Call for Proposals - Round 2, 2020 

Accelerating progress towards the SDGs through changing behaviours and attitudes

The Scottish Universities Insight Institute (SUII) is a joint venture of seven Higher Education Institutions (Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow School of Art, Heriot Watt, St Andrews and Strathclyde), which provides financial and logistical support to knowledge exchange projects aimed at improving policy and practice in Scotland and beyond. This is the third call for proposals related to accelerating progress towards the UN’s Global Goals (SDGs). It is focused on changing behaviours to achieve the Goals. SUII is being partnered by Zero Waste Scotland in this call. 


The Call 

If the SDGs are to be achieved many behaviours and attitudes are going to have to change. This will be at the heart of translating global goals into effective policy and practice. A fairer, healthier, zero carbon, more resilient world, focused on improved wellbeing and relying much less on non-renewable resources, will require changes in how we live, work and interact with each other. This will involve individuals, groups, businesses, industries and governments at all geographical levels.  

















The impact of Covid-19 may offer an opportunity to stimulate change, given the shock to the system, the way in which necessity has required new ways of doing things and as recovery plans are developed and implemented to ‘build back better’. However, while the pandemic provides important context, we are primarily interested in ways of eliciting and supporting change to help deliver the 2030 sustainable development agenda


Behavioural and attitudinal changes will manifest themselves in how private and public choices and decisions are made and implemented. This will have numerous dimensions, including:  


  • dealing with risk and uncertainty  

  • understanding conscious and unconscious influences on individuals 

  • mapping the interlinkages between different components of complex systems 

  • the resilience of systems and supporting infrastructure and how they influence attitudes and behaviours 

  • understanding what causes resistance to encouragement and/or direction from authorities to change behaviour and why change is opposed 

  • the role of social systems and norms in influencing behaviour and attitudes 

  • how behaviour change ideas are framed and who provides the encouragement to change 

  • paying more attention to preventing problems  

  • measuring what matters to provide information and feedback 

  • factoring in externalities and choosing discount rates 


Proposals are sought for projects involving a range of disciplines and stakeholders that explore the most effective and practical ways of influencing, stimulating and supporting behavioural and attitudinal change to accelerate achievement of the SDGs. Particular attention is invited to increasing understanding how knowledge exchange lessons from one activity or place may have wider applicability. 




Applications are invited from teams whose composition reflects the multi-discipline and multi-sector remit of the Institute. Applicants must include members from at least two SUII partner universities. Programme teams should include academics and policy makers and practitioners, ideally some non-academic partners should be involved in the development phase of a proposal to help ensure it is demand led. SUII programmes also offer the opportunity to draw on international expertise.