Human Behaviour-Change Project       


Human Behaviour-Change Project - overview

 IBM Research - Ireland Lab collaborates on Wellcome Trust Funded Human Behaviour-Change Project

Human Behaviour Change

The Human Behaviour-Change Project (HBCP) is a collaboration between behavioural scientists, computer scientists and system architects that aims to revolutionise methods for synthesising evidence in real time and generate new insights on behaviour change. IBM Research - Ireland joins University College London, the University of Cambridge and the University of Aberdeen in this 4 year project funded by the Wellcome Trust (an independent global charitable foundation dedicated to improving health).
The project will build an AI system to continually scan the rapidly growing corpus on human behaviour change interventions, extract key information and use this to build and advance our understanding of human behaviour to answer the big question: ” What works, compared with what, how well, with what exposure, with what behaviours (for how long), for whom, in what settings and why?” This technology will assist researchers and practitioners in the field while informing public policy decisions. It will create an up-to-date knowledge base to help design effective interventions tailored to particular populations, settings and behaviours.
Researchers will harness cutting edge methodologies to build:

  • A Behaviour Change Intervention Ontology for structuring key information from behaviour change intervention research reports
  • A Natural Language Processing system to find and extract that information, starting with the ‘use case’ of smoking cessation, and then focusing on other behaviours of key importance to health and wellbeing
  • Machine Learning and Reasoning Systems that integrate and extrapolate from that information to generate new knowledge and hypotheses about behaviour change
  • A User Interface that enables users query the system for answers to specific questions about behaviour change interventions

The project aims to revolutionise the way evidence around behaviour change interventions is synthesised and applied to advance understanding of human behaviours and behaviour change with the potential for significant impact on human health and wellbeing.
For more information visit:

Human Behaviour-Change Project Partners

Project Partners

IBM Research - Ireland joins University College London, the University of Cambridge and the University of Aberdeen in this 4 year project funded by the Wellcome Trust

Diagram - Top Level of Behaviour Change Intervention Ontology


The Project

Behavioural scientists will develop an "ontology" of behaviour change interventions that will organise fragmented knowledge in scientific literature into a form that enables efficient accumulation of knowledge.

Computer scientists will build an artificial intelligence system, trained by behavioural scientists, to apply Natural Language Processing to extract relevant information from scientific reports and to organise that information into the Ontology using reasoning and machine learning.

System architects will build and evaluate a user interface to interact with the AI system to enable users to readily access the breadth and depth of up-to-date evidence, and get answers to their questions.