GUIDE (Growing Up In Digital Europe: EuroCohort) will be Europe’s first comparative birth cohort survey: a Research Infrastructure that will be an important source of high quality longitudinal statistical evidence to support the development of social policies which will enhance the wellbeing of children, young people and their families across Europe for many years to come. GUIDE/EuroCohort will be an accelerated cohort survey including a sample of new born infants as well as a sample of school age children. Both cohorts will be surveyed using a common questionnaire and data collection methodology at regular intervals until the age of 24 years. The data will be used by a broad community of researchers including health, child development, family studies, psychology, sociology, demography, and economics and will generate cross-culturally comparative results of potential great value to child and youth services and local government and European initiatives and policies.


There is currently no single data source to support the comparative analysis of the wellbeing of children and young people across Europe as they grow up. Some European countries have regularly invested in cohort surveys and have benefited from analyses drawn from longitudinal studies, such as Growing Up in Ireland, the British Cohort Studies, the French Longitudinal Study of Children, the Danish Longitudinal Survey of Children, and the National Education Panel on Early Education and Schooling in Germany. The merits of collecting national longitudinal data are widely recognised, and yet the current studies are not easily comparable as they contain different questions and are conducted at different times and on different age groups.

GUIDE/EuroCohort has been developed by a team of experts who represent the different scientific communities for whom the data will be essential for understanding how best to improve child wellbeing: namely regarding longitudinal survey methodology, child and youth development and wellbeing: namely regarding longitudinal survey methodology, child and youth development and wellbeing, demography, economics, psychology and sociology. The EU recognises the importance of high quality survey data to inform policy development through its investment in The Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE), and the Generations and Gender Programme. These surveys span the life-course from age 18 onwards, therefore GUIDE/EuroCohort will fill an important gap by providing data from birth to 24.

Steps to implementation

The feasibility study to scope the development of a Europe wide longitudinal survey with a focus on child wellbeing was undertaken by the MYWeB project (GA 613368). This project showed that such a survey technically possible and that there was also a strong desire among scientists, policy makers and practitioners for this data. MYWeB was followed by the European Cohort Development Project: ECDP (GA 777449) which developed the business case and research design for GUIDE/EuroCohort.

In ECDP the project partners developed the governance structure for GUIDE/EuroCohort and initiated the GUIDE/EuroCohort consortium which involves international networking with key stakeholders in each partner country to identify funding sources necessary for the implementation phase. ECDP has also developed the plan for the scientific parts of the preparation phase which involves piloting research instruments and developing an IT infrastructure to house data and facilitate user access and exploitation.