NILS funding 2020-2025

Lead Research Organisation: Queen's University of Belfast
Department Name: Sch of Natural and Built Environment


The Northern Ireland Longitudinal Study (NILS) is an important element in the ESRC data infrastructure for population and public health research in Northern Ireland and across the constituent countries of the UK. It has strategic relationships with the other UKCenLSs and, within Northern Ireland, with the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA), the Public Health Agency (PHA), and the Honest Broker Service (HBS). Its 28% sample, which combines census data with administrative data from the healthcard register, social care, and housing, will span the period 1981-2021 when the link to the 2021 Census is completed. This enables the description and analysis of changing populations in changing places, individual fortunes over the life course, household contexts, as well as progress between successive generations. The grant will fund, until 2025, the NILS Research Support Unit (NILS-RSU) which has the functions of maintaining a secure data laboratory for users to work on these data safely, of supporting users from project application to publication, of promoting NILS-based research to policymakers and the public, of seeking new users through the promotion of the NILS, and of encouraging research for the public benefit. A major highlight of our work programme will be testing, using and developing research around the 2021 Census link. The NILS-RSU will also seek to widen the social and educational base of the NILS in Northern Ireland through engaging with new stakeholders and growing its contribution to education. It will also encourage research using the NILS and the other UK longitudinal studies to contribute to national and international research agendas whilst developing new research partnerships in Northern Ireland.
Description Big Data and the Information Age 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Undergraduate students
Results and Impact The NILS dataset and linkage template is used within a lecture for first year students within Digital Society module to demonstrate examples of data linkage. This lecture is hosted by one of the CI's (John Moriarty)
Students then use the linkage diagram as a template to create their own proposal for a linked dataset using open data resources, including NINIS, Open Data NI and ARK electoral archive. This introduces them to many different datasets containing information relating to NI
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
Description Policy Briefs for Researchers 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact NILS received ESRC Impact Acceleration Funding to host a workshop delivered by Bulletin, a strategic communications company. This was designed to support researchers in writing policy briefs from their NILS research findings.
This was a small workshop designed to provide personalised feedback and support in writing policy briefs from research findings. The company delivering the workshop were very knowledgeable in translating research to knowledge and provided information and templates to write policy briefs during a dedicated writing session during the day event. Following this, the host provided personal feedback and tips to each person on the course.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
Description Section 75 - a signposting guide 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Third sector organisations
Results and Impact The Equality Commission have produced a new guide which provides signposts to Section 75 information sources, to assist those working in this area to ensure that their policy making is evidence based and complies with their Section 75 requirements in this regard. NILS have contributed a section to this guide and the webinar was to launch and explain how to use the new guidance document. This was a webinar to provide advice for those working on developing or reviewing this policy to ensure that policy is evidence-based, focused on outcomes, forward looking, 'joined up' and meets Northern Ireland requirements.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021