Choice architecture: nudging food choice behaviour


Contact Dr Hannah Ensaff to discuss this project further informally.

Project description

Choice architecture, the presentation and framing of a choice and its influence on subsequent decision-making behaviour, is well established. Within public health, there is growing impetus behind using choice architecture to ‘nudge’ behaviour, thereby avoiding strong-armed regulation. Ultimately, appropriate interventions that emphasise the role of nudge strategies and shift individuals’ food choice behaviour towards better choices will reap benefits in terms of the population’s health and wellbeing. The role of choice architecture in promoting better food choice shows promise. However further research is needed, e.g. in understanding unintended consequences and the relative effectiveness of different nudge strategies.

This PhD will focus on food choice architecture (all aspects of how a food choice is framed, including the relative availability, positioning and presentation) and will investigate nudge strategies to shift food choice and dietary patterns. The work will examine nudge theory and its potential to influence subsequent food selections, through the development of a theory driven public health intervention in a real world setting.

The research will adopt a mixed methods approach, and the quantitative element will entail the development and subsequent statistical analysis of large datasets of food choice. The qualitative element will comprise data collection (observation, interviews and focus group discussions) and qualitative analysis to explore food choice parameters, and individuals’ perceptions and perspectives on being nudged.

Entry requirements

Applications are invited from candidates with or expecting a minimum of a UK upper second class honours degree (2:1), and/or a Master's degree in a relevant science subject such as nutrition, dietetics, psychology or another related discipline with a keen interest in nutrition and applying mixed methods in interdisciplinary research.

Applicants should have excellent interpersonal skills. Experience in quantitative data analysis would be advantageous although this is not essential. If English is not your first language, you must provide evidence that you meet the University's minimum English Language requirements.

How to apply

Formal applications for research degree study should be made online through the university's website. Please state clearly in the research information section that the PhD you wish to be considered for is 'Choice architecture: nudging food choice behaviour' as well as Dr Hannah Ensaff as your proposed supervisor.
We welcome scholarship applications from all suitably-qualified candidates, but UK black and minority ethnic (BME) researchers are currently under-represented in our Postgraduate Research community, and we would therefore particularly encourage applications from UK BME candidates. All scholarships will be awarded on the basis of merit.

If you require any further information please contact the Graduate School Office e: