Friday, September 16, 2016

Economics and Qualitative Research

Economics is mostly a quantitative discipline from the basic undergraduate principles courses to the most recent editions of the top journals. The extent to which economics students should be exposed to qualitative research methods is being debated in various ways in the UK, particularly in the context of the ESRC postgraduate training guidelines, that stipulate that all ESRC-funded postgraduates should receive training in both quantitative and qualitative research methods.

There a plethora of cultural, philosophical, and practical barriers to integrating such methodologies into mainstream economics. Many economists will object that the strength of economics has been the ability to generate testable predictions from rigorous mathematical theoretical models. Others might simply point to the expectations of students arriving onto graduate Economics programme that they will be provided with the most rigorous quantitative tools to perform modern economic analysis. Having said that, Economists are increasingly become involved in real-world field trials, where an element of qualitative research is necessary to understand the process and potentially also the mechanism of the interventions and policies being tested. Professional economists in this context will increasingly be required to understand, at least, how to intelligently consume such information.

There have also been some strong precedents for the use of qualitative research methods in Economics. Truman Bewley's famous work on why wages don't fall during a recession is one example of a well-regarded Economics work that came from structured interviews with business decision makers. More generally, the potential for qualitative research to provide greater understanding of the nature of various types of economic phenomena needs to be discussed in greater depth.

I will use this post to keep track of some useful references on qualitative research in Economics. Suggestions and comments welcome.

The review paper below provides a useful overview of qualitative and mixed methodological designs that might be useful in Economics.
Starr (2014). Qualitative and mixed-methods research in economics: surprising growth, promising future. Journal of Economic Surveys, Volume 28, Issue 2,  Pages 238–264.
Qualitative research in economics has traditionally been unimportant compared to quantitative work. Yet there has been a small explosion in use of quantitative approaches in the past 10–15 years, including ‘mixed-methods’ projects which usequalitative and quantitative methods in combination. This paper surveys the growing use of qualitative methods in economics and closely related fields, aiming to provide economists with a useful roadmap through major sets of qualitativemethods and how and why they are used. We review the growing body of economic research using qualitative approaches, emphasizing the gains from using qualitative- or mixed-methods over traditional ‘closed-ended’ approaches. It is argued that, although qualitative methods are often portrayed as less reliable, less accurate, less powerful and/or less credible than quantitative methods, in fact, the two sets of methods have their own strengths, and how much can be learned from one type of method or the other depends on specific issues that arise in studying the topic of interest. The central message of the paper is that well-done qualitative work can provide scientifically valuable and intellectually helpful ways of adding to the stock of economic knowledge, especially when applied to research questions for which they are well suited.
The chapter "Does Qualitative Research fit in Economics?" is also worth reading.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Readings on Self-Control and Public Policy

I am in early stages of developing a 2017 workshop on self-control and public policy. The purpose of this post is to collect some relevant readings to prompt discussion and thought about this topic. Potential sub-topics of the workshop include those below. Thoughts and comments welcome. 

+ Self-control and education policy (including early interventions). Can and should self-control be fostered? 

+ Self-control and financial regulation.

+ Self-control and health policy.

+ Self-control and employment activation.

+ Ideology and Self-control: potential for "victim blaming".

+ Self-control in psychological research and economic models.

+ Trait and state measures of self-control.

+ Case study on policy issues in ADD treatment.

+ Nudging and self-control.

+ Self-control and other individual differences: how does it compare in importance?

+ What does self-control research imply for debates about poverty and inequality? 

+ What can self-control research, particularly given it is an individual trait, contribute to understanding time trends in things like smoking and obesity?

Adler (2015). Disadvantage, self-control, and health. PNAS, August 18, 2015
vol. 112 no. 33.

Substantial inequities in disease risk and mortality by socioeconomic status (SES) and race challenge us to understand how health disparities emerge and can be eliminated. Building on a strong foundation of studies documenting disparities in a range of diseases and health problems, researchers are increasingly focusing on potentially modifiable mechanisms through which SES and race influence disease risk. One set of mechanisms involves risk factors for disease that occur more frequently in disadvantaged groups that, if reduced, could close the gap in morbidity and mortality. These include lack of access to health care, exposure to toxins and physical hazards, health-damaging behaviors, and adverse social environments (1). A second set of mechanisms involves protective factors that, if bolstered in disadvantaged groups, could do the same. These include social resources such as social support and social participation and psychological resources such as optimism, self-esteem, and perceived control (2). Whereas it is generally assumed that reducing risk factors and/or increasing protective factors will be beneficial in reducing disparities, Miller et al. (3) provide a more qualified assessment of one protective factor—self-regulation—and suggest that although greater self-regulation improves psychosocial outcomes, it may increase biological risk in more disadvantaged groups.

Baumeister & Vonash (2015). Uses of self-regulation to facilitate and restrain addictive behavior. Addictive Behaviors, Volume 44, May 2015, Pages 3–8.

We apply self-regulation theory to understand addictive behavior. Self-regulation and volition depend on a limited resource, and when that resource has been depleted, self-regulation becomes prone to fail. Moving beyond traditional models that have emphasized the relevance of self-regulation to quitting addiction, we propose that self-regulation is used both to facilitate and resist addictive behaviors. Self-regulation is often needed to overcome initial aversion to drugs and alcohol, as well as to maintain addictive usage patterns despite situational obstacles (e.g., illegality, erratic availability, family disapproval). Sustaining addiction also requires preventing use from spiraling out of control and interfering with other aspects of life. More generally, the automaticity and irresistibility of addictive responses may have been overrated, as indicated by how addictive behaviors respond rationally to incentives and other concerns. Self-regulation does facilitate quitting, and relapse may be especially likely when self-regulatory capabilities are depleted.

Bernheim et al (2015). Poverty and Self-Control. Econometrica, Volume 83, Issue 5, September 2015, Pages 1877–1911.

We argue that poverty can perpetuate itself by undermining the capacity for self-control. In line with a distinguished psychological literature, we consider modes of self-control that involve the self-imposed use of contingent punishments and rewards. We study settings in which consumers with quasi-hyperbolic preferences confront an otherwise standard intertemporal allocation problem with credit constraints. Our main result demonstrates that low initial assets can limit self-control, trapping people in poverty, while individuals with high initial assets can accumulate indefinitely. Thus, even temporary policies that initiate accumulation among the poor may be effective. We examine implications concerning the effect of access to credit on saving, the demand for commitment devices, the design of financial accounts to promote accumulation, and the variation of the marginal propensity to consume across income from different sources. We also explore the nature of optimal self-control, demonstrating that it has a simple and behaviorally plausible structure that is immune to self-renegotiation.

Browne et al (2015). Protecting Consumers from Themselves: Consumer Law and the Vulnerable Consumer. Drake L. Rev. 157.

Burgess (2012). Nudging Healthy Lifestyles: The UK Experiments with the Behavioral Alternative to Regulation and the Market. Eur. J. Risk Reg. 3 (2012).

Daly, Delaney, Egan & Baumeister (2015). Childhood Self-Control and Unemployment Throughout the Life Span: Evidence From Two British Cohort Studies. Psychological Science April 13.

The capacity for self-control may underlie successful labor-force entry and job retention, particularly in times of economic uncertainty. Analyzing unemployment data from two nationally representative British cohorts (N = 16,780), we found that low self-control in childhood was associated with the emergence and persistence of unemployment across four decades. On average, a 1-SD increase in self-control was associated with a reduction in the probability of unemployment of 1.4 percentage points after adjustment for intelligence, social class, and gender. From labor-market entry to middle age, individuals with low self-control experienced 1.6 times as many months of unemployment as those with high self-control. Analysis of monthly unemployment data before and during the 1980s recession showed that individuals with low self-control experienced the greatest increases in unemployment during the recession. Our results underscore the critical role of self-control in shaping life-span trajectories of occupational success and in affecting how macroeconomic conditions affect unemployment levels in the population.

