Thorough knowledge of behavioural and social science processes and interventions during pandemics is vitally important to an effective response during any future outbreaks. This page presents information on what the RIVM Behavioural Unit plans to do in terms of systematically structuring knowledge about behavioural science for the purpose of preventing and controlling future pandemics. It also provides an overview of relevant resources on behavioural science and practical tools for pandemic preparedness for use in policy, actual practice and scientific research.

Contributing to effective pandemic control in the future by using behavioural science

The importance of behavioural research during a pandemic is widely acknowledged by the Dutch government, the Social Impact Team (MIT) advising the Cabinet, and the World Health Organization (WHO). In the context of pandemic preparedness, RIVM is working to strengthen behavioural science within its own organisation, in order to utilise this resource more effectively in future pandemics. In doing so, we look at lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic, shared by private citizens as well as key figures in Dutch society. RIVM researchers also learn from international comparative reviews about the structure, role and impact of behavioural science and related research during the COVID-19 crisis. This shows the importance of continuing to focus on a solid and current knowledge base, a national and international network of experts, and proper preparation for rapid scale-up of research and advice on behavioural science in the event of an outbreak.

Action plan for pandemic preparedness: Social and behavioural science