Skip to content
Closer - The home of longitudinal research

Inequalities: a longitudinal perspective

Thank you very much to everyone who attended the 2017 CLOSER conference, and helped make the event a success. Over 130 delegates joined us at the British Library Knowledge Centre, London from 1 – 2 November to explore what longitudinal evidence can tell us about societal inequalities.

About the conference

Inequalities continue to plague all areas of society, from education and income, to health and life expectancy. Successive governments and decades of policy initiatives have targeted the unequal life chances across communities, countries and generations.

But why do these disparities persist? And who faces the greatest risks? The UK’s longitudinal studies are leading sources of evidence on life course and intergenerational inequality. CLOSER’s 2017 conference sought to bring together researchers from across disciplines to showcase the contribution longitudinal research has made to our understanding of inequalities.

The conference gave longitudinal researchers, from across disciplines and sectors, the opportunity to share ideas and innovations with peers from both the UK and abroad.

Throughout the two day event, delegates had the opportunity to:

  • hear from leading experts from across the social and biomedical sciences
  • consider the potential for cross-study comparisons in their own research
  • network with colleagues from across disciplines, sectors and locations
  • learn about the latest resources for research.

During the event, the CLOSER communications team met with conference speakers to find out more about their research findings, and to discuss potential policy implications. Video interviews are below.



As always, we are grateful to our funders, the Economic and Social Research Council and the Medical Research Council, for their continued investment in important and innovative data infrastructure enhancements.

Keynote speakers

The Rt. Hon. the Lord David Willetts, Executive Chair of the Resolution Foundation spoke about intergenerational inequalities focusing particularly on the living standards of today’s millennials compared to Britain’s older generations.

The second keynote presentation was delivered by Professor Kate Pickett (University of York). Professor Pickett spoke about how longitudinal studies can improve our understanding of health inequalities.

Download the both sets of keynote presentation slides from the list below.

CLOSER’s resources for research

The conference showcased the latest resources for research, including CLOSER Discovery, a search engine that allows researchers to explore the content of eight leading UK longitudinal studies in unprecedented detail.

Professor Alison Park (CLOSER Director) also announced the official launch of the Learning Hub. This new online teaching resource introduces longitudinal studies to non-experts in both academic and policy settings.

Conference programme

Review the conference programme (pdf) here.

In total, 77 speakers presented 86 different papers over the course of the two days. The breakout sessions were split into the following topics:

  • Ageing
  • Childhood adversity
  • Childhood behaviour
  • CLOSER Discovery demonstrations
  • Economic activity
  • Education
  • Health
  • Mental health and wellbeing
  • Neighbourhood
  • ONS Longitudinal Study Symposium
  • Parenthood
  • Social activity

Conference presentations

Keynote presentations

Day one

Day two

Conference photography

A selection of photos taken during the conference can be found on CLOSER’s flickr page.

Social media

Keep up to date with the latest conference news by following #CLOSERconf on Twitter.


If you require further information or have any questions, please contact Jennie Blows (