Daly, Baumeister, Delaney & Maclachlan (2014). Self-control and its relation to emotions and psychobiology: evidence from a Day Reconstruction Method study.
Journal of Behavioral Medicine, February 2014, Volume 37, Issue 1, pp 81–93.

This study aimed to ascertain whether self-control predicts heart rate, heart rate variability, and the cortisol slope, and to determine whether health behaviors and affect patterns mediate these relationships. A sample of 198 adults completed the Self-Control Scale (Tangney in J Pers 72:271–322, 2004), and reported their exercise levels, and cigarette and alcohol use. Participants provided a complete account of their emotional experiences over a full day, along with morning and evening salivary cortisol samples and a continuous measure of cardiovascular activity on the same day. High trait self-control predicted low resting heart rate, high heart rate variability, and a steep cortisol slope. Those with high self-control displayed stable emotional patterns which explained the link between self-control and the cortisol slope. The self-controlled smoked less and this explained their low heart rates. The capacity to sustain stable patterns of affect across diverse contexts may be an important pathway through which self-control relates to psychophysiological functioning and potentially health.

Daly, Delaney, Baumeister (2015). Self-control, future orientation, smoking, and the impact of Dutch tobacco control measures. Addictive Behaviors Reports,
Volume 1, June 2015, Pages 89–96.


The pronounced discrepancy between smokers' intentions to quit and their smoking behavior has led researchers to suggest that many smokers are time inconsistent, have self-control problems, and may benefit from external efforts to constrain their consumption. This study aims to test whether self-control and future orientation predict smoking levels and to identify if these traits modify how cigarette consumption responds to the introduction of tobacco control measures.


A sample of Dutch adults (N = 1585) completed a measure of self-control and the Consideration of Future Consequences Scale (CFCS) in 2001 and indicated their tobacco consumption each year from 2001 to 2007. In 2004, a workplace smoking ban and substantial tax increase on tobacco was introduced in the Netherlands. To identify the potential impact of these tobacco control measures we examined whether participants smoked or were heavy smokers (20 + cigarettes per day) each year from 2001 to 2007.


Participants with high self-control and CFCS scores showed lower rates of smoking across the seven year period of the study. The 2004 smoking restrictions were linked with a subsequent decline in heavy smoking. This decline was moderated by self-control levels. Those with low self-control showed a large reduction in heavy smoking whereas those with high self-control did not. The effects were, however, temporary: many people with low self-control resumed heavy smoking 2–3 years after the introduction of the tobacco restrictions.


The immediate costs which national tobacco control measures impose on smokers may assist smokers with poor self-control in reducing their cigarette consumption.

Diamond & Lee (2011). Interventions Shown to Aid Executive Function Development in Children 4 to 12 Years Old. Science, Vol. 333, Issue 6045, pp. 959-964.

To be successful takes creativity, flexibility, self-control, and discipline. Central to all those are executive functions, including mentally playing with ideas, giving a considered rather than an impulsive response, and staying focused. Diverse activities have been shown to improve children’s executive functions: computerized training, noncomputerized games, aerobics, martial arts, yoga, mindfulness, and school curricula. All successful programs involve repeated practice and progressively increase the challenge to executive functions. Children with worse executive functions benefit most from these activities; thus, early executive-function training may avert widening achievement gaps later. To improve executive functions, focusing narrowly on them may not be as effective as also addressing emotional and social development (as do curricula that improve executive functions) and physical development (shown by positive effects of aerobics, martial arts, and yoga).

Evans & Kim (2013). Childhood Poverty, Chronic Stress, Self-Regulation, and Coping. Child Development Perspectives, Volume 7, Issue 1,March 2013
Pages 43–48.

Poverty is a powerful factor that can alter lifetime developmental trajectories in cognitive, socioemotional, and physical health outcomes. Most explanatory work on the underlying psychological processes of how poverty affects development has focused on parental investment and parenting practices, principally responsiveness. Our primary objective in this article was to describe a third, complementary pathway—chronic stress and coping—that may also prove helpful in understanding the developmental impacts of early childhood poverty throughout life. Disadvantaged children are more likely than their wealthier peers to confront a wide array of physical stressors (e.g., substandard housing, chaotic environments) and psychosocial stressors (e.g., family turmoil, separation from adult caregivers). As exposure to stressors accumulates, physiological response systems that are designed to handle relatively infrequent, acute environmental demands are overwhelmed. Chronic cumulative stressors also disrupt the self-regulatory processes that help children cope with external demands.

Fishbach (2015). Nudging self-control: A smartphone intervention of temptation anticipation and goal resolution improves everyday goal progress. Motivation Science, Vol 1(3), Sep 2015, 137-150.

Practitioners and researchers alike explore ways of increasing motivation. Whereas previous research mainly explores interventions that operate on people’s goals (e.g., via goal setting), we explore an intervention that operates on overcoming interfering temptations and nudging self-control success. We report an experiment testing a 1-week smartphone field intervention. Self-control involves anticipating and battling temptation; hence, we encouraged participants in a treatment condition to anticipate temptation (i.e., obstacles) for daily goal pursuit and to envision resolutions. They generated these responses for half the goals they listed daily. Participants in the treatment (anticipation + resolution) condition reported more successful pursuit of the daily goals for which they listed obstacles and planned resolutions than for their other goals. We found no such difference between daily goals for participants in a control condition (no anticipation + and no resolution) and for participants in an anticipation-only condition. The beneficial effect of listing obstacles and resolutions was further limited to goals that require self-control and are stronger for people with an assessment self-regulatory mode. Finally, participants in the treatment condition reported increased general happiness during the period of the intervention. We conclude that a simple intervention can improve self-control. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)

Friese (2011). On taming horses and strengthening riders: Recent developments in research on interventions to improve self-control in health behaviors. Self and Identity, Volume 10, 2011 - Issue 3.

This article reviews recent developments in the design of interventions to improve health behavior. Based on dual-system models we classify intervention strategies according to whether they aim at: (i) changing impulsive structures; (ii) improving the ability to self-control; or (iii) changing reflective structures. We review recent work on re-training of automatic associations, attentional biases, and automatic approach–avoidance tendencies, training of self-control and executive functioning, and taxonomic work on health behavior intervention techniques. The theoretical framework as well as the empirical evidence suggest that a combination of both established and newly developed intervention techniques may prove fruitful for future intervention programs. However, several techniques are still in their infancy and more research is needed before clear recommendations can be given.

Gathergood (2012). Self-control, financial literacy and consumer over-indebtedness. Journal of Economic Psychology, Volume 33, Issue 3, June 2012, Pages 590–602.

This paper examines the relationship between self-control, financial literacy and over-indebtedness on consumer credit debt among UK consumers. Lack of self-control and financial illiteracy are positively associated with non-payment of consumer credit and self-reported excessive financial burdens of debt. Consumers who exhibit self-control problems are shown to make greater use of quick-access but high cost credit items such as store cards and payday loans. We also find consumers with self-control problems are more likely to suffer income shocks, credit withdrawals and unforeseen expenses on durables, suggesting that lack of self-control increases exposure to a variety of risks. In most specifications we find a stronger role for lack of self-control than for financial illiteracy in explaining consumer over-indebtedness. We discuss the policy implications of these findings.

Glanz & Bishop (2010). The Role of Behavioral Science Theory in Development and Implementation of Public Health Interventions. Annual Review of Public Health, Vol. 31: 399-418.

Increasing evidence suggests that public health and health-promotion interventions that are based on social and behavioral science theories are more effective than those lacking a theoretical base. This article provides an overview of the state of the science of theory use for designing and conducting health-promotion interventions. Influential contemporary perspectives stress the multiple determinants and multiple levels of determinants of health and health behavior. We describe key types of theory and selected often-used theories and their key concepts, including the health belief model, the transtheoretical model, social cognitive theory, and the ecological model. This summary is followed by a review of the evidence about patterns and effects of theory use in health behavior intervention research. Examples of applied theories in three large public health programs illustrate the feasibility, utility, and challenges of using theory-based interventions. This review concludes by identifying cross-cutting themes and important future directions for bridging the divides between theory, practice, and research.

