Policy Research Group (PRG)


The Policy Research Group has one simple view: appropriate use of evidence in policies will benefit population outcomes.

To demonstrate this, the team works on a series of projects across many domains of interest to psychologists, policymakers, and industry. In each case, they look for the best way to carry out high quality research that retains real-life value. As work is carried out, PRG constantly aims to translate insights into meaningful outputs, engaging with stakeholders and champions throughout. The ultimate goal within PRG is to generate relevant evidence for decision-making, whether informing leaders about complex challenges or simply engaging individuals with research outcomes in a way that speaks to the widest possible audience. In reaching for this goal, the research group hopes to offer improved outcomes for populations, particularly regarding their security, economic stability, and well-being.

The PRG is a small team of researchers and affiliates within the CBR that are focused specifically on behavioural insights in policy, particularly in linking experimental methods to real-world applications. Our primary contribution in CBR is through the GCRF Research for Health in Conflict (R4HC-MENA) project, with a handful of additional projects related to behaviour and decision-making.


Dr Kai Ruggeri

Director, Policy Research Group

Dr Kai Ruggeri is Assistant Professor in Health Policy at Columbia University and a Senior Fellow at the University of Cambridge where he founded the Policy Research Group (PRG). He completed his PhD at Queen’s University, Belfast, focusing on statistical methods in social sciences. He is also Director of the Junior Researcher Programme in psychology, plus holds a visiting professorship in economics at the HEC Paris (Qatar). His work is on behavioural and economic policies that consider health and well-being as primary outcomes of interest. He is a Fellow of Psychological and Behavioural Sciences at Corpus Christi College.

[email protected]

Dr Tomas Folke

Research Fellow, Policy Research Group

Dr Tomas Folke recently completed his PhD on the role of subjective confidence in human decision making. He holds an undergraduate degree in Psychology from the University of York and an MSc in Social and Developmental Psychology from the University of Cambridge. He is working half time for the international NGO Ground Truth Solutions, to make humanitarian aid interventions more responsive to affected populations. He is interested in how statistical modelling can be used to improve real world outcomes.

[email protected]


Insights for impact report

From 2016 to 2018, in partnership with the Junior Researcher Programme, the Policy Research Group produced an annual report highlighting where psychological research is, or may soon be, making an impact on policy. With over 30 early-career researchers involved in producing each compilation, Insights for Impact presents a selection of recent research alongside PRG tools used for assessing evidence in policy applications. The aim is to engage a wide audience on the potential for applications across diverse populations. Following the publication of the textbook Behavioral Insights for public policy: concepts and cases, the last insights report was completed in 2018.

Quality assessment of selected insights

Please note that studies included in this report are not necessarily endorsed by the PRG or any contributors to the work. They are intended for the purposes of generating discussion in the field. PRG recognises some topics may be highly sensitive and in some instances, results highly debated. For this reason, they do not provide prescriptive applications of insights but rather on raising important questions related to their implications. As such, PRG acknowledges future work may show other findings or, indeed, refute extracted results here. In any case, these would still fall in line with the general purpose of the report, which is to illuminate insights for wider debate and consideration for possible applications. PRG makes no direct endorsement of any single study and remain steadfast in the view that the scientific community is currently the ultimate resource for robust evidence compilation prior to application. They invite peers of the academic community as well as policymakers to provide any such comments to that effect via ResearchGate.

More about the report

Watch the Instagram video by University of Cambridge (@cambridgeuniversity)

Access the reports

Download the 2018 Insights for Impact report on cases from Cambridge and around the world

Download the 2017 Insights for Impact report on cases from the Department of Psychology

Download the 2016 Insights for Impact report

For the inaugural version of the report from 2016, PRG provides both the full document plus extensive details about the process, underlying references, and additional material for further reading.

Policy Research Group projects

Though the PRG is relatively young, they have and continue to work on a diverse research portfolio. This involves basic scientific study, policy-driven research for government, and corporate partnerships linking evidence to decision-making that influence industries. Whether or not stated explicitly, all work from PRG aims to contribute to evidence-based policy.

