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ISER's role in new international community of researchers working on major new European survey of children's wellbeing

Happy children

Interdisciplinary social scientist Dr Gundi Knies, social epidemiologist Dr Cara Booker and survey methodologist Professor Peter Lynn, all at ISER, will be working with Manchester Metropolitan University researchers on implementing the first Europe-wide longitudinal study to track the wellbeing of children aged 0-25 as they grow up. Project COORDINATE is the new study - COhort cOmmunity Research and Development Infrastructure Network for Access Throughout Europe

COORDINATE will:

• Facilitate improved access to existing survey data on child wellbeing such as data from the interviews with children and young adults collected in Understanding Society and its sister studies in the world

• Extend the Growing Up in Digital Europe (GUIDE/Eurocohort) survey network

• Initiate the GUIDE survey with a largescale cohort pilot survey using a harmonised instrument and research design in key European countries

How COORDINATE will improve child wellbeing

• Initiate a community of researchers working to enhance child wellbeing

• Begin the first ever Europe-wide birth cohort survey to track children’s wellbeing as they grow up

• Ensure that high quality survey data will inform policies that directly affect children’s lives

Giving children a voice in research that concerns them, COORDINATE will establish Youth Advisory Boards (YABs) in the UK, Portugal, Croatia, and Finland to engage young people at all levels and stages of the research. The YABs will overview and advise researchers on key questions regarding the project.

Developing research capacity across Europe COORDINATE will facilitate improved access to existing survey data on child wellbeing, increase longitudinal survey capacity across Europe through webinars, summer schools, and grants for trans-national visits, extend the GUIDE survey network, and initiate the GUIDE survey with a large-scale cohort pilot survey in Croatia, Finland, France and Ireland.

Led by Professor Gary Pollock of Manchester Metropolitan University’s Policy Evaluation and Research Unit and Associate Professor Jennifer Symonds of The Geary Institute at University College Dublin, COORDINATE has been awarded €5 Million funding by the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 to undertake a range of activities that will build the capacity and infrastructure to collect and use longitudinal survey data to improve child wellbeing across Europe.

Professor Pollock said: “The seismic effects of the COVID-19 crisis on young people’s education and mental wellbeing underlines the importance of understanding how policy decisions made today affect them in the years to come. In the UK, we have witnessed huge changes to their daily lives, from home-schooling to changes to exams and ongoing issues over the extension of free school meals.”

Dr Gundi Knies, the project’s Principal Investigator at Essex, “We are delighted to be part of this exciting project which will bring us a big step closer to the delivery of Europe’s first birth cohort survey, and to lead the important work on the GUIDE pilot surveys drawing on our expertise in survey design and analysis of longitudinal data here at ISER. The cross-national access activities will also assure that our expertise is more widely shared through funded research visits and summer schools on cross-national longitudinal analysis and child wellbeing analysis.”

COORDINATE is the next phase of the GUIDE project funded by the Horizon 2020 programme in recognition that policymakers across Europe are currently unable to draw upon consistent, comparable and high quality data on child wellbeing to inform policy. GUIDE will be an important source of evidence in developing social policies for children, young people and families across Europe for many years to come. It will be an accelerated cohort survey including nationally representative samples of new-born babies and school age children. With two cohorts taking place in parallel it will be possible to make cohort comparisons early in the life of the survey.

Why policy-makers value longitudinal surveys

Longitudinal surveys routinely inform policy development. Longitudinal data is important as it can be used to show how the experiences of different cohorts of people vary over their life course. GUIDE offers policy-makers the following:

• Unique insights into key transitions in children’s lives

• The ability to make international comparisons on child and youth wellbeing

• Opportunities to evaluate the impact of policies over time

For more information about, GUIDE, please visit the project site here

We have produced a short animation on the importance of a Europe wide birth cohort survey here

COORDINATE project partners

1 The Manchester Metropolitan University (Coordinator) GB

2 University College Dublin, The Geary Institute IE

3 Consortium of European Social Science Data Archives, European Research Infrastructure Consortium NO

4 Institut Drustvenih Znanosti Ivo Pilar HR

5 Universidad Pompeu Fabra (Pompeu Fabra University) ES

6 Institut national d’études démographiques FR

7 University of Essex (The Institute for Social and Economic Research) GB

8 Znanstveno-raziskovalno središče Koper SI

9 Europaisches Zentrum Fur Wohlfahrtspolitik Und Sozialforschung (European Centre for Social Welfare Policy and Research) AT

10 ISCTE - Instituto Universitário de Lisboa (Centre for Research and Studies in Sociology) PT

11 Helsingin Yliopisto (University of Helsinki) FI

12 Alma Mater Studiorum- Università di Bologna IT

13 Stichting CentERdata NL

14 University College London (Centre for Longitudinal Studies - CLS and Cohort and Longitudinal Studies Enhancement Resources – CLOSER) GB

15 Koninklijke Nederlandse Akademie Van Wetenschappen - KNAW (Generations and Gender Programme – GGP) NL

16 Gesis-Leibniz-Institut Fur Sozialwissenschaften Ev (Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences) DE

17 Ipsos GmbH DE

18 TNS UK Ltd (Kantar Public) GB

19 cApStAn SA BE