A new collaborative world-leading programme of research focused on improving the health and wellbeing of children and their families within the Liverpool City Region (LCR) has been awarded funding from Wellcome.
The ‘Children Growing-up in Liverpool (C-GULL)’ research study and data resource will be used to better understand and improve the lives of LCR children and their families. This will be the first newly established longitudinal birth cohort to be funded in the UK for almost 20 years.
Currently, Liverpool ranks highly in terms of the highest rates of child mortality and conditions such as asthma, type 2 diabetes, epilepsy and risk factors for poor health such as obesity, poor nutrition and low levels of physical activity.
To help develop a better understanding of these issues, researchers will collect information from 10,000 babies and their families, starting in pregnancy and over the first years of life, allowing changes in their health and development to be monitored and recorded over time.
The information gathered will provide important evidence for policy, practice and research that will ultimately help improve child health and development in the area.
C-GULL will launch next year bringing together citizens, researchers and clinicians across the Liverpool City Region and wider to make one of the largest family studies in the UK.
The study will be managed by the University of Liverpool and led by the University’s Executive Pro-Vice Chancellor, Professor Louise Kenny, in close collaboration with key partners: Wellcome, Liverpool City Region Combined Authority, Liverpool City Council and NHS Arden & GEM CSU (who host the Data Services for Commissioners Regional Offices).
It will be based at the Liverpool Women’s NHS Foundation Trust and delivered by people across a wide range of allied organisations including Liverpool Health Partners, SPARK, Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation Trust and the North West Coast Clinical Research Network.
Professor Louise Kenny, said: “Despite the region’s outstanding ability to pull together and look after each other we presently have no answers as to why our children get such a tough deal compared with others within the UK. We know there has been an alarming increase in health inequalities and infant mortality in our region, as highlighted in research led by colleagues in the Department of Public Health and Policy. This is a stark reminder of the challenges we face and the importance of our work to our local community.
“C-GULL will help us understand and address the many underlying health and social issues which drive these inequalities and, most importantly, help us to improve the future for the next generation of children.”
Mary De Silva, Head of Population Health at Wellcome, said: “We’re delighted to support what we see as the ‘next generation’ of cohort studies in the UK. With the involvement, trust and support of Liverpudlians, C-GULL will be linking detailed data about many aspects of the lives of children growing up in Liverpool with a wide range of routinely collected health, social and educational data.
“This is the first new birth cohort funded in the UK for 19 years, and one that we hope will have impacts not just on the lives of people in Liverpool, but across the UK.”
Wellcome exists to improve health by helping great ideas to thrive. It supports researchers, takes on big health challenges, campaigns for better science, and helps everyone get involved with science and health research. Wellcome is a politically and financially independent foundation.
More information about C-GULL can be found here.
For further information, please contact the Programme Management Team at CGULL@liverpool.ac.uk