Institute of Education


Cohort and Longitudinal Studies Enhancement Resources (CLOSER)

CLOSER, the home of longitudinal research, brings together world-leading longitudinal studies with participants born throughout the 20th and 21st centuries.

Director: Professor Rebecca Hardy

Our work maximises the use, value and impact of longitudinal studies to help improve our understanding of key social and biomedical challenges.

About us 

How CLOSER is making a difference

Enabling change over time and across generations to be better understood

CLOSER is bringing longitudinal data together in a consistent format - a process known as data harmonisation. This is allowing longitudinal researchers to compare data from different studies for the first time, revealing how and why the country is changing over time - and what this means for the future. Read more about data harmonisation.

Enhancing insights through data linkage

CLOSER is leading research to link data held by government to survey data collected by longitudinal studies. Linking this data enables researchers to gain rich insights into how different aspects of people's lives interrelate. Read more about data linkage.

Helping researchers find data

CLOSER's search engine, CLOSER Discovery enables researchers to search and browse questionnaires and datasets from the UK's leading longitudinal studies to find out what data are available. This is opening up new opportunities for working together across different longitudinal studies. Explore CLOSER Discovery.

Training the longitudinal community

CLOSER provides training and capacity building opportunities for experienced researchers and those running longitudinal studies. The CLOSER Learning Hub has information and resources aimed at those in academia, government and the third sector who are new to longitudinal studies, to help them better understand the value of the studies and how to use the data. Visit the CLOSER Learning Hub and view our latest training events.

Funding research projects

CLOSER funds research projects that use longitudinal data to investigate a wide range of areas of interest, including obesity, physical activity, mental health, and ageing. Many of the research projects CLOSER funds are creating harmonised datasets, improving data linkage or developing other resources for the wider longitudinal research community. Read more about the research we fund.

Maximising the impact of longitudinal research

CLOSER is working to achieve the greatest possible impact for CLOSER's outputs, activities and studies. CLOSER does this by influencing government, producing longitudinal resources for the academic community and funding research that addresses the biomedical, social, economic and environmental challenges facing the UK. Read more about how CLOSER maximises research impact.

Our staff

CLOSER is run by a group of researchers and professionals based at leading academic institutions and data management centres.

Centre staff


  • Michaela Benzeval, Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Essex
  • Emla Fitzsimons, Social Research Institute
  • Rebecca Hardy, Social Research Institute 
  • Hazel Inskip, MRC Lifecourse Epidemiology Unit, University of Southampton 
  • Lynn Molloy, Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children      
  • Allan Sudlow, British Library

Scientific Leadership team

  • Janis Baird, MRC Lifecourse Epidemiology Unit, University of Southampton
  • Michaela Benzeval, Institute for Social & Economic Research, University of Essex
  • Andrew Boyd, University of Bristol
  • Lisa Calderwood, Social Research Institute 
  • Nishi Chaturvedi, MRC Unit for Lifelong Health and Ageing, UCL
  • Cyrus Cooper, MRC Lifecourse Epidemiology Unit, University of Southampton
  • Louise Corti, UK Data Service
  • Elaine Dennison, MRC Lifecourse Epidemiology Unit, University of Southampton
  • Emla Fitzsimons, Social Research Institute
  • Alissa Goodman, Social Research Institute
  • Rebecca Hardy, Social Research Institute
  • Hazel Inskip, MRC Lifecourse Epidemiology Unit, University of Southampton
  • Lynn Molloy, University of Bristol
  • Amanda Sacker, Institute of Epidemiology and Health Care
  • Allan Sudlow, British Library
  • Alice Sullivan, Social Research Institute
Our partners

There are currently 19 studies participating in the CLOSER network, with participants born as early as the 1930s to the present day. The British Library and the UK Data Service are also key partners, and the Social Research Institute is the lead research institution.

Our activities

CLOSER studies
  • 1946 MRC National Survey of Health and Development
  • 1958 National Child Development Study
  • 1970 British Cohort Study
  • Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (Children of the 90s)
  • Born in Bradford
  • English Longitudinal Study of Ageing
  • Generation Scotland
  • Growing Up in Scotland
  • Health and Employment After Fifty
  • Hertfordshire Cohort Study
  • Longitudinal Survey of Young People in England: Cohort 2 (Our Future Study)
  • Millennium Cohort Study (Child of the New Century)
  • Next Steps
  • Northern Ireland Cohort for the Longitudinal Study of Ageing 
  • ONS Longitudinal Study
  • Southampton Women’s Survey
  • Understanding Society: The UK Household Longitudinal Study
  • Whitehall II (The Stress and Health Study)
  • Wirral Child Health and Development Study (The First Steps Study)

Research features

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Latest news

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Forthcoming events

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