Hagger & Chatzisarantis (2013). The Strength Model of Self-Control: Recent Advances and Implications for Public Health. Social Neuroscience and Public Health, pp 123-139.

The strength model of self-control conceptualizes self-control as a resource that enables individuals to actively control impulses and urges, but is finite and, after a period of exertion, becomes depleted. In this chapter we discuss the main hypotheses of the strength model, review the current state of the research adopting the model including the recovery, conservation, and training hypotheses, identify the mechanisms that underpin the model including recent advances, summarize the contribution of the model to public health contexts, and provide details of the future research directions to advance the contribution the model makes to understanding self-control. We conclude that the model has provided a useful framework to understand self-control in numerous health-related contexts with training or practice on self-control offering considerable potential for interventions to promote health-related behavior. Future research should elucidate the mechanisms underpinning the effects of self-control resource depletion on behavior and identify the moderators of the effect.

Hengartner et al (2016). Big Five personality traits may inform public health policy and preventive medicine: Evidence from a cross-sectional and a prospective longitudinal epidemiologic study in a Swiss community. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, Volume 84, May 2016, Pages 44–51.


Some evidence documents the importance of personality assessments for health research and practise. However, no study has opted to test whether a short self-report personality inventory may comprehensively inform health policy.


Data were taken from a population-based epidemiologic survey in Zurich, Switzerland, conducted from 2010–2012. A short form of the Big Five Inventory was completed by n = 1155 participants (54.4% women; mean age = 29.6 years), while health-related outcomes were taken from a comprehensive semi-structured clinical interview. A convenience subsample averaging n = 171 participants additionally provided laboratory measures and n = 133 were subsequently followed-up at least once over a maximal period of 6 months.


Personality traits, in particular high neuroticism and low conscientiousness, related significantly to poor environmental resources such as low social support (R2 = 0.071), health-impairing behaviours such as cannabis use (R2 = 0.071), and psychopathology, including negative affect (R2 = 0.269) and various mental disorders (R2 = 0.060–0.195). The proportion of total variance explained was R2 = 0.339 in persons with three or more mental disorders. Personality significantly related to some laboratory measures including total cholesterol (R2 = 0.095) and C-Reactive Protein (R2 = 0.062). Finally, personality prospectively predicted global psychopathological distress and vegetative symptoms over a 6-month observation period.


Personality relates consistently to poor socio-environmental resources, health-impairing behaviours and psychopathology. We also found some evidence for an association with metabolic and immune functions that are assumed to influence health. A short personality inventory could provide valuable information for preventive medicine when used as a means to screen entire populations for distinct risk exposure, in particular with respect to psychopathology.

Hoyt et al (2014). “Obesity Is a Disease”: Examining the Self-Regulatory Impact of This Public-Health Message. Psychological Science, April 2014 vol. 25 no. 4 997-1002.

In the current work, we examined the impact of the American Medical Association’s recent classification of obesity as a disease on weight-management processes. Across three experimental studies, we highlighted the potential hidden costs associated with labeling obesity as a disease, showing that this message, presented in an actual New York Times article, undermined beneficial weight-loss self-regulatory processes. A disease-based, relative to an information-based, weight-management message weakened the importance placed on health-focused dieting and reduced concerns about weight among obese individuals—the very people whom such public-health messages are targeting. Further, the decreased concern about weight predicted higher-calorie food choices. In addition, the disease message, relative to a message that obesity is not a disease, lowered body-image dissatisfaction, but this too predicted higher-calorie food choices. Thus, although defining obesity as a disease may be beneficial for body image, results from the current work emphasize the negative implications of this message for self-regulation.

Moffitt et al (2011). A gradient of childhood self-control predicts health, wealth, and public safety. February 15, 2011, vol. 108 no. 7.

Policy-makers are considering large-scale programs aimed at self-control to improve citizens’ health and wealth and reduce crime. Experimental and economic studies suggest such programs could reap benefits. Yet, is self-control important for the health, wealth, and public safety of the population? Following a cohort of 1,000 children from birth to the age of 32 y, we show that childhood self-control predicts physical health, substance dependence, personal finances, and criminal offending outcomes, following a gradient of self-control. Effects of children's self-control could be disentangled from their intelligence and social class as well as from mistakes they made as adolescents. In another cohort of 500 sibling-pairs, the sibling with lower self-control had poorer outcomes, despite shared family background. Interventions addressing self-control might reduce a panoply of societal costs, save taxpayers money, and promote prosperity.

Muraven (2010). Building self-control strength: Practicing self-control leads to improved self-control performance. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, Volume 46, Issue 2, March 2010, Pages 465–468.

Self-control performance may be improved by the regular practice of small acts of self-control. Ninety-two adults’ self-control capacity was assessed using the stop signal paradigm before they started practicing self-control and again at the end of 2 weeks. Participants who practiced self-control by cutting back on sweets or squeezing a handgrip exhibited significant improvement in stop signal performance relative to those who practiced tasks that did not require self-control. Participants who did not practice self-control believed that the tasks should improved self-control, engaged in tasks that were effortful and made self-control salient, but did not actually require self-control. Supplemental analyses suggested that only practicing self-control built self-control capacity; the improved outcomes cannot be explained by self-fulfilling prophecies, increased self-efficacy or awareness of self-control. The results may have implications for understanding the development of self-control in both children and adults, as well as clinical implications for treating disorders that involve low self-control.

Piquero et al (2016). A meta-analysis update on the effectiveness of early self-control improvement programs to improve self-control and reduce delinquency.
Journal of Experimental Criminology, June 2016, Volume 12, Issue 2, pp 249–264.


To update Piquero et al.’s (Justice Quarterly 27:803–834, 2010) meta-analysis on early self-control improvement programs.


Screening of eligible studies was carried out for the period between January 2010 and September 2015. An additional seven studies were identified, which were added to the original database of 34 studies, totaling an overall sample of 41 eligible studies. A random effects model was used to obtain an overall mean effect size estimate. Additional analyses were performed to assess publication bias and moderation.


Overall average, positive, and significant effect sizes were observed for improving self-control (0.32) and reducing delinquency (0.27). There was evidence of publication bias for the self-control improvement outcomes, as well as some evidence of moderation for both self-control improvement and delinquency outcomes.


Early self-control improvement programs are an effective evidence-based strategy for improving self-control and reducing delinquency.

Piquero et al (2010). Self-Control Interventions for Children Under Age 10 for Improving Self-Control and Delinquency and Problem Behaviors: A Systematic Review. The Campbell Collaboration Library of Systematic Reviews.

Piquero et al (2010). On the Malleability of Self‐Control: Theoretical and Policy Implications Regarding a General Theory of Crime. Justice Quarterly,
Volume 27, 2010 - Issue 6.

Gottfredson and Hirschi’s general theory of crime has generated significant controversy and research, such that there now exists a large knowledge base regarding the importance of self‐control in regulating antisocial behavior over the life‐course. Reviews of this literature indicate that self‐control is an important correlate of antisocial activity. Some research has evaluated programmatic efforts designed to examine the extent to which self‐control is malleable, but little empirical research on this issue has been carried out within criminology, largely because the theorists have not paid much attention to policy proscriptions. This study evaluates the extant research on the effectiveness of programs designed to improve self‐control up to age 10 among children and adolescents, and assesses the effects of these programs on self‐control and delinquency/crime. Meta‐analytic results indicate that (1) self‐control programs improve a child/adolescent’s self‐control, (2) these interventions also reduce delinquency, and (3) the positive effects generally hold across a number of different moderator variables and groupings as well as by outcome source (parent‐, teacher‐, direct observer‐, self‐, and clinical report). Theoretical and policy implications are also discussed.

Song et al (2013). When Health Policy and Empirical Evidence Collide: The Case of Cigarette Package Warning Labels and Economic Consumer Surplus. American Journal of Public Health: February 2014, Vol. 104, No. 2, pp. e42-e51.

