CLOSER funding extended to September 2024

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CLOSER's logoCLOSER is pleased to announce that its funding from the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) has been extended until September 2024, enabling us to continue maximising the visibility, use, and impact of longitudinal population studies, data, and research.

Over the next two-and-a-half-years, CLOSER will focus on three key areas of work:

• Data discoverability: we will increase the use, visibility, and awareness of LPS datasets through advancing and expanding both the content contained in, and the research services provided by, CLOSER Discovery
• Policy and dialogue: we will build on our position as a trusted and authoritative source in the policy landscape, mobilise data and research from multiple LPS to policy and decision makers, and generate demonstrable impact across a range of policy areas
• Training and capacity building: we will work to sustain, develop, and grow a critical mass of professional and research capacity and skills in the management, conduct, and analysis of longitudinal studies by filling important gaps in current provision.

CLOSER will also ensure a lasting and meaningful legacy for the data harmonisation and linkage work previously undertaken.

“CLOSER is a key ESRC data infrastructure investment and we are delighted to confirm its funding has been extended,” said Dr Jen Gold, Director of Research at ESRC. “The UK is fortunate to have a world-leading range of longitudinal population studies to improve our understanding of important social and biomedical challenges – from mental health to obesity. CLOSER has established itself as a hugely valuable centre of excellence in making longitudinal population studies data more easily accessible to researchers and working with policy makers to ensure its research outputs inform decision making.”

As the transition to a new funding period begins, Professor Rebecca Hardy will step down from her role as CLOSER Director to take up a new post as Professor of Epidemiology and Medical Statistics at Loughborough University.

Prof Hardy has led CLOSER since April 2019, overseeing the successful expansion of the consortium to 19 partner studies the following year. Prior to that, she led the organisation’s training and capacity building programme and served as a member of the Leadership Team and Executive Group.

“It has been a great privilege to direct CLOSER, and a pleasure to work with the talented and dedicated CLOSER team and CLOSER’s amazing partner studies and organisations. I would like to thank everyone involved in CLOSER for their support and hard work particularly over the last two very challenging years,” said Prof Hardy.

“I am proud that I leave CLOSER in position of strength having successfully secured the new 2.5-year grant. I am confident that CLOSER will build on this platform going forward and will continue to provide and develop valuable resources for the longitudinal population studies community across the social and biomedical sciences.”

Prof Hardy is due to leave her post on 31 March 2022 and will be replaced in an interim capacity by Professor Emla Fitzsimons (Director, Millennium Cohort Study).

CLOSER was previously funded by the ESRC and the Medical Research Council from 2012-2017, and by the ESRC from 2017-2024.

Further information

External link: ESRC