Conference and Pre-Conference Speakers/Conveners

Pre-Conference Workshops, 21st October 2015

See the following link for details of the workshops:

Workshop Details

Conference, 22nd – 24th October 2015

We are very pleased to announce that the keynote speakers for the conference are:

  • Hugo Harper, Behavioural Insights Team (UK) – Automatic behaviour change in public policy and health
  • Dr Esther K. Papies, Institute of Neuroscience and Psychology and School of Psychology, University of Glasgow (UK); Dept. of Psychology, Utrecht University (ND) – Health goal priming, Or: How to benefit from nonconscious motivational routes to health behavior
  • Prof Reinout W. Wiers, University of Amsterdam (ND) – Assessing and Changing Implicit Cognitive Processes in Addiction: Implications for Prevention
  • Dr Nick Axford, Dartington Social Research Unit, UK – Are evidence-based programmes dead?
  • Prof Paul van Soomeren, DSP-groep (ND) – Crime Prevention through Environmental Design: lessons learned
  • Prim Dr Polonca Truden Dobrin, National Institute of Public Health of the Republic of Slovenia (SI) – Towards Better Health and Reducing Inequalities in Health – Changing the preventive health care for children and adolescents in Slovenia


Plenary Session 1.1 – Hugo Harper

Hugo is a Senior Advisor in the UK’s Behavioural Insights Team with a focus on Public Health Policy. As well as working closely with the Department of Health and Public Health England in the UK he has spent time in both Singapore and Australia developing the adoption of a more behavioural approach to policy design. Hugo holds an MSc, with distinction, in Behavioural and Economic Sciences from the University of Warwick, as well as a BA in Psychology and Physiology from Oxford University.

Hugo Harper Abstract

Plenary Session 1.2 – Dr Esther K. Papies

Institute of Neuroscience and Psychology and School of Psychology, University of Glasgow, (UK); Dept. of Psychology, Utrecht University, (ND)

Esther K. Papies is a social cognitive psychologist studying the processes underlying the regulation of behavior and behavior change, especially in the domain of health. Her research uses mainly social cognition methods and focuses on the question of how behavior is regulated as a function of environmental cues and personal goals. Esther received her PhD in 2008 at Utrecht University, and was awarded with the Dissertation Award of the Dutch Association of Social Psychological Researchers, the Early Career Award (Jaspars Award) of the European Association for Social Psychology, and a VENI-grant from the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research. Esther worked as an Assistant and then as an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology at Utrecht University, before joining the University of Glasgow in 2015.

Esther’s current research further develops our understanding of nonconscious processes in self-regulation. She studies how simulating earlier rewarding experiences contributes to desire, and to failures of self-regulation. She is developing tools to prevent unhealthy environmental influences on desire and behavior, such as the portion size effect. Finally, she integrates insights from contemplative science to develop mindfulness approaches for dealing with desire. Esther has published widely on all these topics, see for downloading selected publications.

Esther Papies Abstract

Scientific Round Table – Prof. Dr. Reinout W. Wiers

Reinout Wiers is Professor of Developmental Psychology & Faculty Professor of Social Sciences, University of Amsterdam. His research focuses on better understanding the (neuro-) cognitive processes involved in the aetiology of addiction and related disorders and to use this knowledge to develop new interventions. Professor Wiers has published over 200 papers and chapters on this topic (google scholar link) and together with colleagues has developed the alcohol-related approach avoidance task (AAT) as a novel measure of automatic, implicit appetitive tendencies toward alcohol (Wiers et al, 2009). Based on the AAT, Prof Wiers has developed automatic action tendency retraining as an intervention designed to decrease alcohol consumption in students (Wiers et al., 2010), and increase abstinence in alcoholic patients (Wiers et al., 2011; Eberl et al., 2013). This work has also been recently extended into web-based interventions (Wiers et al., 2015). Reinout co-edited the Handbook of Implicit Cognition and Addiction (SAGE, 2006) and is senior editor of the prime journal on substance abuse (Addiction) and serves on the editorial board of several other addiction journals. Further information on Prof Wiers’ work can be found at:

Reinout Wiers Abstract

Plenary Session 2.1 – Dr Nick Axford

Nick is a Senior Researcher and Head of What Works at the Dartington Social Research Unit. He
leads a team that focuses on identifying effective interventions to improve child well-being through a
combination of evidence reviews and evaluations (mostly randomised controlled trials).