In its graphic warning label regulations on cigarette packages, the Food and Drug Administration severely discounts the benefits of reduced smoking because of the lost “pleasure” smokers experience when they stop smoking; this is quantified as lost “consumer surplus.” Consumer surplus is grounded in rational choice theory. However, empirical evidence from psychological cognitive science and behavioral economics demonstrates that the assumptions of rational choice are inconsistent with complex multidimensional decisions, particularly smoking. Rational choice does not account for the roles of emotions, misperceptions, optimistic bias, regret, and cognitive inefficiency that are germane to smoking, particularly because most smokers begin smoking in their youth. Continued application of a consumer surplus discount will undermine sensible policies to reduce tobacco use and other policies to promote public health.

Wideman et al (2016). Rationale, design and methods for the RIGHT Track Health Study: pathways from childhood self-regulation to cardiovascular risk in adolescence. BMC Public HealthBMC series, 16:459.

Cardiovascular risk factors during adolescence—including obesity, elevated lipids, altered glucose metabolism, hypertension, and elevated low-grade inflammation—is cause for serious concern and potentially impacts subsequent morbidity and mortality. Despite the importance of these cardiovascular risk factors, very little is known about their developmental origins in childhood. In addition, since adolescence is a time when individuals are navigating major life changes and gaining increasing autonomy from their parents or parental figures, it is a period when control over their own health behaviors (e.g. drug use, sleep, nutrition) also increases. The primary aim of this paper is to describe the rationale, design and methods for the RIGHT Track Health Study. This study examines self-regulation as a key factor in the development of cardiovascular risk, and further explores health behaviors as an explanatory mechanism of this association. We also examine potential moderators (e.g. psychosocial adversities such as harsh parenting) of this association.

RIGHT Track is a longitudinal study that investigates social and emotional development. The RIGHT Track Health Study prospectively follows participants from age 2 through young adulthood in an effort to understand how self-regulatory behavior throughout childhood alters the trajectories of various cardiovascular risk factors during late adolescence via health behaviors. Individuals from RIGHT Track were re-contacted and invited to participate in adolescent data collection (~16.5, 17.5 and 18+ years old). Individuals completed assessments of body composition, anthropometric indicators, fitness testing (via peak oxygen consumption), heart rate variability during orthostatic challenge, 7-day accelerometry for physical activity and sleep, 24-h dietary recalls, and blood analysis for biomarkers related to metabolic syndrome, inflammatory status and various hormones and cytokines. Individuals also completed extensive self-report measures on diet and eating regulation, physical activity and sedentary behaviors, sleep, substance use, medical history, medication use and a laboratory-day checklist, which chronicled previous day activities and menstrual information for female participants.

Insights emerging from this analysis can help researchers and public health policy administrators target intervention efforts in early childhood, when preventing chronic disease is most cost-effective and behavior is more malleable.

Wills et al (2015). Self-control and substance use prevention: A translational analysis. Handbook of adolescent drug use prevention: Research, intervention strategies, and practice , (pp. 121-139).

This chapter examines the implications of self-regulation research for the prevention of early onset drug use. It outlines a dual-process approach to conceptualizing and assessing two regulation constructs that we term self-control and dysregulation. We summarize research that has related self-control or dysregulation measures to adolescent substance use and focus on both main effects and moderation effects. We also review available research that has implemented a self-control intervention and examined effects on outcome variables, including, but not limited to, smoking and alcohol use. We outline a translational model that suggests how to include self-regulation concepts in primary or secondary prevention programs. The chapter concludes with a discussion of several questions that could be addressed in further research on self-regulation and substance use prevention. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

9th Annual Irish Economics and Psychology Conference

Preliminary Programme: 9th Annual Irish Economics, Psychology, and Policy Conference

Queen's University Belfast

November 25th 2016 

The ninth annual one day conference on Economics and Psychology will be held on November 25th in Queen's University Belfast, jointly organised by researchers in QUB, ESRI, Stirling and UCD. The purpose of these sessions is to develop the link between Economics, Psychology, and cognate disciplines throughout Ireland. A special theme of these events is the implications of behavioural economics for public policy. As well as the annual workshop we have developed a broader network to meet more regularly to discuss work at the intersection of economics, psychology, and policy. This has had five meet-ups so far, as well as some offshoot sessions. Anyone interested in this area is welcome to attend. A website with more details and a mailing list to sign up to is available here. There are currently over 200 people signed up to the network and the events have been, at least in my view, very lively and interesting. There are several more planned for throughout 2016/2017 and we welcome suggestions.

830am - 850am: Registration

850am Welcome

9am to 10.40am: Behavioural Science and Policy Case Studies (Chair: David Comerford)

Katja Fells (RWI) "Behavioral Economics and Energy Conservation – A Systematic Review of Innovative Interventions and their Causal Effects”.
Nicole Andelic (QUB) "Debt advice is better delivered face-to-face than via telephone".
Thomas Conway (NUIG): "Investigating the effects of the Great Recession on the mental health of Irish third-level students."
Mark McGovern (QUB) "Disparities in Early Life Investments and Children’s Time Use".
Cathal FitzGerald (DCU) "Surprisingly Rational? The Case of 100% Mortgages in Ireland in 2005".

10.40am to 11am: Coffee

11am to 1pm:  Measurement, Method, and Behavioural Science (Chair: Pete Lunn)

Carla Prentice (QUB): "Time Discounting as a Mediator of the Relationship between Financial Stress and Health".
Seda Erdem (Stirling): "Discrete Choice Experiments and Behavioural Economics".
Aine Ni Choisdealbha (ESRI) "Harnessing habitual behaviour in the laboratory: an experiment on how busy consumers respond to environmental information".
Arkady Zgonnikov (NUIG): "Using decision space visualisations to characterise individual decision makers".
Marek Bohacek (ESRI) "Investigating a central mechanism of economic decision making: the ability to trade-off incommensurate attributes".
Danny Campbell (Stirling): "Discrete Choice Experiments and Behavioural Economics".

1pm to 140pm: Lunch

140pm to 320 pm: Regulation, Policy, and Behavioural Science (Chair: Liam Delaney)

Clare Delargy (BIT): "Behavioural Insights and Public Policy".
Michael Daly (Stirling): "Self-control, health, and public policy".
Maureen Maloney and Alma McCarthy (NUIG): "Automatic enrolment and employee risk:  An analysis using a bounded rationality framework".
Leonhard Lades (Stirling) "Self-control, well-being, and normative measures of welfare".
Karl Purcell and Laura Watts (IGEES). "Behavioural Economics and Irish policy".

320pm to 330pm: Coffee

330pm to 415pm: Keynote Speaker 1: Professor Muireann Quigley (Newcastle Law School) "Libertarian Paternalism & Nudging: On Alluring Concepts Public Policy".

415pm to 5pm: Keynote Speaker 2: Professor Michelle Baddeley (UCL) Title TBC "Behavioural Economics and Regulation".

Friday, September 09, 2016

Stirling Management Unemployment Research Workshop November 16th

See below for the provisional schedule of a workshop we will host in Stirling on November 16th on the work we are conducting in the areas of unemployment and precarious employment. Registration is free but places are limited due to the space so we ask you to register in advance on the eventbrite page.


12pm - 1215pm: Opening and Objectives

1215pm - 1230pm: David Bell "Topics in Employment and Underemployment". (Joint with David Blanchflower).

1230pm - 1245pm: Sharon Bolton: "Precarious employment". (Joint with Darren McGuire, Lila Skountridaki, Kerstin Maier Barcroft, Knut Laaser).

1245pm - 1pm: Paul Thompson: "Dimensions of Underemployment".

1pm-115pm: Liam Delaney: "Benefits sanctions: ethics and evidence". (Joint with Mirko Moro, Michael Daly, Christopher Boyce, Alex Wood).

115pm- 2pm: Lunch

2pm-215pm: Elaine Douglas: "Aging and Employment: Haggis as Data Source". (Joint with David Bell).

215pm-230pm: Ron McQuaid: "Unemployment policies and the Work Programme".


