Growing Up in Digital Europe (GUIDE) will be Europe’s first comparative birth cohort study of children’s and young people’s wellbeing.


Growing Up in Digital Europe (GUIDE) will be Europe’s first comparative birth cohort study of children’s and young people’s wellbeing. The aim of the GUIDE study is to track children’s personal wellbeing and psychosocial development, in combination with key indicators of children’s homes, neighbourhoods, and schools, across Europe. Together these measurements will enable researchers from multiple fields to analyse how children’s wellbeing develops in response to children’s experiences of growing up in different European Member States. The harmonized design will create the first internationally comparable, nationally representative, longitudinal study of children and young people in Europe. GUIDE will be an important source of evidence in developing social policies for children, young people, and families across Europe for many years to come.

There is currently no single data source to support the comparative analysis of the wellbeing of children and young people across Europe as they grow up. Some European countries have regularly invested in cohort surveys and have benefited from analyses drawn from longitudinal studies, such as Growing Up in Ireland, the British Cohort Studies, the French Longitudinal Study of Children, the Danish Longitudinal Survey of Children, and the National Education Panel on Early Education and Schooling in Germany. The merits of collecting national longitudinal data are widely recognised, and yet the current studies are not easily comparable as they contain different questions and are conducted at different times and on different age groups.

GUIDE has been developed by a team of experts who represent the different scientific communities for whom the data will be essential for understanding how best to improve child wellbeing: namely regarding longitudinal survey methodology, child and youth development and wellbeing, demography, economics, psychology and sociology. The EU recognises the importance of high quality survey data to inform policy development through its investment in The Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE), and the Generations and Gender Programme. These surveys span the life-course from age 18 onwards, therefore GUIDE will fill an important gap by providing data from birth to 24.

GUIDE has developed through a series of projects funded by the European Commission, MYWeB (GA 613368), the European Cohort Development Project (GA 777449), and COORDINATE- the COhort cOmmunity Research and Development Infrastructure Network (GA 101008589) and GUIDE PREP- Growing Up in Digital Europe Preparatory Phase (GA 101078945).

The GUIDE Survey is co-created by children, policy makers, and scientists. GUIDE is founded on the principle of child-centred approaches. We believe that children are active agents in society and, therefore, should advocate for their direct engagement throughout the research process. As such, children were placed at the centre of our work from the onset, during the preparatory stages of the research design. We also believe that when the results from the survey become available, children and young people must be key stakeholders in their interpretation. This contributes to the co-production of relevant policies for lasting social and economic benefit alongside inputs from policy makers, scientists and other stakeholders.


1. To establish the operation of the GUIDE Central Hub at Manchester Met. and University College Dublin. This involves establishing the Central Hub’s human resources, electronic communication, financial management, data management, and risk mitigation strategies.
2. To apply for GUIDE to become a European Research Infrastructure Consortium (ERIC). To achieve this objective, we will design the GUIDE ERIC technical and scientific description, and statutes and draft the ERIC application. The resources designed for the ERIC application will facilitate funding decisions and commitments from Member States and Associated Countries.
3. To secure financial commitments from Member States and Associated Countries. We will achieve this objective by establishing a Political Support Committee, commitments and sponsorship drives, a national roadmaps drive, a GUIDE promotional campaign, and an international roadshow.
4. To develop the GUIDE survey methodology. This objective will be achieved by establishing key scientific advisory groups, finalising the design of the GUIDE sampling, recruitment, instruments, questionnaires, and fieldwork, and obtaining ethical approval for the first waves of the GUIDE survey.
5. To increase GUIDE’s scientific impact. The scientific methodology of the GUIDE survey will be documented and made open access through an edited volume called the GUIDE Book. The GUIDE Book will serve as a roadmap for the first wave of the GUIDE study and will be an accessible exemplar of European cohort study design for the scientific community.
6. To increase GUIDE’s policy impact. Data from the GUIDE pilot study of the draft questionnaires in Ireland, France, Croatia, and Finland (via project Coordinate), will be repurposed for a policy maker audience in GUIDEPREP.
7. To develop the cohort studies expertise of early career research fellows distributed across Europe. This objective will be achieved by an education and mentoring programme supporting the work of a select group of GUIDE Fellows who will provide the main staffing for GUIDEPREP.

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