The UK has a world-leading portfolio of longitudinal population-based studies. However, there is a critical gap during adolescence, where we do not have large-scale studies.
This project arose from a research community requirement for infrastructure to support studies on adolescence. It is designed to include representation from the full range of socioeconomic and ethnic groups. AHS will address this need, and enable researchers to understand the health and developmental trajectories of adolescents in the 2020s.
AHS will be a longitudinal population study and data platform, and expects to recruit 100,000 participants aged eight to 18 years old from 2026, following a two-year pilot phase.
The study will use an accelerated design, where all age groups are recruited simultaneously, to allow the different transitions occurring during adolescence to be studied in a rapid timeframe. Recruitment will largely take place through schools, and the study will be co-designed with young people and other key stakeholders.
The two phases of the AHS design are:
- An initial two-year phase of engagement work to optimise recruitment and retention strategies, and an internal pilot to test and improve study processes.
- A subsequent 10-year phase to recruit all remaining participants and study their development.
The project was prioritised for funding by the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) Infrastructure Advisory Committee in October 2021. Development of a formal business case is underway, to secure approval and funding from UKRI and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).