245pm - 3pm: Christopher Boyce: "Unemployment and Personality". (Joint with Michael Daly, Alex Wood).

3pm - 315pm: Tanya Wilson: "Domestic Violence and Unemployment".

315pm - 330pm: Victoria Mousteri: "Precarious employment and mental health". (Joint with Liam Delaney, Michael Daly).


345pm - 430pm: Panel on developing research and policy on unemployment and precarious employment.

Online Resources and Background to Stirling Research 

Below is a set of links to papers, reports and mentions of research on unemployment that has been undertaken here in Stirling over the last 8 years or so. It is not intended to be a comprehensive list and I will add to it over the next few months. We have also run several workshops and seminars in this area (recent one here). We will announce soon a workshop on youth unemployment in Europe and I very much welcome suggestions. We are also currently advertising PhD studentships, two of which are relevant to this agenda. 

Boyce CJ, Wood AM, Daly M & Sedikides C (2015) Personality change following unemployment, Journal of Applied Psychology, 100 (4), pp. 991-1011. DOI:

[Media coverage of this paper in the Daily Mail,, STV News, Science Daily, Business Insider]

Boyce, C. J., & Wood, A., M., & Brown, G. D. A. (2010). The dark side of conscientiousness: Conscientious people experience greater drops in life satisfaction following unemployment. Journal of Research in Personality, 44, 535-539.

[Media coverage of this paper at Psychology Today ]

Egan, M., Daly, M., Delaney, L. (2016). Adolescent psychological distress, unemployment, and the Great Recession: evidence from the National Longitudinal Study of Youth 1997. Social Science & Medicine, Volume 156, May 2016, Pages 98–105

[Media coverage of this paper on PsychCentral ,Herald Scotland, Psychological Science, Medical Daily]

Daly, M., Delaney., L., Egan., M., & Baumeister, R. (2015). Childhood self-control and unemployment throughout the life span: evidence from two British cohort studies. Psychological Science, 26(6):709-23.

[Media coverage of this paper in the Independent and at Science Daily]

Daly, M., Delaney., L and Egan., M. (2015). Childhood psychological distress and adult unemployment: evidence from two British cohort studies. Social Science and Medicine, Volume 124, January 2015, Pages 11–17.

[Feature on this paper on UK Data Service, Fair Play for Children]

Daly, M., & Delaney, L. (2013). The scarring effect of unemployment throughout adulthood on psychological distress at age 50: Estimates controlling for early adulthood distress and childhood psychological factors. Social Science and Medicine, Volume 80, 19-23.

Egdell V & McQuaid R (2016) Supporting disadvantaged young people into work: insights from the Capability Approach, Social Policy and Administration, 50 (1), pp. 1-18.

Bilfulco, Egdell, McQuaid, Berthet, Simon, Monteleone, Mozzana, Rosenstein, Dif-Pradalier, Bonvin, Hollywood, Rosendal Jensen, Christrup Kjeldsen, Sztandar-Sztanderska, Zieleńska, Haidinger, Kasper, Düker, Ley, Bergström (2015). Capabilities for Voice, Work and Education: Critical Analysis of Programmes for Disadvantaged Young People in Europe. Facing Trajectories from School to Work. Springer.

McQuaid (2015). How to beat the hidden discrimination at the heart of the job hunt. The Conversation.

McQuaid (2014). Youth unemployment produces multiple scarring effects. LSE Blog.

Graham H & McQuaid R (2014) Exploring the impacts of the UK government’s welfare reforms on lone parents moving into work. Glasgow Centre for Population Health. Glasgow Centre for Population Health.

Fuertes V & McQuaid R (2013) The Work Programme: a new public governance policy or a continuation of new public management? . EVeP, 20. Fondazione Volontariato e Partecipazione.

Hollywood E, Egdell V & McQuaid R (2012) Youth unemployment initiatives and the impact on disadvantaged youth. The Skills Development Scotland Co Ltd. Spotlight article: Labour Market Focus.

Hollywood E, Egdell V & McQuaid R (2012) Addressing the issue of disadvantaged youth seeking work, Social Work and Society, 10 (1).

Egdell V, Hollywood E & McQuaid R (2015) 11.2.4 Addressing the Issue of Unemployment among Disadvantaged Youth in Scotland: Developing the Capability for Work. In: Otto H-U, Atzmüller R, Berthet T, Bifulco L, Bonvin J-M, Chiappero-Martinetti E, Egdell V, Halleröd B, Kjeldsen CC, Kwiek M, Schröer R, Vero J, Zielenska M (ed.). Facing Trajectories from School to Work: Towards a Capability-Friendly Youth Policy in Europe. Technical and Vocational Education and Training: Issues, Concerns and Prospects, 20, Dordrecht: Springer, pp. 248-256.

Hollywood E, Egdell V, McQuaid R & Michel-Schertges D (2012) Methodological issues in operationalising the capability approach in empirical research: An example of cross-country research on youth unemployment in the EU, Social Work and Society, 10 (1).

Bown, Neary, Vittal Katikireddi, Thomson, McQuaid, Leyland, Frank, Leavons, de Pellette, Kiran, Macdonald (2015). Protocol for a mixed-methods longitudinal study to identify factors influencing return to work in the over 50s participating in the UK Work Programme: Supporting Older People into Employment (SOPIE). BMJ Open 2015;5:e010525.

Gilmartin M & Korobilis D (2012) On Regional Unemployment: An Empirical Examination of the Determinants of Geographical Differentials in the UK, Scottish Journal of Political Economy, 59 (2), pp. 179-195.

Allan G, Swales JK, Gilmartin M & McGregor PG (2012) Report on the evidence for net job creation from policy support for energy efficiency and renewable energy: An appraisal of multi-sectoral modelling techniques. UK Energy Research Centre (UKERC).

Anderberg D, Rainer H, Wadsworth J & Wilson T. Unemployment and Domestic Violence: Theory and Evidence (Forthcoming/Available Online), Economic Journal.

[Media coverage of this paper at Science Daily

Bell D & Eiser D (2016) Migration and fiscal policy as factors explaining the labour-market resilience of UK regions to the Great Recession, Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society, 9 (1), pp. 197-215.

Brown R & Mawson S (2016) The geography of job creation in high-growth firms: the implications of 'growing abroad', Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy, 34 (2), pp. 207-227.

Okay-Somerville B & Scholarios D.  Position, possession or process? Understanding objective and subjective employability during university-to-work transitions (Forthcoming/Available Online), Studies in Higher Education.

Bolton, S., & Laaser, K. (2013). Work, employment and society through the lens of moral economy. Work Employment & Society June 2013 vol. 27 no. 3 508-525.

Bolton, S., & Wibberley, G. (2014). Domiciliary Care: The Formal and Informal Labour Process. Sociology, vol. 48 no. 4 682-697. 

Bolton, S., & Houlihan, M. (2009). Work Matters: Critical Reflections on Contemporary Work. Palgrave Macmillan.

Egan M, Daly M, Delaney L, Boyce CJ & Wood AM. Adolescent Conscientiousness Predicts Lower Lifetime Unemployment (Forthcoming), Journal of Applied Psychology.

Thompson, P. (2013). ‘Good when they want to be’: migrant workers in the supermarket supply chain. Human Resource Management Journal, Volume 23, Issue 2, Pages 129–143.

Bell & Blanchflower


Bell, D.N.F. and Blanchflower, D.G. (2015). Youth unemployment in Greece: measuring the challenge. IZA Journal of European Labor Studies, December 2015, 4:1.

Blanchflower, D.G (2015). As good as it gets? The UK labour market in recession and recovery. National Institute Economic Review, 231, Feb 2015.

Bell, D.N.F. and Blanchflower, D.G. (2014). Labor Market Slack in the United Kingdom. Peterson Institute for International Economics Working Paper No. 14-2.

Bell, D.N.F. and Blanchflower, D.G. (2014). The Happiness Trade-Off between Unemployment and Inflation. Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Volume 46, Issue S2, pages 117–141, October 2014.

