About

Based at the University of Bristol, the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC), also known as Children of the 90s, 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 the most detailed study 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.

Who we are

The team is led by Professor Nic Timpson (principal investigator) and Professor George Davey Smith (scientific director).

The principal investigator (PI) has overall responsibility for all areas of activity in ALSPAC. The PI is supported by the ALSPAC executive in the execution of ALSPAC 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 (SMT) for all operational activity.

Governance

  • 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.

Terms of reference

Funding

We receive 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.

CLOSER 

ALSPAC 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 our 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.‌

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