MRC/ESRC Adolescent Health Study Call for Study Sites

Closing Date: 04/12/2023

Funding to establish four to seven Adolescent Health Study (AHS) study sites across the UK. Together, the sites will recruit and retain around 100,000 young people, aged 8 to 18 at enrolment, and will follow their health and wellbeing for a period of 10 years.

The Medical Research Council’s (MRC) Adolescent Health Study (AHS) is a £62 million longitudinal population study and data platform focusing on the critical biological and social developments that occur during adolescence.

The study will aim to recruit and retain around 100,000 young people, aged 8 to 18 at enrolment, and will follow their health and wellbeing for a period of 10 years. Recruitment will take place predominantly through schools. The award will last for 12 years; the initial two-year pilot phase of AHS will commence in 2024, to be followed by a 10-year period of recruitment.

This opportunity from the MRC and Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) will provide funding to enable eligible organisations to lead an AHS study site. Four to seven study sites will be identified across the UK as part of this process. A coordinating hub for the study will be identified and its director appointed through a separate process.

Each individual study site is expected to recruit across the full age range of AHS (8-18). In aggregate, the chosen study sites will need to reflect the ethnic and socio-economic diversity of the UK population; however, individual sites may differ in their levels of representation. Applicants should have a track record of successful engagement with children and adolescents and working with school networks or other relevant institutions.

Each study site is expected to recruit approximately 20,000 participants; however, higher and lower recruitment targets will be considered. Applicants are encouraged to collaborate to submit regional applications where appropriate or necessary to meet the study site recruitment requirements. The funders do not plan to fund multiple study sites in the same region.

A core set of scientific areas and strategic priorities for data and sample collection will be pre-specified, potentially including:

  • Anthropometric.
  • Saliva (for genetics and hormonal profiling).
  • Physical and mental health.
  • Diet, sleep and physical exercise.
  • Puberty.
  • Socio-economic factors.
  • Cognitive abilities and educational experience.
  • Home, community and school environment.
  • Environmental data.
  • Interpersonal relationships and influences including in-person and online or digital experience.

Data and sample collection beyond this core set will be determined by the director in consultation with a range of key stakeholders, and applicants are asked to propose research priorities for data collection in their expression of interest. The aim is to achieve a comprehensive and accessible platform of data on adolescence which will be of value to the wider research community.

Applicants should consider approaches for recruiting from groups who have been less well represented in previous studies. Local engagement and co-production with participants and their families, schools, local authorities and other key stakeholders is essential.

Funding body Medical Research Council (MRC)
Maximum value £30,000,000
Reference ID S25714
Category Economic and Social Research
Medical Research
Fund or call Fund