The Policy Evaluation and Research Unit (PERU) at Manchester Metropolitan University leads international project that will generate exciting new data to help policy makers improve child and youth well-being

Researchers in PERU are working with 18 partners across 13 countries to develop the first ever Europe-wide survey to track the wellbeing of children as they grow up, providing data to inform the policies that directly affect their lives.  Led by Manchester Metropolitan University’s Policy Evaluation and Research Unit and The Geary Institute at University College Dublin, the four-year COORDINATE project has been awarded €5m by the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 to undertake a range of activities that will build the capacity and infrastructure to collect and use longitudinal survey data to improve child wellbeing across Europe.

For the first time, a survey will offer policymakers unique insights into key transitions in children’s lives, the ability to make international comparisons on child and youth wellbeing, and to evaluate policies over time. This will help them make more informed decisions on issues ranging from education, to health and social policy.

Here’s an animation on the importance of a Europe wide birth cohort survey:


COORDINATE is the next phase of the Growing Up In Digital Europe (GUIDE) project, launched in 2018 and funded by the Horizon 2020 programme in recognition that policymakers are currently unable to draw upon consistent and high quality data on child wellbeing to inform policy. GUIDE will be an accelerated cohort survey including nationally representative samples of new born babies and school age children. With two cohorts taking place in parallel it will be possible to make cohort comparisons and generate policy relevant data early in the life of the survey. The survey will collect both objective and subjective wellbeing measures. Major themes covered in the survey include: Inequality, Learning, Digital Life and Lifestyle.

Researchers on COORDINATE will bring a full Europe-wide cohort study a step closer by:

  • Facilitating improved access to existing survey data on child wellbeing
  • Building capacity in longitudinal survey analysis across Europe
  • Extending the GUIDE survey network,
  • Initiating the GUIDE survey with a large-scale cohort pilot survey in Croatia, Finland, France and Ireland.

Professor Gary Pollock, co-project lead from Manchester Metropolitan University’s Policy Evaluation and Research Unit said: “We are delighted to be awarded funding to take another step closer to the delivery of Europe’s first birth cohort survey, and to lead the next stage of this important project here at Manchester Metropolitan.”

“The seismic effects of the COVID-19 crisis on young people’s education and mental wellbeing underlines the importance of understanding how policy decisions made today affect them in the years to come. In the UK, we have witnessed huge changes to their daily lives over the last year alone, from home-schooling to changes to exams and ongoing issues over the extension of free school meals.

Longitudinal surveys routinely inform policy development. Longitudinal data is important as it can be used to show how the experiences of different cohorts of people vary over their life course.”

Associate Professor Jennifer Symonds, co-project lead from The Geary Institute at University College Dublin, said: “A Europe-wide birth cohort survey will allow policymakers to access large amounts of data on measures of young people’s health and wellbeing, such as stress at school and happiness in the home, and how these are affected by decisions they make at different stages of their young lives. We believe that this will give children a louder voice in the conversations about issues that affect them.”

Keeping children at the heart of the research design, COORDINATE will also establish Youth Advisory Boards (YABs) in the UK, Portugal, Croatia, and Finland.  The YABs will overview and advise researchers on key questions regarding the project.

This new longitudinal survey will be an important source of evidence in developing social policies for children, young people and families across Europe for many years to come. Its innovative design balances scientific rigour, policy priorities, and children’s voice.

Project partners

1 The Manchester Metropolitan University (Coordinator) GB
2 University College Dublin, The Geary Institute IE
3 Consortium of European Social Science Data Archives, European Research Infrastructure Consortium NO
4 Institut Drustvenih Znanosti Ivo Pilar HR
5 Universidad Pompeu Fabra (Pompeu Fabra University) ES
6 Institut national d’études démographiques FR
7 University of Essex (The Institute for Social and Economic Research) GB
8 Znanstveno-raziskovalno središče Koper SI
9 Europaisches Zentrum Fur Wohlfahrtspolitik Und Sozialforschung (European Centre for Social Welfare Policy and Research) AT
10 ISCTE – Instituto Universitário de Lisboa (Centre for Research and Studies in Sociology) PT
11 Helsingin Yliopisto (University of Helsinki) FI
12 Alma Mater Studiorum- Università di Bologna  IT
13 Stichting CentERdata NL
14 University College London (Centre for Longitudinal Studies – CLS and Cohort and Longitudinal Studies Enhancement Resources – CLOSER) GB
15 Koninklijke Nederlandse Akademie Van Wetenschappen – KNAW (Generations and Gender Programme – GGP) NL
16 Gesis-Leibniz-Institut Fur Sozialwissenschaften Ev (Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences) DE
17 Ipsos GmbH DE
18 TNS UK Ltd (Kantar Public) GB
19 cApStAn SA BE

Useful links

Website Growing Up In Digital Europe (GUIDE) project

Short videos discussing The benefits of a Europe wide birth cohort survey

Animation explaining the  importance of a Europe wide birth cohort survey

COORDINATE – Cordis EU Research



This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020
research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 101008589