Spring 2014 Edition

/ Welcome
Welcome to the Spring edition of the NILS News
Welcome to the latest issue of NILS News which keeps you up-to-date on the Northern Ireland Longitudinal Study (NILS), and the related Northern Ireland Mortality Study (NIMS), including latest news, events and publications.
2011 UK LS Census Linkage Launch

The UK LS 2011 Census Linkage Launch Event took place on Thursday 6th March 2014 at Church House, London. CALLS Hub organised the event on behalf of the Office for National Statistics (ONS), Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA), National Records of Scotland (NRS) and the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). There were key presentations from UK Statistics Authority, ESRC and LSs on the new Census 2011 data.
Prof. Paul Boyle (ESRC) and Sir Andrew Dilnot (UK Statistics Authority) provided the key speeches outlining the value and unique qualities of the UK LSs and pointed out the efforts that need to be made to make more use of these resources.
Ian Shuttleworth represented the NILS and spoke of the value of the LSs together to facilitate comparisons within the UK. Ian also highlighted the value of these resources individually, where data is permanently linked with continued potential influence. Two of our NILS researchers Dr Mark McCannDr David Wright presented very well on the outcome of their Beta-test projects. Further information relating to the morning and afternoon sessions can be found on the CALLS website.

The Grief Study
NILS project 061
“The Grief Study: sociodemographic determinants of poor mental health following the death of a family member” was the first Distinct Linkage Project to utilise prescription information including an anonymous ID code for the GP Practice within which the NILS member is registered. This identifier allowed the research team to account for the natural ‘clustering’ of patients within practices, using multilevel modelling approaches.
The Grief Study uses antidepressant prescription medication as a proxy indicator of poor mental health and the models have found that there is some degree of variation in prescribing rates between practices. It is the first project to utilise the anonymous ID code for the GP practices to account for this variation in their analyses to ensure the results always present the correct model coefficients. This is a major step forward for the NILS and has paved the way for more projects to incorporate this important data into their analysis plans!
Project Ideas
Do you know of any potential NILS projects that are in the pipeline? Informing the RSU helps with resource planning and allocation.
Ideas will be treated as ‘Academic – in confidence’.
Potential projects can be very early ideas, reasonably well developed ideas or projects almost ready to go to the Research Approvals Group(RAG). As a minimum we need to know when project application forms are being drafted. All we need is a very short 10-15 word title.
We are regularly asked at the Steering Group, RAG and by funders what the demand may be like in the coming months. We need researchers to keep us informed so we can answer these queries and allow us to plan ahead.
New NILS Data Release
Now that the 2011 census work is completed, the frequency and routine of NILS receiving data downloads is becoming more regular. We are planning to routinely release NILS data updates on a bi-annual basis in June and January.
As of Monday 31st March we have updated the data to include Health Download data until October 2013, GRO Births and Deaths until end 2012 and a new NIMS11 database with Death data to end 2012 linked to 2011 Census data.
The next scheduled release dates are:
  • 30th June 2014 and will include Health Download data until April 2014; and
  • 31st January 2015 and will include Health Download data until October 2014, GRO Births and Deaths until end 2013 and an updated NIMS11 database with Death data to end 2013.
This pattern will continue each year with the data release in June to include the April Health download from the same year and the January release to include the October Health download and GRO data from the latest Registrar General report. However, it should be noted that this timetable is dependent on the data providers transferring the data to us on time and we will endeavour to let users know as soon as possible if there are any issues with the scheduled releases.
Changes to NILS RAG Dates
The NILS Research Approvals Group (NILS RAG) meets every two months to consider applications for approval. A schedule has been released for NILS RAG meetings for the coming months. It should be noted that new applications must be submitted to the NILS-RSU by 5pm TEN WORKING DAYS prior to the RAG meeting for consideration.
RAG Application Deadline / NILS RAG Dates
1st May 2014 / 15th May 2014
More information on developing potential projects can be found in the Access section of the NILS-RSU website. For more detail contact the NILS-RSU.
Policy Impact Questionnaire
Are you involved with a current project or have you recently completed research on a project? If so we would like to remind you about our Policy Impact Questionnaire.
Your response would be greatly appreciated as it will help us to collect regular and up-to-date information on the public policy impact of all NILS and NIMS research. This will enable the array of public policy relevant research that has been completed to be demonstrated and help justify the current and future funding of the NILS and NIMS research.
NILS Approved Researcher
We are introducing a NILS Approved Researcher status. All new and existing researchers on the NILS and NIMS will be required to complete an application form relating to their experience and professionalism. All those researchers who wish to come to the safe-setting will be required to have completed Safe Researcher Training and have Baseline Personal Security standard (BPSS) clearance. An email with more details will be issued in the near future.
Dates For Your Diary
NILS 2011 Link Launch Event / 5th June
Safe Researcher Training / 28th April
The NILS 2011 Launch Event will take place on Thursday 5th June 2014.
The next Safe researcher training session will take place in McAuley House on Monday 28th April 2014 at 2pm. Safe researcher training is provided by RSU on a monthly basis.
Keep an eye on the NILS RSU website and twitter account for more upcoming training dates and more information on the Launch.
Easter Closure
Also just a reminder that the NILS-RSU will be closed on Monday 21st & Tuesday 22nd April for the Easter break. NILS-RSU will reopen on Wednesday 23rd April 2014.
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