The Economic and Social Research Council has announced that it is extending CLOSER’s funding to March 2021 to carry out its valuable work in maximising the use, value and impact of the UK’s longitudinal studies.

The funding will allow CLOSER to continue its core work in data discoverability and metadata enhancement, harmonisation, linkage, impact, and training and capacity building.

As part of CLOSER’s extended work plan, it will be following up on key areas of need identified in its 2018 collaborative conference, Preparing for the future: Tackling the key challenges facing the UK’s longitudinal population studies. The event brought together representatives from across the longitudinal community, in social and biomedical sciences.

Delegates identified actions that studies, funders and others could take forward, both collectively and individually. CLOSER has identified new activities to address some of the recommendations put forward by the longitudinal community. These will be implemented in the next 18 months, alongside CLOSER’s existing programme of work.
Key additional activities include:

  • organisation of two workshops on new methods of data collection and analysis of novel data
  • production of guidance on data harmonisation processes and documentation
  • development and promotion of a portfolio of research case studies using record linked data
  • development and delivery of policy engagement training for the longitudinal research community

These and other activities will be outlined in more detail in CLOSER’s forthcoming action plan.
In addition, CLOSER will host a second conference in late 2019 to follow-up on actions and progress from this first meeting.

Prof Rebecca Hardy, CLOSER’s Director, said: “We’re delighted to be able to continue our important working bringing the longitudinal community together, and look forward to working with our partners and funders to further advance longitudinal research.”

CLOSER was funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and the Medical Research Council (MRC) from 2012-17, and will be funded by the ESRC from 2017-21.