Read the latest news, blogs and reports from the UK LLC and across the longitudinal population data community.
The UK Longitudinal Linkage Collaboration, a partnership between leading UK longitudinal studies
By UK LLC Communications Team
24 May 2023
UK LLC has been awarded £6.4 million of funding (MR/X021556/1) until the end of 2028 to consolidate and expand its transformative work based on a national Trusted Research Environment (TRE) for the longitudinal research community.
It is UK LLC’s mission to provide a data linkage resource to our partner studies and to provide a clear and efficient route to accessing linked longitudinal data to the research community.
Co-funded by the Medical Research Council (MRC) and the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) the new award will see UK LLC cement its position as a unique research resource, enabling cross-sector research and supporting research responses to immediate situations and future policy needs.
Transformative change: providing linked data for public benefit research
The award enables UK LLC to consolidate and expand its offering as a national resource for research. Through a single application process, UK LLC provides bona fide researchers with secure access to a centralised, quicker and streamlined process to use longitudinal population study data systematically linked to detailed NHS and environmental data – with employment, earnings, benefits and education records due to be added for eligible studies. Expansion of this streamlined process will enhance data integration and navigation for users.
Our TRE approach helps ensure that data we hold is secure, transparent and subject to the ‘Five Safes’ set of safeguards. Our partnership includes a strong public contribution – with members of the public and study participants informing our decision making and design. Working within a TRE is designed to address concerns raised in study participant engagement and public dialogues about the use of linked data and to be seen as trustworthy.
Andy Boyd, UK LLC Director said:
“The continued development of UK LLC signals a significant step-change in how longitudinal population studies and users move to working with linked data in Trusted Research Environments. UK LLC aims to empower researchers to get the best out of linked data and continue to grow our capacity and improve our service as a high value research resource for the UK.”
“The award will let us move to a UK-wide provision for analysis - and as more researchers use the resource, we will be able to build and improve upon the ever-increasing knowledge base.”
Learning from the Covid-19 pandemic
UK LLC will use ways of working learned during the pandemic to facilitate research into health and socio-economic challenges and our widening inequalities. The greater availability of large scale, diverse linked data will help provide numbers for researchers to study rarer outcomes and seldom reached populations. UK LLC’s collaborators include University College London (UCL), SeRP UK, Swansea University and University of Leicester. They have been an integral part of building the TRE over the past couple of years.
Nishi Chaturvedi, Professor of Clinical Epidemiology at University College London and co-lead of the Longitudinal Health and Wellbeing National Core Study, said:
“UK LLC is an important legacy to come out of our programme of work that supported global understanding of the coronavirus pandemic. I am immensely proud of the teams of people across multiple organisations who have been part of this collaboration to deliver this new way of working for longitudinal research.”
Travelling hand-in-hand with public audiences
Public views and those of contributing study participants will continue to form a critical part of UK LLC’s development. This award will allow for growth in UK LLC’s Public Involvement Programme. Both UK LLC and partner studies are committed to the transparent and fair use of data, including providing participants with a clear route to opt-out.
Working with the wider longitudinal and UK data science community
UK LLC is designed to be complementary and to work with existing and planned data infrastructures, and the team will work as part of the data science community to provide new services and functionality for LPS researchers. Our TRE is based on Swansea University’s innovative Secure eResearch Platform (SeRP) and the UK LLC team are committed to learning from the best practice established through the national data science research institutes (HDR UK, ADR UK) and contributing our innovations and successes to their thinking.
George Ploubidis, Professor of Population Health and Statistics at the UCL Social Research Institute and Research Director at the Centre for Longitudinal Studies said:
“UK based longitudinal studies will gain an even more detailed understanding of the socio-economic factors that shape people’s lives. This includes the transition from education into the workplace, the relationship between health and employment across the life course, and retirement. Bringing all the data into one place will enable cross-cutting multidisciplinary research and assessment of policy-related questions at critical life stages.”
Studies contributing to UK LLC: Airwave Health Monitoring Study, Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC), 1970 British Cohort Study (BCS70), Born in Bradford (BIB), English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA), The European Prospective Investigation into Cancer (EPIC) Norfolk Study, Extended Cohort for E-health, Environment and DNA (EXCEED), The Fenland Study, Generation Scotland, Genetic Links to Anxiety and Depression Study (GLAD; part of the NIHR BioResource), The Millennium Cohort Study (MCS), 1958 National Child Development Study (NCDS), Next Steps, Northern Ireland Cohort for the Longitudinal Study of Ageing (NICOLA) (non-linked data only), MRC National Survey of Health and Development Cohort/1946 Birth Cohort (NSHD/1946BC), National Institute of Health and Care Research (NIHR) BioResource COVID-19 Psychiatry and Neurological Genetics (COPING) Study, Southall and Brent Revisited (SABRE) (non-linked data only), TRACK-COVID Study, TwinsUK, Understanding Society - the UK Household Longitudinal Study (UKHLS).
Further Information can be found here:
UK LLC team: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: https://ukllc.ac.uk/ Follow us on Twitter: @UKLLCollab LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/ukllc/ Animation explaining UK LLC: https://youtu.be/zFkvpKD3jvs
UK LLC is run by the Universities of Bristol and Edinburgh, in collaboration with UCL, SeRP UK at Swansea University’s Population Data Science and the University of Leicester. It originated as part of the COVID-19 Longitudinal Health and Wellbeing National Core Study. This work is funded by UKRI.
UK LLC uses data provided by study participants and patients collected through longitudinal studies, or as part of their care and support.