The story of our lives: new short film celebrates the first 60 years of the National Child Development Study

11 March 2019

The National Child Development Study (NCDS) is “one of the most influential pools of data that possibly the world has ever seen”, explains the former Labour minister and chair of the Social Mobility Commission, Alan Milburn, in a new short documentary film from the Centre for Longitudinal Studies (CLS).

NCDS has been following the same group of people (an original cohort of around 17,000 babies) since they were all born in a single week in March 1958. With the study and its members celebrating their birthday this month, this new film takes us on a journey through the first 60 years of NCDS. It tells the story of the study so far – from its conception as a one-off medical survey, which set out to identify the reasons for the high rates of infant mortality at the time, to its transformation into an ongoing study of child development and then beyond this into one of the longest running and most important studies of its kind in the world.

In the film, leading figures reflect on the impact of NCDS on science and policy, and look ahead to the next survey of cohort members, at age 62, and how much we still have to learn from their diverse lives.

Also this month, to mark their birthdays, CLS is sending cohort members a special commemorative book about the study. The book features personal recollections and reflections from cohort members and highlights just some of the most important NCDS research from the past six decades. Introducing the book, NCDS director, Alissa Goodman, gives her thanks to the cohort members and describes the “priceless contribution” they have made to so many areas of research.

The book is available to read online and download as a PDF.

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