projects can be accessed from this home page. A further link gives summary descriptions of each project, profiles and contact details of the researchers, and details of some of the publications which they have produced. An Introductory Paper to the Programme, covering some of the main issues which need to be taken into account, and placing the projects in the context of these issues, is accessible from this page. In addition, this website contains all the publications produced by the Programme office, including two Newsletters and six Research Briefs, which summarise the work that was carried out under the Programme

It is crucial for the sound development of environmental policy that it is based on a good understanding of why people behave towards the environment as they do and how these behaviours might change. The Programme confirmed that human behaviour and environmental change are formidably complex areas, and their combination compounds the complexity. Interdisciplinary research from a variety of theoretical perspectives is called for, covering a broad range of environmental issues.

The core objectives of this programme were to seek insights, and avenues for further research, into the following questions:

  • Why do people behave as they do towards the natural environment?
  • How do or will people seek to adapt their behaviour in response to environmental change, especially rapid environmental change?
  • What public policy approaches might persuade people to change their behaviour, either to mitigate the extent of negative environmental change, or to adapt to it in ways that do not exacerbate it, and to change their behaviour in ways that are least costly for society as a whole?

It was also intended that the Programme as a whole should produce insights and recommendations on how the ESRC should take forward research in this area in the future. Recommendations to this effect were made to the ESRC in the Final Report of the Programme in February 2005.

Professor Paul Ekins
Programme Academic Co-ordinator

Programme Academic Co-ordinator:
Professor Paul Ekins

Policy Studies Institute

Last updated: 16 February 2005