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UK Longitudinal Linkage Collaboration (UK LLC) awarded additional funding to support Feasibility Study for linkage to administrative records

By UK LLC Communications Team

25th Jan 2023

UK LLC has been awarded an additional £1.2 million of funding (ES/X000567/1) until the end of 2024 for a Feasibility Study to expand its work on the potential for administrative data linkages to longitudinal population study (LPS) data.

Co-funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and the Medical Research Council (MRC), the Feasibility Study will be part of the ESRC Data Infrastructure portfolio. It also aligns to the Administrative Data Research UK (ADR UK) programme to link administrative datasets for research for public good. It will collaborate with other UKRI-funded data infrastructure investments and provide learning to help inform future developments. This work builds on almost £10 million awarded by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) to the Longitudinal Health and Wellbeing National Core Study, which includes UK LLC. As part of this national programme of COVID-19 research LPS data is being linked to routine health data.

In the Feasibility Study, LPS data will also be linked with administrative data through a newly designed secure data pipeline that accredited researchers from different disciplines can access through a Trusted Research Environment (TRE). These additional linkages will enable researchers to address a wider range of research questions for public benefit. This approach, and the safeguards included, has been co-developed with members of the public, study participants and experts from across the UK data science community. The new award will also fund the development of a novel Citizen Panel to feed into many aspects of the work. UK LLC integrates public and participant involvement at all levels in the design of the research and decision-making.

UK LLC Director, Andy Boyd, University of Bristol said: “Securing this additional funding is a major achievement for our collaboration. We’re here to support the longitudinal population research community and this Feasibility Study will expand our capability for researchers to address the country’s most pressing questions. The inclusion of these data will unlock a whole host of interdisciplinary research questions. For example, researchers will be able to analyse the consequences of health and mental health conditions in care provision across sociodemographic groups, identify modifiable risk factors and interventions and the social consequences of early adversity as a key driver for adult health inequality. There is huge scientific potential.”

Director of the Centre for Longitudinal Studies (CLS), Alissa Goodman said: “CLS welcomes the news of additional funding for UK LLC. The value of these data will enable researchers using UK longitudinal studies, such as those within CLS, a more detailed understanding of the socio-economic factors that shape people’s lives, and assessment of policy-related questions at critical life stages, including relating to the transition from education into the workplace, issues relating to health-related non-employment across the life course, and retirement. Bringing all the data into one place will enable this cross-cutting research.”

UK LLC Partner Studies and their role in the Feasibility Study

All of UK LLC’s Partner Studies listed below are part of this Feasibility Study. They have agreed to move towards data being used for non-covid, generalised research and be involved with the development of the new public involvement activity to create a Citizen Panel. They have also committed to testing the feasibility and acceptability of linking their study data to administrative data. Where studies take part in these linkages, they will first contact participants and ensure awareness is in place and any objections are respected.

The first sets of administrative data that are under consideration in this Feasibility Study are from the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP), the Department for Education (DfE) and HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC). All data will be accessed – where approvals are established – via the Office for National Statistics (ONS). UK LLC will work with these UK Government departments and its Partner Studies to understand how this data might be linked in a manner that is legal, secure and trustworthy to all stakeholders and most importantly the study participants.

UK LLC Partner Studies: 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).

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