Professor Paul Montgomery

paul montgomery headshot

Paul left DSPI in March 2017 and is now Professor of Social Intervention at the School of Social Policy, University of Birmingham.

Paul Montgomery's career is devoted to improving our understanding of what interventions are effective in tackling complex psychological, social, and health problems. His academic work spans a range of issues, and integrates the use of several high-quality methodological approaches, many of which have not been traditionally applied in the social sciences.

Public Service
Paul currently sits on the Cross-Whitehall Trial Advice Panel, through which he advises the UK Cabinet Office on the design and conduct of randomised trials in social policy. Previously, he has served as an advisor to the UK Government's Centre for Excellence in Outcomes, and sits on a World Health Organization guideline development panel related to evidence synthesis in complex interventions.


Paul's current academic work can be considered in two broad categories: (1) Methodology of Psycho-Social Intervention, (2) Studies and trials related to Behavioural Interventions.

Paul's methodological work is having a considerable impact on the ways that randomised trials and systematic reviews are conducted and reported in the rapidly growing field of social intervention. He has recently spearheaded the development of CONSORT-SPI, a reporting guideline for randomised trials of complex psychological and social interventions. He also led the development of the Oxford Implementation Index, and has researched the significance and utility of so-called 'empty reviews' (i.e., systematic reviews which find no studies eligible for inclusion). Currently he is leading the GRADE Extension for Complex Interventions funded by ESRC.

Behavioural Interventions
Paul's study of behavioural interventions began with his doctoral work evaluating Brief Interventions for sleep problems, and has evolved into a large, successful programme of systematic reviews and (mostly) randomised trials. Of note, recently he developed and piloted an evidence-based training manual to support democratic policing in Israel. As well, following promising results in a recent pilot study in Ghana, Paul (with colleagues at the Saïd Business School) is conducting a large trial of puberty education and sanitary pad provision for girls' empowerment, this time in Uganda.

These varied interventions have helped develop Paul’s innovative methodology work and currently he is working with Prof EJ Milner-Gulland to look at behavioural strategies to reduce consumer demand in the Illegal Wildlife Trade with core funding from the Oxford Martin School.

Please see Paul's profile at Birmingham including publications for a more exhaustive list of his work on behavioural interventions.

Paul Montgomery's key areas of research focus are:

Methodology in Psycho-Social Interventions

Nutrition Research

  • DHA Learning and Behaviour Clinical Trial
  • The DHA (docasahexaenoic acid) Oxford Learning and Behaviour (DOLAB) confirmatory study

Behavioural Interventions

  • Democratic police training in Israel: moving towards an evidence base
  • Menstruation and the cycle of poverty
  • Organisational interventions for teacher wellbeing: intervention development and piloting

Previous Students

Paul's previous doctoral students have gone on to influential professional positions, both in academia and in policy and practice settings:

  • Eleanor Bantry-White is a Lecturer in Applied Social Studies at University College Cork.
  • Gretchen Bjornstadt is a researcher at the Social Research Unit at Dartington.
  • Raeli Bronstein now researches and teaches in Social Work and Evidence Based Social Intervention at Bar-Ilan University in Tel Aviv.
  • Evan Mayo-Wilson works as an Assistant Scientist at the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health.
  • Matthew Morton conducts research on social protection for the World Bank.
  • Kristen Underhill now researches at Yale University, with cross appointments at the Center for Interdisciplinary Research on AIDS (CIRA) and Yale Law School.
  • Sean Grant is an Associate Behavioural and Social Scientist at the RAND Corporation.
  • Ellie Ott manages the Humanitarian Evidence Programme at Oxfam.