UK Birth Cohort Study appoints Deputy Director

7 June 2012

Alissa Goodman has been appointed as Professor of Economics and Deputy Director of the UK Birth Cohort Study at UCL, a post which has been created jointly by the university and the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC).

Professor Goodman’s appointment signals UCL’s strong strategic commitment to life course and longitudinal studies within the UCL Faculty of Population Health Sciences headed by Professor Graham Hart. Professor Goodman will be based at the UCL Institute of Child Health.

“We are delighted that Alissa Goodman is joining the senior management team for this study at UCL,” said Professor Carol Dezateux, Director of the UK Birth Cohort Study and Professor of Paediatric Epidemiology at the UCL Institute of Child Health. “The UK Birth Cohort Study is an innovative large scale study which will create a world-leading data resource - Professor Goodman brings important disciplinary and research expertise which will enhance the development of this study and help realise opportunities for cross disciplinary collaboration and research at UCL and more widely.”

“UCL extends a warm welcome to Professor Goodman who joins our Faculty,” said Professor Graham Hart, Dean of the Faculty of Population Health Sciences at UCL. “We are grateful to the ESRC for its generous support for this appointment. The new Birth Cohort Study is a ground-breaking study that will maintain the UK’s leading position in life course and social and biomedical research. Cross-disciplinary research is a key element of UCL’s research strategy and we look forward to working with Professor Goodman to realise this vision.”

Before taking up her appointment with UCL, Professor Goodman was Deputy Director of the Institute for Fiscal Studies. Her research interests cover a range of issues relating to education policy, inequality and poverty. Her current work is concerned with explaining the ‘socio-economic gap’ in child outcomes and in higher education participation, and the importance of the development of cognitive and social skills in childhood for outcomes in adult life and higher education funding policy.  Professor Goodman has extensive experience in conducting a number of large-scale evaluations for government departments, including of the Education Maintenance Allowances, Employer Training Pilots and Pathways to Work.

“This is a tremendous opportunity and I’m looking forward to contributing to the successful development of the UK Birth Cohort Study and to taking forward my research programme at UCL,” said Professor Goodman.

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About the new UK Birth Cohort Study

The UK Birth Cohort Study, led from UCL, is an innovative interdisciplinary research study which will track social, health and biological information for over 100,000 UK babies and their families from all walks of life through pregnancy, birth and their early years. Developed by an interdisciplinary group of leading UK scientists from UCL and other universities across the UK, it will collect extensive information on the health, development and life circumstances of a new generation of children born in the UK. Engagement with policy-makers, practitioners and users will ensure that new knowledge gained will improve the lives of children now and in the future.

This study will create a rich resource of social, biological and environmental information, biological samples, and linked routine health and administrative data. It will be able to answer some questions regarding early life origins of health and disease, and physical, psychological and social well-being. This study is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council and the Medical Research Council as part of the Birth Cohort Facility Project which receives funding from the Government’s Large Facilities Capital Fund. Academics from the Institute of Child Health at UCL are leading the study.