European Social Survey part of new project

01/02/18

The European Social Survey (ESS) is a partner organisation involved in a new Europe-wide project aimed at assessing children’s health and well-being, led by researchers based at Manchester Metropolitan University.

The European Cohort Development Project (EuroCohort) aims to establish the design of a European survey to be undertaken by children and young people from birth until the age of 25. The survey will provide data to help policymakers across Europe make informed decisions that will benefit the overall well-being of young people.

Due to the relevance of the future survey’s findings to national governments and institutions, the project team is involving them from the start. Representatives from UNICEF are closely involved with the project and are keen to support the initiative to develop a Europe wide cohort survey.

Dominic Richardson, Senior Education Specialist at UNICEF said: “The need for robust evidence on what determines the trajectories of development and child well-being across the life course cannot be understated.

“A Europe-wide survey fills an important gap in knowledge, and strengthens the ability of policymakers in different countries and contexts to learn and share good practice for child development. The ECDP is a vital next steps in improving child policy, and through this the living standards of all children in Europe.”

Funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No. 777449, the project intends to provide a wealth of data required to address complex social problems which often have a negative impact on child and adolescent well-being.

The project is spearheaded by the Policy Evaluation Research Unit (PERU) based in the Department of Sociology at Manchester Metropolitan University.

The PERU team, led by Professor Gary Pollock, is coordinating a large European consortium of researchers from institutes across Europe including the ESS and researchers based in 12 European countries.

ESS will be particularly involved in advising on cross-national survey methodology and governance models for large European Research Infrastructures.

The EuroCohort methodology work package is being overseen by Professor Peter Lynn (Institute for Social and Economic Research (ISER)) who is also head of the ESS Sampling and Weighting Expert Panel (SWEP).

Professor Gary Pollock, Head of Sociology at Manchester Metropolitan University and lead researcher said: “The European Cohort Development project is a first as it is building towards a pan-European, longitudinal survey of child health and well-being. The aim is to arrive at a research framework that is scientifically robust enough for policymakers to take forward."

EuroCohort was created in part as a response to the 2015 OECD publication, How’s Life, that recommended the creation of ‘longitudinal and purpose-built surveys of child well-being’ in order to fully understand how a variety of policies influence different groups of children at different points in their lives.

This new project is set to establish the requirements for a survey that will provide the evidence base to comprehensively inform progress on childhood health and well-being in future.

Once in operation, the survey will gather large amounts of data on measures of health and well-being, such as stress at school and happiness in the home. A comparison across European countries will strengthen the understanding of how context and policy influence such measures.

The initial project will run from January 2018 for 18 months.

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