Based at the University of Bristol, Children of the 90s, also known as Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC), is a world-leading birth cohort study.
Between April 1991 and December 1992 we recruited more than 14,000 pregnant women into the study and these women (some of whom had two pregnancies or multiple births during the recruitment period), the children arising from the pregnancy, and their partners have been followed up intensively over two decades.
We are one of the most detailed studies of its kind in the world and we provide the international research community with a rich resource for the study of the environmental and genetic factors that affect a person’s health and development. Through our research we aim to inform policy and practices that will provide a better life for future generations.
Download our Children of the 90s factsheet (PDF, 237kB)
Who we are
The team is led by Professor Nic Timpson, who is Principal Investigator (PI) of Children of the 90s.
The PI has overall responsibility for all areas of activity in Children of the 90s. See the next dropdown to read Nic's biography.
The PI is supported by the executive team in the execution of Children of the 90s' activities. Members of the executive are Ms Lynn Molloy (chief operating officer), Dr Sue Ring (executive director, bioresource) and Dr Kate Northstone (executive director, data). The executive is supported by members of the senior management team for all operational activity.
About Principal Investigator, Professor Nic Timpson
“Overall, I count myself lucky to be part of an amazing study and academic team here in Bristol and through our many collaborative and collegiate connections around the world. Children of the 90s is a wonderful example of participant drive science and something that will go on contributing for many years!”
Nic Timpson is Principal Investigator for Children of the 90s. Alongside this role, his research focuses on the application of genetics to the dissection of relationships between risk factors and complex health outcomes. A large part of his work focuses on understanding body mass index (BMI) as a risk factor for many health outcomes – including cardiometabolic disease and cancer. Nic also co-leads one of Children of the 90s’ programmes of post graduate research.
Nic has become substantially involved in the strategic use of population based resources in a coordinated manner to address population health. This has been most starkly demonstrated in the case of COVID-19, where the study’s work has really brought forward the use of population-based studies for understanding the impact of the pandemic.
Previously, Nic’s work on inflammation was one of the first attempts to apply genetic epidemiology to an important clinical question by interrogating the relationship between circulating C-reactive protein and metabolic health outcomes. At the Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics in Oxford between 2006 and 2008, he worked on the first wave of genomewide association studies data through the Wellcome Trust Case Control Consortium. He has had roles in genetic studies for BMI, overweight and obesity, birthweight, lipid profile, adiponectin, bone health, cortisol, thyroid function, allergic sensitization, educational attainment, and pigmentation.
- The ALSPAC executive reports to a board which provides oversight of the ALSPAC executive and supports the scientific director and PI with scientific strategy. The chair of the board is Professor Matt Hickman. The board meets each quarter.
- The independent scientific advisory board (ISAB) provides independent scientific advice to ALSPAC and meets twice a year.
- The ALSPAC ethics and law committee (ALEC), is made up of clinicians, researchers, lawyers and study participants. It provides ethical oversight of ALSPAC as a whole and, where relevant, reviews individual proposals for new data collection. It meets bi-monthly.
- The original cohort advisory panel (OCAP) is made up of 30+ study participants who meet bi-monthly to provide insights and advice on study design, methodology and acceptability for participants.
- The ALSPAC Clinical Advisory Group (CAG) provide expert advice to the Executive and Board on clinical matters. In addition, researchers can seek advice from the Clinical Advisory Group on what clinical measures should be included in future data and sample collection sweeps. Members of the Clinical Advisory Group are healthcare professionals with full professional registration in the UK who currently provide patient care alongside their research interests.
- The Five Safes framework is a set of established principles which enable studies such as Children of the 90s to provide safe research access to your data and biomedical samples. Find out more here: 5 Safes Framework (PDF, 123kB)
Terms of reference
- ALSPAC Executive Committee terms of reference (PDF, 90kB)
- ALSPAC Senior Management Team terms of reference (PDF, 107kB)
- ALSPAC Board terms of reference (PDF, 142kB)
- ALSPAC ISAB terms of reference (PDF, 138kB)
- ALSPAC ALEC terms of reference (PDF, 360kB)
- ALSPAC OCAP terms of reference (PDF, 60kB)
- ALSPAC Clinical Advisory group terms of reference (PDF, 67kB)
Children of the 90s receives core funding from the UK Medical Research Council, the Wellcome Trust and the University of Bristol and additional support from many other funders for individual projects.
Children of the 90s is part of CLOSER. CLOSER, the home of longitudinal research, brings together world-leading longitudinal studies to maximise their use, value and impact and improve our understanding of key social and biomedical challenges.
You can search and browse questionnaires and datasets from the Children od the 90s study using the CLOSER Discovery search engine. CLOSER Discovery is an online platform that allows users to explore the content of multiple UK longitudinal studies. CLOSER Discovery is regularly updated to include more content from each longitudinal study. The full list of study questionnaires and datasets currently available in CLOSER Discovery, as well as the instruments that will be added at a later date, can be found on the website.