By Professor Judith Squires, Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Provost
Since I started my monthly series of events to mark the highest levels of academic achievement across the University, we have had no shortage of people and awards to celebrate – and November was no exception. For our latest Provost Celebration of Academic Achievement held on the 21 November, we celebrated the fantastic news of the £8.2 million renewal award received for the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC) over the next five years from Wellcome and the Medical Research Council (MRC). This funding, along with University support, will enable ALSPAC to continue its vitally important international research into health, wellbeing and social science using data and samples collected from thousands of families at a key time in the lives, marking a whole series of life events which have often been understudied.
We were delighted to have the opportunity to celebrate with the ALSPAC team, as well as some of the study participants whose health, plus that of their children, has been charted since Professor Jean Golding set up the Children of the 90s study back in 1991. Some of you may have heard Professor Golding speak of the problems and pitfalls she faced when first setting up Children of the 90s at the EDI ‘Their Stories’ event on the 3 December 2019. As a result of the dedication of the ALSPAC team the study has prospered, and it is now internationally recognised as the premier multi-generational birth cohort. To date, the information and samples provided by participants have already informed more than 2,000 research papers on some of the most pressing health questions of our time, including childhood obesity, air pollution and mental health.
Special thanks of the evening went to the Principal Investigator, Nic Timpson and the CIs who supported him in securing this funding; ALSPAC staff from all areas who worked hard to support the team throughout the funding process; the funders for allowing this important research to continue; and of course the study participants who form the heart of the study and without whom the research would not be possible.
We are taking a break from the Provost Celebration of Academic Achievement for the festive season, but we look forward to celebrating more University of Bristol successes in the New Year.