Current projects

GCRF Research for Health in Conflict (R4HC-MENA)

Past projects

The impact of the economic crisis on mental health

Population attitudes toward the future of transportation

Design for sustainable change

Population behaviour, choice, and policy

Measuring well: a free online resource for well-being researchers

Developing guidelines for treatment policy in rare cancers: Part I | Part II | Part III

Closing the gap in mental health patient safety

Mobile technology and mental health in an ageing population: Part I | Part II

Global Health Access Policy: WHO Report | Full project

Employment for single mothers: looking for options

What evidence-driven managers can learn from personality measurement (link to follow)

Policy Research Group publications

Ruggeri, K. (2019) “Behavioral insights for public policy: cases and concepts.” London and New York: Routledge.  

Verra, S., Benzerga, A., Jiao, B., & Ruggeri, K., (2019). “Health promotion at work: a comparison of policy and practice across Europe.” Safety and Health at Work.

Kácha, O., & Ruggeri, K. (2018). “Nudging intrinsic motivation in environmental risk and social policy.” Journal of Risk Research.

Ruggeri, K., Ivanovic, N., Razum, J., Kácha, O., Menezes, I., Zafari, Z., & Garcia-Garzon, E. (2018). “An evidence-based policy for improving choice in global health access through medical travel.” Health Policy, 122, 1372-1376. 

Huppert, F., & Ruggeri, K. (2018). “15. Policy challenges: Well-being as a priority in public mental health.” In D. Bhugra, K. Bhui, S. Wong, & S. Gilman (Eds.), Oxford Textbook of Public Mental Health. Oxford University Press.

Ruggeri, K., Kácha, O., Menezes, I., Kos, M., Franklin, M., Parma, L., Langdon, P., & Miles, J. (2018). “In with the new? Generational differences shape population technology adoption patterns in the age of self-driving vehicles.” Journal of Engineering and Technology Management.

Schmitz, S., Maguire, Á., Morris, J., Ruggeri, K., Haller, E., Kuhn, I., Leahy, J., Homer, N., Khan, A., Bowden, J., Buchanan, V., O’Dwyer, M., Cook, G., & Walsh, C. (2018). “The use of single armed observational data to closing the gap in otherwise disconnected evidence networks: a network meta-analysis in multiple myeloma.” BMC Medical Research Methodology, 18:66.

Ruggeri, K. (2017). “Psychology and policy.” Frontiers in Psychology, 8(497).

Ruggeri, K., Yoon, H., Kácha, O., van der Linden, S., & Muennig, P. (2017). “Policy and population behavior in the age of Big Data.” Current Opinion in Behavioral Science, 18, 1-6.  

Farver-Vestergaard, I., & Ruggeri, K. (2017). “Setting National Policy Agendas in Light of the Denmark Results for Well-being.” JAMA Psychiatry, 74(8). 

Ruggeri, K. (2017). Invited comment on “New statistics for old? Measuring the wellbeing of the UK” by Paul Allin and David Hand. Journal of the Royal Statistical Society, Series A.

Garcia-Garzon, E., Zhukovsky, P., Haller, E., Plakolm, S., Fink, D., Petrova, D., Mahalingam, V., Menezes, I.G. & Ruggeri, K. (2016). “Multilevel Modeling and Policy Development: Guidelines and Applications to Medical Travel“. Frontiers in Psychology. 7:752.

Maguire, Á, Verra, S.E., Bussmann, S., Meier zu Köcker, C., Giurgi, A.L., & Ruggeri, K. (2016). “Raising concern about the information provided on medical travel agency websites: A place for policy.Health Policy and Technology.

Anderson, J., Ruggeri, K., Steemers, K., & Huppert, F. (2016). “Lively social space, well-being activity and urban design: findings from a low-cost community-led public space intervention. Environment & Behavior.

Verra, S. E., Kroeze, R., & Ruggeri, K. (2016). “Facilitating a safe and successful medical travel process in the European Union“. Health Policy.

