Professor Peter Phillips (JSGS) and researchers at the U of S have received $154,137 from the Canadian Foundation for Innovation (CFI) to undertake studies of human decision making as they relate to innovative new technologies in the agri-food, medical and industrial sectors. The CFI funding will be used to renovate and equip an Experimental Decision Laboratory (EDL) that will allow the research team – which includes Valerie Thompson (Psychology) and James Nolan (Business and Economics) – to test how both the public and experts formulate decisions in the context of uncertain and complex circumstances.
Complex problems related to the development and delivery of effective public policies permeates society, both at the individual decision-maker level and at the institutional level. These problems have grown exponentially in recent years, but the theory and evidence on how to deal with complex decision making is lagging.
“Institutional innovation is estimated to have one of the highest economic returns of any investment, at least partly because it often triggers new opportunities and increases the efficiency and effectiveness of many ongoing activities,” says Phillips. “Funding provided through the CFI is instrumental in helping us establish the EDL, a unique addition to the university’s infrastructure.”
Research conducted in the EDL will translate the experimental approach used in behavioural psychology to address the broader governance challenges of economic policy and regulation. It will also provide insights into potential hold-ups to regulation and commercialization of science-based, globally-traded products and services, especially in the important agri-food and resource sectors in Saskatchewan. The outputs will assist researchers, firms, industries, governments, and NGOs to better understand the opportunities and constraints in a wide range of policy areas.
The EDL facility will be a critical part of the Social Sciences Research Complex spearheaded by the College of Arts and Science at the U of S.