Flourishing: from science to policy

Professor Felicia Huppert, Emeritus Professor of Psychology and Director of the Well-being Institute at Cambridge University, and Professor at the Centre for Positive Psychology and Education at the University of Western Sydney.

Co-presented with the Software Engineering Group, School of Electrical and Information Engineering

19 November, 2013

The past few years have seen a startling reframing of what the goal of government and organisations should be. Economic growth is no longer regarded as an end in itself, but as a means to an end – and that end is well-being. Well-being or ‘flourishing’ refers to the ability of people to develop their full potential as individuals, in relationships and as members of the wider society. Individuals and groups may vary in their levels of flourishing, but the skills for flourishing can be learnt.

This presentation will explore the issue of how well-being should be defined and measured, and its principle determinants at the individual and population level. Evidence from behavioural science and neuroscience will be presented, which supports the use of well-being interventions as an effective means of enhancing flourishing in individuals and organisations. Particular attention will be paid to mindfulness training, which with its emphasis on curiosity, awareness and kindness towards oneself and others, can be regarded as foundational to flourishing. The policy implications of mindfulness and other approaches to increasing well-being in the domains of mental health, education and the workplace will be discussed.

Professor Felicia Huppert


Professor Felicia Huppert is Emeritus Professor of Psychology and Director of the Well-being Institute at Cambridge University. She is also a Professor at the Centre for Positive Psychology and Education at the University of Western Sydney. She is passionate about the potential for mindfulness training to promote flourishing in individuals and organisations, and is a team member of the UK’s Mindfulness in Schools Project. She also advises governments and organisations on the measurement of well-being.