Nick joined DSRU in 1997. He has been Co-Editor of the Journal of Children’s Services since 2006 and
is a member of the Early Intervention Foundation Evidence Panel and an Advisor to the Board of the
European Society for Prevention Research.

He holds a BA (Hons) in Geography with European Study, an MSc in European Social Policy Analysis,
and a PhD in Social Work and Probation Studies. Nick is a recipient, with Tim Hobbs, of the Kamerman
and Khan Award from the International Society of Child Indicators.

Dr Nick Axford Abstract

Plenary Session 2.2 – Prof Paul van Soomeren

Paul van Soomeren (1952) is one of the founders and CEO of the Amsterdam based research and consultant bureau DSP-groep which has a staff of about 50 academically qualified people. Paul van Soomeren works as management consultant and policy researcher for national and international governments and institutions.

He is director of the board of the International CPTED Association (crime prevention through environmental design; and the European as well as the Dutch Designing Out Crime Association. In that capacity he travels all over the world to lecture on these subjects.

Areas of expertise include urban planning and design, crime prevention, safety/security, education, social management and welfare/health issues mainly on the neighbourhood level . For several years Paul has chaired the CEN/TC325 working group which designed the first general standard on the prevention of crime and feelings of urban insecurity by urban design and planning (CEN standards in the series 14383). Paul is member of the Management Committee of the EU COST action TU 1203 on crime prevention through urban design and planning ( and he is visiting professor of the Adelphi Research Institute of the University of Salford (UK, Greater Manchester).

Paul studied Social Geography, and Urban and Regional Planning at the University of Amsterdam. He worked for the Dutch Ministries of Justice and Interior Affairs (National Crime Prevention Institute) for three years before he founded DSP-groep in 1984.

Paul van Soomeren Abstract

Plenary Session 3 – Prim Dr Polonca Truden Dobrin

Prim. Dr. Polonca Truden Dobrin is a medical doctor, specialist in epidemiology and public health at the National Institute of Public Health. She obtained her Master of Science in Epidemiology at London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Her main areas of work:  Activities related to child public health in particular to preventive health care services, health services research, population health monitoring, methodology of health and health care statistics, development of routine data sources, analyses and reporting of health and health care data. Supervision of medical doctors on specialisation in public health and teaching responsibilities in specialisation programme in public health and paediatrics. Preparation of project proposals, collaboration in projects financed by DG Sanco, DG Research and Norwegian Financial Mechanism.

Currently she is involved in planning and coordination of health activities, projects and policies. She is leading the working group on preventive programme for children and adolescents in Slovenia including screenings and health checks and promoting settings-based approaches to health improvement. The group have conducted comprehensive health needs assessment to inform changes in preventive care and workforce development.

She is a member of the EVIPNet working group for Slovenia. She has participated in the situation analysis and is currently involved in the preparation of evidence brief for policy on primary health care development and financing.

She is a country agent for MOCHA project on comparison and appraisal of existing national models of primary care for children in European countries, bringing together multi-disciplinary and multi-stakeholder views, to identify and promote the most effective approaches to prevention, primary care and equity of access.

She is a member of the national coordination group for the Diabetes control strategy and action plan.
She participated in the estimation of diabetes type II cases in Slovenia using routine data system on drug prescription.

Prim. Dr. Truden Dobrin was previously the head of Centre for Population Health Research. She was involved in monitoring inequalities in health and led the group that published on inequalities. Their work led to many initiatives and projects in this important area.

Polonca Truden Dobrin Abstract