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  • 22nd May 2019

How to build cohesive societies

Launch of two new projects to translate academic research into real change

Cohesive societies, where people trust each other and feel a shared sense of identity, tend to be happier and wealthier. But we still don’t know enough about how to make societies more cohesive.

This week, as part of the government’s Integrated Communities Innovation Fund, we are announcing two new projects that will help to establish the evidence-base for building a more cohesive and integrated society.

In one project we are designing novel interventions to reduce prejudice and increase openness in secondary schools across the UK. We’re collaborating with leading academics in these fields, including Jonathan Haidt (NYU), Joshua Kalla (Yale), David Broockman (Stanford) and Eran Halperin (IDC Herzliya) to develop a new PSHE curriculum designed to be easily delivered by teachers and with potential to be scaled-up to other educational settings.

We are currently recruiting schools across the UK to start the trial in September, so if you’re interested in taking part please get in touch.

Find out more about the project

In our second project, we are working with ukactive to design light-touch interventions in summer camps to encourage young people from different backgrounds to spend more time together.

We think that setting-up competitions between mixed background teams and cohesion building exercises will promote overlapping identities and blur the concepts of in-group and out-group. As a result, we hope to reduce prejudice against people from different ethnic and religious backgrounds.

With these projects we are aiming to translate academic research from labs and other contexts into real-world interventions with the potential to make a huge differences to communities across the UK – and overseas.

We believe this approach will not only be effective in promoting integration and cohesion in the developed world, but could also be used as part of conflict resolution and peace-building.

We hope to have results from these initiatives in the first half of 2020. In the meantime, you can find out more about some of the ideas that we’re exploring in these projects in our report on Applying Behavioural Insights to Support Immigrant Integration and Social Cohesion.


Interested in getting involved with our upcoming schools trial?