Professor Chris Taylor was awarded an ESRC Mid-Career Development Fellowship to carry out an analysis of the Millennium Cohort Study (MCS). The Economic and Social Research Centre (ESRC) awards only 10 to 15 Mid-Career Development Fellowships each year. They are intended to enable outstanding researchers to develop their careers by taking their research in a new direction or to a new level.
The Fellowship – ‘Growing up in 21st Century Britain: spatial analysis of the Millennium Cohort Study’ – provided a unique opportunity to explore in detail the potential geographical benefits of longitudinal data and develop spatially-based analyses of this data within the mainstream social sciences area of education.
It also addressed a number of very important contemporary issues in relation to children growing up in the UK during the first decade of the 21st Century.
One of the main objectives of the Fellowship was to undertake new interdisciplinary research and analysis using the MCS in order to make a direct contribution to improving social welfare, social cohesion and well-being. Through its interdisciplinary research and analysis, the Fellowship will contribute directly to the evaluation of key educational policies and initiatives in Wales and the rest of the UK.
The Millennium Cohort Study (MCS) is a multi-disciplinary research project following the lives of around 19,000 children born in the UK in 2000/1. It is the most recent of Britain’s world-renowned national longitudinal birth cohort studies.
The study has been tracking the Millennium children through their early childhood years and plans to follow them into adulthood. The four surveys of MCS cohort members carried out so far – at age nine months, three, five and seven years – have built up a uniquely detailed portrait of the children of the new century. They have also amassed a vast amount of information on the children’s siblings and parents.
As well as contributing to social welfare and cohesion, the Fellowship was beneficial to academic researchers through activities intended to directly contribute to their methodological development. By utilising WISERD’s existing methodological and data integration expertise, the academic benefits of the Fellowship will be shared through WISERD’s Wales and UK-wide networks.
Key outputs from the Fellowship include: eight research presentations, five working papers, four submitted peer-reviewed journal articles, one new methodological network, one workshop, and a placement in the Welsh Government.
The Fellowship will establish and convene an MCS user group in Wales for members of the academic community and a range of public, private and third sector organisations. Following an initial face-to-face meeting of the group, WISERD will support means for virtual communication through the group’s own Virtual Research Environment (VRE).