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What we do

Who we are


The Lab is an exciting new venture that was founded in Summer 2022, bringing together expertise in intervention, evaluation and youth violence.



The Lab is funded by Stuart Roden and the Youth Endowment Fund and is being incubated at the Behavioural Insights Team.

How we want to help

Our vision is that all children and young people are protected from involvement in violence.

Involvement in crime and violence has a devastating effect on the lives of children, their communities and wider society.

Our mission is to catalyse a step change in understanding and tackling youth violence.

To tackle this problem, we need to know which services have the most impact. We can learn this through evaluation.

Yet most interventions do not undergo rigorous evaluation to establish their effectiveness.

The UK evidence base on the most effective approaches to supporting children at risk of becoming involved in crime and violence is limited.

The Lab will work with partners in the sector to address gaps in the evidence and ensure that we are providing effective services to vulnerable children.

There are a lot of organisations focused on youth crime and violence, and several that specialise in research, such as the Youth Endowment Fund.

The Youth Endowment Fund (YEF) is the UK’s What Works Centre for preventing and reducing youth violence. Their work involves funding the delivery and evaluation of youth violence interventions (by evaluation, we mean testing to see if the service actually has an effect on things like young people’s behaviour and offending) and mobilising the knowledge from those evaluations to make change happen.

Like YEF, we identify promising projects which seek to address youth violence and fund the development and delivery of those projects.  We then conduct research to assess how delivery has gone.

However, our focus is early-stage testing, to support the work of funders of big trials.

Instead of focusing on testing if services are effective, the Lab will work with services before organisations like YEF evaluate them.  Before you test effectiveness in large scale evaluation, it’s important to make sure it’s possible to deliver the service well (and to enough people), and that it’s possible to collect the right data (we call this early stage testing).  The Lab focuses on answering these questions and supporting the development of services.

Our main activities

We will focus on the development and early stage testing of interventions, building a pipeline of high-quality, UK-based interventions which are ready for – and committed to – rigorous impact evaluation.  We will do this by:

Adapting and importing interventions from overseas – We will identify approaches with strong evidence of improving youth violence outcomes or related upstream factors in other countries, adapt these to the UK context, and deliver early-stage testing.


Working with UK organisations – We will work with the sector to find interventions at home that have strong theoretical underpinnings and are committed to evaluation, and oversee the development and early-stage testing needed to get them trial ready.


Co-designing new approaches – We will build partnerships and fund the development of novel approaches to tackling youth violence, with a focus on addressing underserved populations and unmet needs.