Bell, D.N.F. and Blanchflower, D.G. (2013). Underemployment in the UK Revisited. National Institute Economic Review May 2013 vol. 224 no. 1 F8-F22

Blanchflower & Oswald (2013). The Danger of High Home Ownership:Greater Unemployment. The CAGE-Chatham House Series, No. 10, October 2013

Bell, D.N.F. and Blanchflower, D.G. (2011) “Young People and the “Great Recession”, Oxford Review of Economic Policy 2011 27: pp. 241-267

Bell, D.N.F. and Blanchflower, D.G. (2011). ‘Youth Unemployment in Europe and theUnited States’, Nordic Economic Policy Review No 2

Bell, D.N.F. and Blanchflower, D.G. (2011). ‘Underemployment in the Great Recession’, National Institute Economic Review, 215, January, R23-R33

Bell, D.N.F., and Blanchflower, D.G. (2011) ‘The Crisis, Policy Reactions and Jobs’in ‘Making Globalization Socially Sustainable’, World Trade Organisation/International Labour Organisation

Bell, D.N.F. and Blanchflower, D.G. (2010). ‘The UK Labour Market in the GreatRecession’, National Institute Economic Review, 214, October, R3-R25

Bell, D.N.F and Blanchflower D.G. (2010). ‘Recession and Unemployment in the OECD’, CESifo Forum, Issue 1, March, pp.14-21

Bell D & Blanchflower D (2010) Youth Unemployment: Deja Vu?. Stirling Economics Discussion Paper, 2010-04.

Bell D & Blanchflower D (2009) What should be done about rising unemployment in the UK?. Stirling Economics Discussion Paper, 2009-06.

Mentions of Bell and Blanchflower work on youth unemployment in Hansard:

Hansard House of Commons Debates, 6th July 2009, Volume No. 495, Part No. 106, column 724:

Hansard House of Commons Debates, 13th July 2011, Volume No. 531, Part No. 187, Column 352:

Hansard House of Commons Debates, 26th March 2009, Volume No. 490, Part No. 54, Column 440:

Youth Unemployment and the Future Jobs Fund - Work and Pensions Committee, Written Evidence ordered by the House of Commons to be printed 13 December 2010. Written evidence submitted by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI):

Examples of press and blog reports of Bell and Blanchflower work on youth unemployment.

Jan 2016. The walled world of work. The Economist.

Blanchflower (2015). David Blanchflower: Young people are suffering from austerity in the UK as well as in Greece. Independent.

Blanchflower (2014). David Blanchflower: Reasons to be concerned by the rise of self-employment. Independent.

McFall, John (2009). The Road to Recovery. The Guardian, 22nd March. Available at:

Delaney, Liam (2009). Bell and Blanchflower - Unemployment in the OECD. The Irish Economy (Blog entry, 4th October). Available at:

Centre for Analysis of Youth Transitions (2011). Growth Seminar, Institute for Fiscal Studies. Summary available at:

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

MSc Behavioural Science Dissertation Titles

Below are many of the dissertation titles from our MSc class in the last three years (chosen as the ones I happen to have on my email rather than for any systematic reason). Was a fascinating mix of work and gives a sense of the type of topics people here have been addressing.

Reported gender discrimination:  A between countries study of women in STEM and health occupations.

Public attitudes and snoopers:  A study on terrorism priming effects on public acceptance of the draft investigatory powers bill.

The effect of temporal distance on consumer purchasing decisions:  A discrete choice experimental approach.

Do people like self-control?  Using a day reconstruction method to investigate the extent to which people like to control themselves.

Self-control and media use: The role of implementation intentions and commitment devices in procastinatory media use.

Traffic light labelling: A choice based and ratings based conjoint analysis of the size manipulation of colour codes and the provision of TFL key card information on food choices and health value.

Promoting household recycling in Singapore's public housing estate:  Testing a habit change intervention in a quasi-experimental field study.

Nudge at the end of the rainbow: attitudes to nudging in South Africa.

A matter of life and death:  The effects of priming life expectancy on pensions decumulation decisions.

Discretionary savings and individual subjective perceptions in the UK.

Rewarding Altruistic Motives and Valuable Services: The Role of Gratitude in Understanding Consumer Psychology and Behavior.

Lay Rationalism's influence on Material Versus Experiential Preferences and Experienced Outcomes: Maximising Happiness or Good Economic Use of Money.

Smartphone Use, Work-Home Interference and Subjective Well-being.

A review of behavioral insights into at-retirement decision making in the UK context: Framing and fund allocation decisions.

Stick or Twist?  The power of defaults and anchoring in auto-enrolment pension schemes.

Non-cognitive personality predictors of job satisfaction across gender and facets of human capital, and relationships between career progression and life satisfaction.

Future orientation as a determinant of human capital: a behavioural scientific analysis on the impact of the delay of gratification on human capital development.

Associations between childhood self-regulation and adult socioeconomic status: evidence from the British Cohort Study.

Exploring the personality profile of the "green consumer" - explaining individual heterogeneity in willingness to pay for environmentally friendly goods.

Can our social proof heuristic and health priming increase healthy food choices and preference for healthy foods?

Applying behavioural economics to understand and change savings behaviours.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Funding for researchers in Ireland

Postgraduate funding in Ireland

Call opens: Wednesday 7 September 2016
Deadline: Wednesday 2 November 2016

The Government of Ireland Postgraduate Scholarship Scheme offers scholarships for suitably qualified individuals to pursue a Research Masters or PhD (either traditional or structured), in any discipline, at eligible Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) within Ireland. In addition, a number of targeted Scholarships are offered in collaboration with our strategic funding partners.

The Irish Research Council's Employment Based Postgraduate Programme is a unique national initiative. First piloted in 2012, it provides students in all disciplines an opportunity to work in a co-educational environment involving a higher education institution and an employment partner. Since its inception, the Council has created over 120 jobs for researchers who are currently embedded in a range of organisational types, across all academic disciplines and business sectors.

Opens: Friday 9 December 2016
Closes: Friday 17 February 2017

Irish Postdoctoral funding

The Government of Ireland Postdoctoral Fellowship Scheme provides funding across all disciplines for early-career researchers based in Ireland for periods of between one and two years.

Opens: Wednesday 12 October 2016
Closes: Wednesday 30 November 2016

The Enterprise Partnership Programme provides funding for early career researchers working in partnership with academia and industry

(No info yet on dates) 

The Irish Research Council is delighted to announce its new IRC Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) COFUND Postdoctoral Fellowship Programme entitled CAROLINE – ‘Collaborative Research Fellowships for a Responsive and Innovative Europe’.

The initiative will provide experienced researchers* with an opportunity to obtain a prestigious research mobility and career development Fellowship. Successful candidates will carry out research either in Ireland or abroad and will gain inter-sectoral and interdisciplinary exposure through this programme.

CAROLINE will attract experienced researchers from any discipline to conduct research relevant to the themes of the United Nations 2030 Agenda for shared economic prosperity, social development, and environmental protection. The 17 goals within Agenda 2030 are relevant for researchers across all academic disciplines and will be of interest to researchers with diverse career objectives in mind, including those within academia, civic society, and industry. A key feature of the programme is collaboration between the academic sector, non-governmental organisations and international organisations. The scope of potential organisations for inter-sectoral collaboration in terms of their mission is intended to be broad, and will speak to one or more of the goals under Agenda 2030. Potential partner organisations are not limited to ‘development-orientated’ NGOs or those working in support of developing countries.

Opens: Wednesday 12 October 2016
Closes: Wednesday 30 November 2016

General Irish funding schemes

Supporting knowledge exchange through
four strands:

Strand 1 – Enhancing civic society engagement, nationally and internationally Strand 2 – Decade of Centenaries (1917- 1922)
 Strand 3 – Cross-border knowledge exchange and stimulation of collaboration for upcoming HERA and NORFACE calls 
Strand 4 – Enhancing the impact of Irish research internationally through knowledge exchange

Opens: Monday 19 September 2016
Closes: Friday 21 October 2016

Has two strands, a Starter Grant (15 months, for applicants who received their PhD 2-7 years ago, funding up to 100k), and an Interdisciplinary Grant (15 to 24 months, for applicants who received their PhD at least 2 years ago, fundingup to 220k, collaboration with STEM). 

