CLS appoints new director and secures funding for 2015-2020

18 March 2015

Professor Alissa Goodman has been appointed director of the Centre for Longitudinal Studies (CLS) at the same time the centre secures £17 million in funding for the years 2015 to 2020.

Under Professor Goodman’s leadership, the funding from the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and the Medical Research Council (MRC) will enable CLS to continue developing the four world-renowned British cohort studies it manages: the 1958 National Child Development Study (NCDS), the 1970 British Cohort Study (BCS70), Next Steps, and the Millennium Cohort Study (MCS).

Welcoming the funding announcement, Professor Goodman said: “The £15 million investment from the ESRC will enable us to build on the UK’s proud history of longitudinal studies. It will give us new insights into people’s lives at vital stages of their development, which will in turn help to inform policies that will improve people’s lives. The additional £2 million from the MRC will allow us to develop these studies into valuable biomedical resources“.

“Cohort studies’ value increases with age. By providing continued funding, the ESRC and MRC have helped to ensure that the rich potential of the studies can be realised.”

Professor Goodman has been Acting Director of CLS since October 2014, when former Director Jane Elliott left to become Chief Executive of the ESRC. Professor Goodman is also Principal Investigator of the 1958 cohort, and has previously served as Deputy Director of Life Study and the Institute for Fiscal Studies. She is an economist specialising in inequality, poverty, education policy, health and wellbeing.

From 2015 to 2020, CLS will carry out new surveys of the MCS cohort at age 17 (2018), the BCS70 cohort at age 46 (2016) and age 50 (2020), and the NCDS cohort at age 60 (2018). The age 46 sweep of BCS70 will be a biosocial survey, including home visits by nurses to take measurements and collect blood samples from study members. This represents a very exciting opportunity to gain an understanding of the factors that lead to health and wellbeing in mid-life and to investigate major public-health concerns facing this generation, such as obesity and depression.

CLS is also separately funded by the ESRC to carry out surveys of the MCS cohort at age 14 (2015) and the Next Steps cohort at age 25 (2015).

As a resource centre, CLS aims to provide high quality longitudinal data for research across a range of disciplines within, and beyond, social science. Each of the four CLS studies has been collecting important information over the course of the study members’ lives, for example about their families and relationships, physical and mental health, education, work, income, and attitudes.

The new funding will mean that CLS will now be able to extend and improve its work in a number of key areas and increase efforts to maximise the impact of the cohort studies. For example, it will collaborate with a wider range of social and biomedical researchers, extend its work on statistical and survey methodology, and on record linkage. Communications with cohort members will also be further improved through even greater use of social media and new technologies, and greater efforts will be made to document the immense impact of the studies.


Notes for editors

  1. The Centre for Longitudinal Studies is an Economic and Social Research Council resource centre based at the Department for Quantitative Social Science, UCL Institute of Education. CLS has been responsible for managing three world-renowned British birth cohort studies: the 1958 National Child Development Study, the 1970 British Cohort Study, and the Millennium Cohort Study. In 2013, CLS took over management of Next Steps (previously known as the Longitudinal Study of Young People in England) from the Department for Education (formerly Department for Children, Schools and Families). Next Steps is also funded by the ESRC. Visit
  2. The UCL Institute of Education is a world-leader specialising in education and the social sciences. Founded in 1902, the Institute currently has more than 7,000 students and 800 staff. In the 2014 QS World University Rankings, the Institute was ranked number one for education worldwide. It was shortlisted in the ‘University of the Year’ category of the 2014 Times Higher Education (THE) awards. In January 2014, the Institute was recognised by Ofsted for its ‘outstanding’ initial teacher training across primary, secondary and further education.   In the most recent Research Excellence Framework, 94% of our research was judged to be world class. On 2 December 2014, the Institute became a single-faculty school of UCL, called the UCL Institute of Education.
  3. Founded in 1826, UCL was the first English university established after Oxford and Cambridge, the first to admit students regardless of race, class, religion or gender, and the first to provide systematic teaching of law, architecture and medicine. We are among the world’s top universities, as reflected by performance in a range of international rankings and tables. UCL currently has over 35,000 students from 150 countries and over 11,000 employees. Our annual income is over £1bn.
  4. The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) is the UK’s largest funder of research on the social and economic questions facing us today. It supports the development and training of the UK’s future social scientists and also funds major studies that provide the infrastructure for research. ESRC-funded research informs policymakers and practitioners and helps make businesses, voluntary bodies and other organisations more effective. The ESRC also works collaboratively with six other UK research councils and Innovate UK to fund cross-disciplinary research and innovation addressing major societal challenges. The ESRC is an independent organisation, established by Royal Charter in 1965, and funded mainly by the Government. In 2015 it celebrates its 50th anniversary.

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