Meet the IIU’s Behavioural Science Fellow: Katie Harper

What made you decide to apply for the Fellowship program?

My graduate training involved a great deal of basic, experimental research. Throughout graduate school, I also worked for a research consulting firm, and began seeing how the skills I was learning in school could be applied to solving real-world problems. When I learned about the Fellowship program, I thought it sounded like an excellent opportunity to use my knowledge and skills to help to solve important problems and improve the lives of Canadians.

What work in the field of behavioural science has inspired you?

I am intrigued by new and exciting programs that break the mold: for example, managed alcohol programs and other services that may be viewed as controversial, but actually have lasting, wide-ranging positive effects on people and communities. Implementation of these types of programs would not be possible if not for rigorous behavioural science research to determine how best to solve societal problems, rather than relying on conventional wisdom.

Why do you believe government departments should embrace the application of experimentation and Behavioural Science?

Government departments should strive for their programs and services to have meaningful, positive impacts on the lives of Canadians. In order achieve this goal, programs and services should be developed and implemented in accordance with current research evidence. Integrating behavioural science approaches can help to ensure that programs and services are evidence-based and set up to best serve Canadians.