Neville Butler Memorial Lecture 2012: Why Birth Cohort Studies Matter - Contributions to Science and Policy

17th May 2012 17:30 to 19:30

John Hobcraft is ESRC Strategic Adviser for Data Resources and the Professor of Demography and Social Policy at the University of York.

This talk will begin by examining the role of birth cohort studies in the context of longitudinal studies more generally. The UK leadership role will be emphasised and tribute paid to the vision and foresight of the initiators of birth cohort studies, including David Glass, James Douglas and, of course, Neville Butler.

The main body of the talk will draw upon illustrative examples of the contribution of birth cohort studies both to the advancement of scientific understanding and in raising and answering questions on policy agendas. Examples will be drawn from a range of birth cohort studies, a range of scientific and policy domains, and cover different phases of the life course. The key importance of examining multiple determinants and multiple outcomes across the life-course and identifying persistent and lasting effects will be drawn out, partly using examples from my own work. The need for greater engagement with neuroscience and genomics in understanding mechanisms involved in lasting effects will also be emphasised, with some examples. Equally the need for policies to be tailored to recognise the importance of people’s life experiences will be drawn out. The key role of birth cohort studies in providing evidence for current policy concerns and evaluations, such as SureStart, social mobility, and the importance of early years will also be addressed.

The Neville Butler Memorial Lecture, supported by Neville Butler’s estate and the Neville Butler Memorial Fund is organised jointly by Longview and the Centre for Longitudinal Studies at the Institute of Education.

Each lecture centres on a topic of wide interest to people engaged in longitudinal research and life course study. In recognition of Neville’s considerable contribution in the area of child health and development, the main orientation of the early lectures will be towards child health and its later consequences through the life course.

For further details contact:

Richard Bull
tel: 020 7612 6804