Research

System 2 established the Centre for Behavioural and System Change to undertake research that supports our mission.

DISCOVER MORE

As an Approved Research Institute with Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR) status, we are recognised as an organisation undertaking scientific research which is, or may prove to be, of value to Australia. The work undertaken by the Centre is overseen by our Research Committee.

The nature and purpose of our research is the application of behavioural science to advance knowledge of deep persistent complex social problems, and what works to improve life outcomes. Our research seeks to improve policy and practices in areas such as early childhood programs and services, mental health services for adolescents, and education, employment and training for emerging adults.

Our research is underpinned by a Behavioural Insights (BI) approach. BI refers to the practical application of concepts from the behavioural sciences, which consists of a range of disciplines such as psychology, behavioural economics and sociology. Behavioural science has consistently shown that our behaviours are often not the result of ‘slow’ deliberative thinking. Instead, most everyday decisions are influenced by ‘fast’ mental shortcuts, which bias behaviour in ways that can lead us astray in certain contexts.

Accordingly, the BI approach involves applying findings from behavioural science to develop and test evidence-based solutions that create better alignment between behaviours and the contexts within which they are performed. This can include redesigning elements of a system to better capitalise on behavioural enablers and minimise behavioural barriers so that systems better serve their users. Such system redesign can help to increase the uptake of adaptive but uncommon behaviours or to create more favourable consequences for behaviours that are already common.

Our inaugural project, funded by the Paul Ramsay Foundation, was to reimagine the employment services system. The project’s purpose was to research the challenges and opportunities within employment services to inform the design of solutions to reimagine the system. The aim was to collaborate with a range of stakeholders and to engage in deep co-design with individuals with lived expertise when developing ambitious, system-level solutions.

The project was initially focused on understanding the unique needs of young people not in education, employment or training and parents in households with dependents under the age of 15 where no persons are employed. However, the proposed solutions also have the potential to positively impact all job seekers with complex needs, including individuals who are long-term unemployed or who have complex barriers to employment.

In March 2024, we hosted a Webinar summarising the project, a recording of which can be viewed here. Our detailed reports summarising each of the three phases of the research can be viewed here:
1) Rapid Evidence Review
2) Explore
3) Solution prototypes and implementation plans

Our Research Committee

The work undertaken by the Centre for Behavioural and System Change is overseen by our distinguished Research Committee.

Dr. Robyn Mildon

Robyn Mildon, PhD, is an internationally recognised figure in the field of research translation and implementation science and program and policy evaluations in health, education and human services. She is the Founding Chief Executive Officer of the Centre for Evidence and Implementation (CEI), a global social purpose organisation whose work now spans across 8 countries. She is an Adjunct Associate Professor at Monash University, a Visiting Professor at the Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore, Co-Director of the recently established Behavioural and Implementation Science Interventions (BISI), National University of Singapore, and Chair of the Evidence and Implementation Summit 2023.

Dr. Jenny Donovan

Dr Jenny Donovan is the CEO of the Australian Education Research Organisation. Prior to this role, she established and led the Centre for Education Statistics and Evaluation (CESE) as Executive Director for 8 years.

Dr Donovan began her career as a high school teacher in Sydney’s western suburbs. She has worked in a number of education roles in operational and policy areas, including some years as Deputy Director of a not-for-profit education assessment agency at the University of New South Wales. She was Managing Director of the National Learning Progressions and Online Formative Assessment Initiative; a national priority project for Australian education ministers.

She holds a Bachelor of Arts with a Diploma of Education from Macquarie University, MA (Hons) from UNSW and a PhD in history from the University of Sydney.

Professor
Amanda Third

Professor Amanda Third (PhD) is Professorial Research Fellow in the Institute for Culture & Society; Co-Director of the Young and Resilient Research Centre, Western Sydney University; and Faculty Associate in the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society at Harvard. An international expert in youth-centred, participatory research, Amanda’s work investigates how children’s and young people’s digital practices intersect with and impact the key dimensions of their everyday lives. She has led projects in over 70 countries, with partners across corporate, government and not-for-profit sectors and is an advisor to governments, private enterprise and NGOs internationally.

Professor
Nicholas Biddle

Professor Nicholas Biddle is Deputy Director of POLIS@ANU: The Centre for Social Policy Research, and Director of the Centre for Methods, Analytics, Data, and Evaluation (MADE@ANU). He has a Bachelor of Economics (Hons.) from the University of Sydney and a Master of Education from Monash University. He also has a PhD in Public Policy from the ANU where he wrote his thesis on the benefits of and participation in education of Indigenous Australians. He is a Fellow of the Tax and Transfer Policy Institute and previously Assistant Director in the Methodology Division of the ABS.

Dr. Alex Gyani

Alex is the Managing Director of the Behavioural Insights Team’s Asia Pacific team. Since joining the team in 2012, he has worked in a diverse set of fields from antimicrobial resistance, domestic violence, mental health, energy usage, health system efficiency, financial regulation, employment services to education. His PhD focused on encouraging therapists to use evidence-based treatments and patients to seek them. In October 2012, he developed an mHealth app which became the top free health app in the Apple Store. In 2018, he was named one of Apolitical’s 100 Future Government Leaders. He holds a research fellowship at the University of Melbourne.

Professor Robert
Slonim

Professor Slonim’s research expertise is in Economics, Behavioural Economics and Policy. He received his PhD from Duke University, was a Postdoctoral Fellow with Nobel Laureate Professor Roth and held academic appointments at CWRU, USyd and UTS. He’s published extensively in leading academic journals and received prestigious grants including multiple NSF and ARC grants. He co-founded and edited the Journal of the Economic Science Association (2015-2020) and is an Associate Editor at Management Science (2021-Present). He was the Behavioural Economics Team of Australia’s (2016-2017) Research Director (within PM&C), serves on multiple public and private advisory boards, was appointed to assess DWAR’s Farm Household Allowance program and has provided multiple Expert Witness reports for several agencies including the ACCC and NZCC.