There is no longitudinal survey, i.e. applied to the same people over an extended period of time, on children and young people, which is being developed simultaneously in several European countries. This obstructs and compromises comparability, the production of policies at a European level, the exchange of good practices on the well-being of children and young people, and the accumulation of knowledge production at this level. Magda Nico, a researcher at CIES-IUL, is part of the project that develops EuroCohort in order to overcome this shortcoming.
Following the MyWeb project, in which ISCTE-IUL also participated, a new project started in January 2018 to design the European research infrastructure for the implementation of a longitudinal and comparative survey at European level on the welfare and living conditions of children and young people. Magda Nico is a member of the project team representing ISCTE-IUL and leads one of the Working Packages (along with Nuno de Almeida Alves) and also moderates the Ethics Committee of the project.
This survey, EuroCohort, will be an instrument for collecting longitudinal information on individuals from birth up to the age of 25, and will enable policy-makers to make informed and necessary choices to ensure the well-being of children and young people.
As the researcher explains, "this is an innovative and ambitious project. It is innovative because, for the first time, steps are being taken to break the boundaries within Europe in the application of longitudinal surveys, especially on young people and children (concerning their objective and subjective well-being). We, the researchers and policymakers, have become accustomed to using Eurostat's longitudinal data on households (European Community Statistics on Income and Living Condition). But background work is needed to set up the necessary structure for launching and maturing complex inquiries of this nature. Well-being is, on the other hand, a holistic concept that when approached in its objective and subjective aspects can serve and bring into dialogue disciplines and fields of knowledge that are usually autonomous. It is ambitious because it has two legal and analytical specificities that present their own challenges: the fact of questioning minors (for some time still at a non-school age) and longitudinally (which implies the development of strategies to combat the loss of participants along the way)."
Magda Nico adds that "it is fundamental to introduce the variable" time" and consequently "historical context" in studies on the well-being of individuals, especially in the younger ages, in order to identify and understand how factors - individual, economic, historical - compete and interact in the changes and fluctuations of the well-being of an individual throughout 25 years. Only by introducing this variable is it possible to assess the impact of public policies from which the country or individuals may have benefited. The potential for fundamental and applied science on the basis of this questionnaire is enormous, and it is exciting to be able to contribute to its accomplishment."
This European Cohort Development Project entails the participation of 16 universities in a consortium coordinated by Gary Pollock of Manchester Metropolitan University and is funded by the European Commission under Horizon 2020.
More information here.