The aim of the New Horizons Strand (1) Starter Grant is twofold:

- To allow promising early stage AHSS researchers to develop track record in basic and exploratory research in AHSS disciplines through a project grant award. 

- Provide seed funding for researchers interested in applying for an Horizon 2020 European Research Council grant in the medium term. 

The aim of the New Horizons Strand (2) Interdisciplinary Grant is twofold: 

- To encourage AHSS researchers to collaborate with STEM researchers on interdisciplinary projects that address societal challenges in the medium term under Horizon 2020. 

- To help AHSS researchers to form new connections and build on existing national and international networks to develop pilot studies, prepare preliminary findings and help establish consortia on upcoming topics across all Horizon 2020 Societal Challenges. 

Key Eligibility:

For both awards, the successful applicants will be academics who hold contracts of sufficient duration to carry out the proposed research at a recognised HEI or Research Performing Organisation in the Republic of Ireland. Recipients of Irish Research Council Research Development Initiative, Collaborative Research Project or Research Project Grant funding in 2012, 2013 or 2014 will be ineligible to apply for New Horizonsfunding. Successful New Horizons applicants cannot be in receipt of any other Council funding at the proposed start date, with the exception of New Foundations Travel & Networking grants. Please see documentation below for more detail regarding eligibility criteria. 

Opens: Monday 12 September 2016
Expression of interest due: 30th September 2016 at 4pm
Final deadline: Friday 28 October 2016

Individual research strands in partnership with Govt. departments or statutory agencies Open call for research addressing national societal challenges

The aim of this programme is to build partnerships with government departments and agencies in order to enable peer-reviewed research/initiatives to underpin policy decisions, and to assist cultural and societal development. 

Call opens: Monday 12 September 2016
Expression of interest due: Friday 30th September 4pm
Deadline: Friday 28 October 2016'

Call Opening: 25 August 2016
Call Closing: 13 October 2016

The HRB will be launching in late August a call for applications for the Investigator Led Projects (ILP) 2017.
The Health Research Board (HRB) Strategy 2016 – 2020: Research. Evidence. Action. highlights three areas of focus that the HRB will engage in over the next four years. The HRB Strategy, through Focus Area 1, aims to address major health challenges by supporting high-quality, investigator-led, internationally competitive
research. In line with its strategic objectives, the HRB now invites applications for its 2017 Investigator Led Projects (ILP).
The new ILP aims to support the creation of new knowledge that, over time, will help to address major health challenges in society and have an impact on tomorrow’s healthcare. Projects supported through the ILP scheme should be cutting-edge, add to the knowledge base internationally, and focus on important,
timely research questions where the answers are of interest to an international audience. 

Applications must be submitted under one of three remits:
(1) Patient-Oriented Research.
(2) Population Health Research.
(3) Health Services Research.
These should comprise clearly defined research projects with a duration of between 24 and 48 months and
to a maximum award value of €370,000 (inclusive of overheads).
* In order to be eligible to apply for funding, an Institution must be an approved HRB Host Institution no
later than two calendar months before the closing date of a call. 

The Lead Applicant must:
  Hold a post (permanent or a contract that covers the duration of the award) in a recognised research institution in the Republic of Ireland (the “Host Institution”) as an independent investigator, or 
 Be a contract researcher recognised by the Host institution as an independent investigator who will have a dedicated office and research space for the duration of award, for which he/she will be fully responsible, or
  Be an individual who will be recognised by the Host Institution upon receipt of the HRB ILP award as a contract researcher as defined above. The Lead applicant does not necessarily need to be employed by the Host Institution at the time of the application submission. 

The HRB will be launching in late September or early October 2016 a call for applications for the Emerging Investigators Award (EIA) 2017. The HRB has identified the training, career development and support of exceptional researchers, talent and leadership as one of the key enablers to deliver the main objectives of the HRB Strategy 2016-2020 Research. Evidence. Action. One of the actions identified in the HRB Health Research Careers programme of activities ( is to build capacity in new independent investigators. The main principles for the scheme have been approved by the HRB Board in early July and can be found below. The full call document will be available once the call is launched. Please note the call is still at developmental stage and details will be finalised over the summer What is the timeline for applications to the first call? Call Opening: Late September/Early October 2016 Call Closing: Early/Mid-December 2016

A Lead Applicant will be expected to have:
 o a PhD or equivalent experience (at least 4 years full-time research experience)
 o a minimum of 3 years active postdoctoral experience if the Lead Applicant is a health-related researcher typically engaged in full time academic activities, who is generally at progression stage (or in exceptional cases at the end of consolidation stage) in the HRB career path in health research (Figure 2) Or
 o at least 3 years research and relevant professional experience if the Lead Applicant is a healthcare professional who is currently engaged in practice-based activities and/or other healthrelated professional roles. Applicants must also be able to demonstrate a satisfactory level of post-PhD research experience as shown by their track record in contribution to scientific knowledge.

 The Lead Applicant must not: 
o have received as principal investigator any previous substantial research grant funding with a value equal or above €100K. Individuals previously in receipt of HRB or other personal awards, such as fellowships or other career development awards, are eligible to apply. 
o have already established a research team and currently supervising earlier stage researchers. o hold a permanent faculty position at the time of the application.

Cycle 2 Call closes: 1 September 2016 @ 1pm

The HRB now wish to open a competitive call for the HRB Applied Partnership Awards.  The overarching aim of the Applied Partnership Awards is to support high quality applied research projects where academic researchers and knowledge users come together in a collaboration to focus on themes/questions which are determined by the documented needs of the Irish health and social care system.

Aligned with the objectives set out in the HRB Strategy, this scheme will support high quality research proposals in clinical and/or population health practice and/or for health services management that are relevant to health priorities in Ireland. The awards will provide support for applied research proposals of between 12-24 months duration and where the findings from the research will have a direct impact on the decision making of the knowledge user’s organisation/s. The proposed research should be explicitly linked to the documented evidence needs of the knowledge user organisation/s and it must be clear from the application how the knowledge user/s is integrated throughout the research process. The question/s must be able to be answered by the research partnership and the application should include a clear and concise knowledge translation plan that will highlight how the research findings will be applied by the knowledge user organization/s.

For applications to be eligible in this scheme a co-funding commitment is required from the knowledge user organisation/s.  The level of the co-funding commitment must be at least equivalent to a minimum of 20% of the total award grant requested from the HRB  and the co-funding counted for this purpose must reflect a cash contribution only (higher and/or additional in-kind contributions are encouraged and welcome).

Who should apply?

Applications should be made on behalf of a team which is made up of researchers and knowledge users. The applicant team should designate a Lead Applicant from the research team, and a Lead Applicant from the Knowledge User team. While we acknowledge that there are many individuals in Knowledge User organisations that are also experienced researchers, it is important in this scheme that there are two distinct Lead Applicants.

Submission and Deadline:

Rolling Call:

These awards will be issued under a rolling call.  The call will open on March 16 2016 and applications can be submitted at any time throughout the year until September 2016.  To date the HRB has not issued a rolling call, however given the need for this initiative to be timely and responsive to knowledge users’ needs we will pilot this as a rolling call in 2016.  Applications can be made at any time following the start date in March 2016 and there will be two distinct cycles for peer-review (as below).  This is to allow researchers and partner organisations to develop timely collaborations, yet have the flexibility to submit to either the first or the second peer review cycle. 

Peer review cycle 1 – June – August 2016

Peer review cycle 2 – October – December 2016 

All applications must be made online using the HRB GEMS.

A 15-minute webinar about the call is available at this link:

Slides from the webinar are available in the 'Related Documents' section below.

