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Professor Liam Smith

Professor Liam Smith


Bridge-builder, true believer

Liam is Director and co-founder of BehaviourWorks Australia (BWA), one of Australia’s leading authorities on behaviour change.

Formerly Director of Monash University’s Tourism Research Unit, Liam holds a Bachelor of Science (Resource and Environmental Management) from the Australian National University, a Master of Ecotourism from James Cook University, a Master of Philosophy and PhD from Monash University.

In 2011, Liam was invited to establish and lead a new ‘Behaviour Change Initiative’ (now BehaviourWorks Australia) by the chair of the Monash Sustainability Institute (now Monash Sustainable Development Institute), Professor John Thwaites, whose previous role as Deputy Premier of Victoria led him to the conclusion that not enough policy decisions are based on an understanding of human behaviour and how to influence it. With a brief to bring behavioural experts together with government and industry to find solutions to real-world sustainability problems, Liam’s research initially focused on the areas of water, energy, waste, litter, pollution, climate change adaptation and wildlife conservation.

Since then, Liam has been directly or indirectly involved in conducting over 300 behaviour change research projects across a wide range of industries and sectors. He has also led the development of a unique research methodology (The Method), which is used to inform, develop and design behaviour change interventions and improve their efficacy.

Liam is on the executive of the Monash Sustainable Development Institute and is involved in developing a 2025 strategy, which uses the SDGs as a framework for tackling common and complex sustainability challenges. In 2022, he was elected as one of the Biodiversity Council's lead councillors, which aims to provide trusted expert voices communicating accurate information on all aspects of biodiversity to the Australian people.

Liam’s specific research interests include waste resource management, biodiversity, spillover (how engaging in one positive behaviour affects the probability of engagement or disengagement in a second behaviour), and the synthesis of research evidence to inform behaviour change strategies and social inclusion.

He has published numerous research reports, research papers and public discussion pieces and is an active contributor on Zoos Victoria’s Science Committee, South East Water’s Customer Engagement Council and VicHealth’s Leading Thinker Taskforce. Liam is on the Editorial Board of the prestigious Public Administration Review and the Board of Inclusive Australia, a new organisation made up of some of Australia’s largest government and industry groups working collaboratively to identify strategies on how to unite the nation around the principles of diversity and respect.

An exceptional public speaker, Liam believes that education and training is vital to wider uptake and application of behavioural insights, and he regularly delivers executive training to government professionals through the Australia and New Zealand School of Government and the Department of Premier and Cabinet (Vic)’s Behavioural Insights Unit.

Interested in having Liam speak at your event?

He is also regularly invited to deliver public presentations to audiences around Australia and the world and at specialist conferences run by organisations such as the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency, the International Association for Public Participation and Social Science in Conservation Forum.

Contact us if you would like Liam to talk at your event.

Follow Liam on LinkedIn and Twitter for his updates.

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