The COORDINATE project organized a series of workshops in Brussels, Belgium, focusing on longitudinal and cohort data. These workshops aimed to enhance the awareness of non-academic stakeholders regarding the importance of the life course perspective and the use of longitudinal data for policy development, with a specific emphasis on child, youth, and family well-being. Through these seminars, participants had the opportunity to delve into life course research and understand how longitudinal data are essential to the understanding of family dynamics and the enhancement of child well-being. Designed and conducted by Damiano Uccheddu, postdoctoral researcher at the University of Louvain (UCLouvain), Center for Demographic Research (DEMO), and co-organized with Luisa Fadel, PhD researcher at UCLouvain, DEMO, the workshop series highlighted the practical implications of the life course approach. Participants, drawn from diverse fields, explored how longitudinal data can play a crucial role in understanding family dynamics, child well-being, and the impact of early life conditions and experiences on lifelong well-being.
On 31st May 2023, the second workshop took place at the National Archives of Belgium. The seminar brought together a diverse group of participants from international institutions, including the University of the Philippines, the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI), the University of Ghent, the University of Ulster, the Brussels Institute for Statistics and Analysis (BISA), the International Step by Step Association (ISSA), and DEMO (UCLouvain). Participants discussed the challenges in collecting longitudinal data, particularly for marginalized groups, and its impact on policymaking. They underscored the need for interdisciplinary approaches, solid research, and inclusivity in both research and policy development, with discussions extending to local and international levels. This highlighted the importance of scientific evidence-informed policy development.
The final workshop took place on 7th June 2023, at the Belgian Science Policy (BELSPO). Attendees from various European organizations – including the Bulgarian non-governmental organization “For Our Children Foundation”, the Italian Center for Child Health and Development (“Centro per la Salute del Bambino”), KU Leuven’s Research Institute for Work and Society (HIVA), BISA, Sciensano, Lire Et Ecrire en Wallonie, the University of Twente, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, and DEMO (UCLouvain) – participated in the event. The attendees discussed the practical implications of adopting a life course perspective in tackling societal issues. The discussions also centred on the importance of longitudinal data for socially marginalized and often overlooked groups like Roma children. Participants further deliberated on how education affects life paths, and policy considerations for individuals without children. The discourse reaffirmed the necessity of a holistic approach backed by solid longitudinal data in effective policymaking, particularly in improving child and family well-being.