Prior to final submission to the HRB, all applications must first be reviewed and approved within GEMS by the signatory approver at the research office (or equivalent) at the Host Institution (see Appendix II of Guidance Notes). It is critical therefore that Lead Applicants leave sufficient time in the process for the Research Office (or equivalent) in their nominated Host Institution to review, seek clarifications and approve applications prior to the final submission date. This may involve being aware of and complying with any internal Host Institution deadlines for review and approval, distinct from the HRB deadline.

Opening Date:
5 June 2014
Closing Date:
29 November 2016
This is a rolling call for proposals in the Health thematic area.

The US-Ireland Research and Development Partnership is a unique initiative involving funding agencies across three jurisdictions: United States of America, Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. The overall goal of this scheme is to increase the level of collaborative R&D amongst researchers and industry professionals across the three jurisdictions. The collaboration aims to generate valuable discoveries and innovation which are transferable to the marketplace, or will lead to enhancements in health, disease prevention and healthcare. The Partnership achieves its goals through tri-partite research projects in which the funding agencies fund the elements of research undertaken in their own jurisdiction. Importantly, the Partnership must add significant value to each research programme above that achievable by the PI in each jurisdiction working alone, supported only by national funding.

Partners Agencies
The Partners are the bodies in each jurisdiction that have agreed to provide research funding depending on the thematic research area. For health-related applications, these include the following:

In the US the partner agency is the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The NIH consists of multiple agencies which offer a number of calls for proposals.
In the Republic of Ireland (RoI) the partner agencies are Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) and the Health Research Board (HRB).
In Northern Ireland (NI) the partner agencies are the Health & Social Care R&D Division (HSC R&D).
This is a rolling call and currently there is no closing date.

How to apply
The US-Ireland R&D Partnership proposal must have a minimum of one Principal Investigator (PI) from each of the three jurisdictions and significant research participation by all three jurisdictions.

The PI from each jurisdiction must undergo pre-eligibility approval from their respective funding agencies. The pre-eligibility process for all RoI-based applicants will be dealt with by SFI, who will consult with the HRB as appropriate. Please refer to Section 5 of the Call for Submission of Tri-Partite Proposals to the National Health Institute for details on this procedure. Please see Appendix I for more details on the remits of Patient-oriented (please note recent changes on this remit), Health Service and Population Health Research which are eligible for funding by the HRB.

Please note that the 'Call for Submission of Tri-Partite Proposals to the National Health Institute' is currently under review.

The PIs from each jurisdiction will write a joint 'tri-partite' proposal in the RO1 format required by NIH.  It is the responsibility of the US investigator to submit the tri-partite proposal to the NIH for review. 

The NI and RoI funding agencies have their own specific funding streams available for researchers in NI and RoI applying to the US-Ireland R&D Partnership programme. 
In the Republic of Ireland applicants can apply to SFI or HRB only or to both agencies depending on the remit of the research proposal. If applying to both agencies the funding can overlap or run consecutively. More details on HRB eligible costs are in Appendix II.

Submission and Deadline
Submission of pre-eligibility applications and tri-partite proposals must be done to USIreland(at)

DEADLINE for Pre-Eligibility Approval is 12 weeks in advance of NIH deadline
DEADLINE for Draft Tri-Partite Proposal Submission is 6 weeks in advance of NIH deadline.

The aim of the Commercialisation Fund Programme is to improve the competitiveness of the Irish economy through the creation of technology based start-up companies and the transfer of innovations developed in Higher Education Institutes and Research Performing Organisations to industry in Ireland. 

The programme will fund the development of innovations at all stages of the commercial pipeline to the point where they can be commercialised as new products, services and companies.

Commercialisation Fund Project Support is available for projects that address a gap or need in the market by developing innovations that will ideally be ready for licensing to Irish industry or may form the basis of a new start-up in 2-5 years. It is recognised however that some innovations may need a longer time to get to market than others.

Funding is also available in the form of a Commercial Case Feasibility Grant to investigate, scope and develop a commercial case for your innovation in advance of submitting a Commercialisation Fund support application to the programme.

European Research Council Funding 

Starting Grant (ERC-2017-STG) opened 26 July 2016. Deadline:18 October 2016.

The Principal Investigator shall have been awarded his/her first PhD ≥ 2 and ≤ 7 years prior to 1 January 2017 Cut-off dates: PhD from 1 January 2010 to 1 January 2015 (inclusive). 

A competitive Starting Grant Principal Investigator must have already shown the potential for research independence and evidence of maturity, for example by having produced at least one important publication as main author or without the participation of their PhD supervisor. 

Starting Grants can be up to a maximum of EUR 1 500 000 for a period of 5 years (pro rata for projects of shorter duration). 

Consolidator Grant (ERC-2017-CoG) opens 20 Oct 2016. Deadline: 9 Feb 2017.

The Principal Investigator shall have been awarded his/her first PhD > 7 and ≤ 12 years prior to 1 January 2017 Cut-off dates: PhD awarded from 1 January 2005 to 31 December 2009 (inclusive) 

A competitive Consolidator Grant Principal Investigator must have already shown research independence and evidence of maturity, for example by having produced several important publications as main author or without the participation of their PhD supervisor.

Consolidator Grants can be up to a maximum of EUR 2 000 000 for a period of 5 years (pro rata for projects of shorter duration).

Eligibility: any nationality, any age. Applicants must be leaders in their respective field(s) of research and must demonstrate significant achievement in the last 10 years
Location: research must be conducted in a public or private research organisation(known as a Host Institution/HI). It could be the HI where the applicant already works, or any other HI located in one of the EU Member States or Associated Countries
Funding: up to € 2.5 million per grant 
Duration: up to 5 years
Sole evaluation criterion: scientific excellence of researcher and research proposal
Calls for proposals: published once a year 

Opens: 16 May 2017
Closes: 31 Aug 2017

Marie Sklodowska Curie Actions

There are two types of Individual Fellowships:

1. European Fellowships

Held in the EU or associated countriespdf Choose translations of the previous link.
Open to researchers either coming to Europe or moving within Europe.
Can help to restart research careers after a break such as parental leave.
Can also help reintegrate researchers coming back to Europe.

2. Global Fellowships

Fund secondments outside Europe for researchers based in the EU or associated countriespdf Choose translations of the previous link.
There is a mandatory one-year return period.
European and Global Fellowships can also include a secondment period of up to 3 or 6 months in another organisation in Europe, where this would boost the impact of the fellowship.

Only experienced researchers can apply. This means you will have your doctoral degree or at least four years’ full-time research experience by the time of the call deadline.

The grant provides an allowance to cover your living, travel and family costs. The grant is awarded to your host organisation, usually a university, research centre or a company in Europe. The research costs and overheads of the host organisation(s) are also supported.

European Fellowships last from one to two years, Global Fellowships from two to three years.

2016 scheme closes: 14 September 2016

2017 scheme: 

Opens: 11 April 2017
Closes: 14 September 2017

COST is the longest-running European framework supporting trans-national cooperation among researchers, engineers and scholars across Europe.   Based on a European intergovernmental framework for cooperation in science and technology, COST has been contributing - since its creation in 1971 - to closing the gap between science, policy makers and society throughout Europe and beyond. As a precursor of advanced multidisciplinary research, COST plays a very important role in building a European Research Area (ERA).

It anticipates and complements the activities of the EU Framework Programmes, constituting a “bridge” towards the scientific communities of COST Inclusiveness Target Countries. It also increases the mobility of researchers across Europe and fosters the establishment of scientific excellence.

You can submit your COST Action proposal at any time throughout the year via the new e-COST online submission tool. 
The next Collection Date is tentatively set for 1 December 2016, at 12:00 CET. 

COST invites proposals for Actions contributing to the scientific, technological, economic, cultural or societal knowledge advancement and development of Europe. 

The  new Action Proposal Submission, Evaluation, Selection and Approval (SESA) procedure  is fully science and technology-driven and will ensure a simple, transparent and competitive proposal evaluation and selection process, in line with the bottom-up, open and inclusive principles of COST.

Researchers benefit from a one-stage submission. The proposal requires filling in several sections via the new e-COST online submission tool as well as the  Technical Annex of up to 15 pages, uploaded via the same tool.