Ruggeri, K., Maguire, Á., Andrews, J. L., Martin, E., & Menon, S. (2016). “Are we there yet? Exploring the impact of translating cognitive tests for dementia using mobile technology in an ageing population.” Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience, 8.

Maguire, Á., Schmitz, S., Kuhn, I., Haller, E., Khan, A., Cook, G., O’Dwyer, M., Walsh, C., & Ruggeri, K. (2016). Updated results of a systematic review of the relative effectiveness of treatments in relapsed / refractory multiple myeloma. Haematologica, 100(s1).

Hinrichs-Krapels, S., Bussmann, S., Dobyns, C., Kácha, O., Ratzmann, N., Thorvaldsen, J. H., & Ruggeri, K. (2016). “Key considerations for an economic and legal framework facilitating medical travel.” Frontiers in Public Health, 4.

Kácha, O., Kovács, B. E., McCarthy, C., Schuurmans, A. A., Dobyns, C., Haller, E., Hinrichs-Krapels, S., & Ruggeri, K. (2016). “An approach to establishing international quality standards for medical travel.” Frontiers in Public Health, 4.

Záliš, Z., Maguire, Á., Soforic, K., & Ruggeri, K. (2016). “Global access to healthcare and well-being: A place for science and policy.” Frontiers in Public Health, Public Health Policy, 4(129).

Zhukovsky, P., Ruggeri, K., Garcia-Garzon, E., Plakolm, S., Haller, E., Petrova, D., Mahalingam, V. & Menezes, I. G. (2016). “Global health policy and access to care: Investigating patient choice on an international level using social media.” Frontiers in Public Health, 3, 284.

Ruggeri, K., Maguire, Á, Schmitz, S., Haller, E., Walsh, C., Bowden, J., Kuhn, I., Khan, A., Cook, G., & O’Dwyer, M. (2015). “Estimating the Relative Effectiveness of Treatments in Relapsed / Refractory Multiple Myeloma through a Systematic Review and Network Meta-Analysis.” Blood, 126(23).

Ruggeri, K., Zalis, L., Meurice, C., Hilton, I., Ly, T.L., Zupan, Z. & Hinrichs, S. (2015). “Evidence on global medical travel.Bulletin of the World Health Organization, 93(11).

Ruggeri, K., Andrews, J. L., Menon, S., Martin, E., & Maguire, Á. (2015). “Cognitive testing and mental health policies: Translation concerns with mobile technology.” In Proc: Society for Neuroscience. Chicago.

Cornish, K., Goodman-Deane, J., Ruggeri, K., & Clarkson, P. J. (2015). “Visual accessibility in graphic design: A client–designer communication failure.” Design Studies, 40, 176-195.

Ruggeri, K. (2014). “Disseminating Health Research in Sub-Saharan Africa: a global example for academics, journals and funders.” The Lancet Global Health, 2(4), e193-e194.

Farrington, C., Aristidou, A., & Ruggeri, K. (2014). “mHealth and global mental health: Still waiting for the mH2 wedding?” BMC Globalization and Health, 10(17).

Morrison, C., Walker, G., Ruggeri, K., & Hacker, J. (2014). “An implementation pilot of the MindBalance web-based intervention for depression in three IAPT services.” The Cognitive Behavioural Therapist, 7, e15, 1-22.

Ruggeri, K. & Bird, C. (2014). “Single parents and employment in Europe.” European Commission Directorate for Justice: RAND Corporation.

Ruggeri, K., & Wollner, P. (2014). “Transatlantic Health IT Policies: Are we missing opportunities for small businesses and health systems? Telemedicine and e-Health Journal, 20(6), 1-3.

Mills, M., Tsang, F., Präg, P, Ruggeri, K., Miani, C., & Hoorens, S. (2014). “Gender equality in the workforce: Reconciling work, private and family life in Europe.” European Commission Directorate for Justice: RAND Corporation.

Ruggeri, K., Farrington, C., & Brayne, C. (2013). “A Global Model for Effective Use and Evaluation of e-Learning in Health.” Telemedicine and e-Health, 19(4), 1-10.

For more information

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