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Gary Pollock

Co-Director of GUIDE 


Gary Pollock is Professor of Sociology at Manchester Metropolitan University in the UK.  Over the last ten years Gary has led a series of EU funded multi-partner, multi-country projects which have supported the development of GUIDE.  The feasibility and desirability of a European comparative longitudinal study focussing on child wellbeing were scoped through the MYWEB project.  This was followed by the European Cohort Development project (ECDP) which developed the business case and initiated the research design and tool development and positioned GUIDE to be included on the 2021 European Roadmap for Research Infrastructures.  Gary currently leads the COORDINATE project which is strengthening the community of stakeholders working to improve child wellbeing across Europe.  Within this project the GUIDE pilot surveys have been funded as has this event here in Florence. 

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Jennifer Symonds

Co-Director of GUIDE


Jennifer Symonds is Co-Director of Growing Up in Digital Europe (GUIDE), Europe’s first longitudinal cohort study of children and young people’s wellbeing. She is also Director of CLOSER, the UK’s flagship organisation for communicating the value and utility of longitudinal population studies through policy and dialogue, education, and data discovery. Jennifer's research focuses on the development of wellbeing and engagement as people age from birth to 24-years old and transition through educational and occupational environments. Her work on children’s wellbeing and longitudinal population studies has been recognised through appointments as an expert advisor for Growing Up in Ireland, Growing Up in Scotland, Eurofound, Ireland’s Department of the Taoiseach’s National Wellbeing Framework, and Ukraine’s First Lady Survey of Child Wellbeing.

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Marie-Louise Coleiro

President of Eurochild


Former President of Malta, Marie Louise Coleiro Preca served in politics for 45 years and was a Member of Parliament for 16 years.  She was the very first elected female GeneralSecretary of one of the two main political parties in Malta.  Coleiro Preca also served at the Council of Europe.  As Minister for the Family and Social Solidarity, she initiated numerous social reforms. The Maltese Parliament unanimously elected Ms Coleiro Preca as President of Malta in 2014.


Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca was President of Malta between 2014 and 2019.


Coleiro Preca founded and chairs The Malta Foundation for the Wellbeing of Society, The Malta Trust Foundation, The Emanuele Cancer Research Foundation Malta, and Fondazzjoni Nazareth. 


President Emeritus Coleiro Preca is President of Eurochild, and the Mediterranean Children’s Movement. She works with and for children in Europe and beyond. She is an eminent speaker, a strong advocate of children’s rights and passionately promotes child participation, ensuring children attain their aspirations. She is also Member of the Council of World Women Leaders, and Member of the WPL Global Forum Advisory Board.


Marie Louise Coleiro Preca graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree, in Legal and Humanistic Studies, and a Notary Public from the University of Malta.  Ms Coleiro Preca is also Honorary Professor of the University of Warwick, Honorary Doctor of Laws from University of Leicester (UK), and Honorary Doctor of Literature from the University of Malta.


Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca is deeply passionate and vociferous about improving the lives of the most vulnerable in society, continuing to be so throughout her life, Her Presidency, and beyond. She is a strong advocate, and an avid speaker on social issues including social justice, equality and equity, children’s rights and gender equality.


Dominic Richardson

Managing Director

The Learning for Well-being Institute


Dominic Richardson is the managing Director of the Learning for Well-being Institute, a global research ‘start-up’ working to promote a more holistic appreciation ofchild well-being in public policy and practice. For almost a decade, Dominic led UNICEF’s research work, first on education and then on social policy and economic analysis at the Office of Research – Innocenti, where he oversaw work on cash transfers and cash plus programmes in sub-Saharan Africa, social expenditure and ECD policies, the Innocenti Report Card Series, and global research on family policies and child development and well-being. Dominic previously worked with OECD Social Policy Division on a broad range of studies covering child well-being, evaluating family policies, integrating human services, and social impact investment.

Dominic has led or co-authored multiple reports on comparative child well-being in high-income countries, including studies evaluating the content and quality of international surveys of school children in high and middle- income countries, studies of children’s life skills development in middle income settings, and studies of teacher absenteeism and motivation in low-income settings. His most recent work on child well-being ‘What Makes Me?’ is a review of global literature on age-related child development of innate human skills. Dominic wasawarded the 2018 Jan Trost Award (lifetime achievement) for Outstanding Contributions in International Family Studies by the National Council for Family Relations in the United States.

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Toni Babarovic



Toni Babarović is a scientific advisor at the Ivo Pilar Institute of Social Sciences in Zagreb and full professor at the University of Zagreb, Croatia. His main research interests are in the fields of youth well-being, their vocational and educational guidance, research methodology and statistics. He published over 50 refereed journal articles and book chapters.

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Ognjen Obucina



Ognjen Obućina obtained his PhD in Sociology from Pompeu Fabra University (Barcelona) in 2012. He currently works as a Tenured Researcher at INED (Institut national d’études démographiques) in Paris-Aubervilliers. He is the co-director of the French GUIDE team and the co-director of the “International Migrations and Minorities” Research Group at INED. His work is focused on the integration and well-being of immigrants and their children.


Vera Skalicka



Vera Skalicka’s research focuses on child and adolescent development, mental health and well-being, as well as social inequalities in health, applying psychological and sociological perspectives. She is member of the research group organized around the longitudinal cohort The Trondheim Early Secure Study (TESS) and member of CHAIN (Centre for Global Health Inequalities Research) at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU).


Marcel Das



Marcel Das has been the director of Centerdata since September 2000. He graduated (cum laude) in General Econometrics / Statistics at Tilburg University (The Netherlands) and later received his PhD from the same university. He worked as a researcher following his PhD and later as a senior researcher at CentER Applied Research – an institute for applied economic research affiliated with Tilburg University. Marcel has led many national and international research projects and published scientific articles in international journals in the field of statistical and empirical analyses of survey data and methodological issues in web-based (panel) surveys. He has been professor of Econometrics and Data Collection at the Department of Econometrics and Operations Research at the Tilburg School of Economics and Management since 2009. Marcel is a member of the Management Board of the Open Data Infrastructure for Social Science and Economic Innovations (ODISSEI, and a member of several scientific advisory boards of (inter)national large-scale data infrastructures.


Tom Emery



Tom Emery is an Associate Professor at Erasmus University Rotterdam and the Deputy Director of ODISSEI (, the Dutch National Infrastructure for Social Science, where he is responsible for the strategic development of the infrastructure and international collaborations. He's deeply passionate about improving social science data and the infrastructure that is needed for its collection, processing and dissemination. He believes that the social sciences can help us understand and improve society, but to do so we must improve and diversify the data we use in social research. Because of this, he's a strong advocate of open science and the FAIR principles. He also conducts research on family sociology and demographic behaviour. Good demographic data is the vital basis for understanding all manner of social issues from changes in consumer trends through to assessing environmental impacts. You need to know how many people there are, and who they are.

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Marie-Cécile Rouillon

European Commission's Coordinator for the Rights of the Child


Marie-Cécile Rouillon has been the European Commission's Coordinator for the Rights of the Child, in the Directorate-General for justice and consumers, since March 2022. She is in charge of implementing the EU Strategy for the Rights of the Child and mainstreaming children’s right across EU policies, while closely liaising with children’s rights civil society organisations and stakeholders.

Since she joined the European Commission in 2006, she has worked on challenging files, notably in the areas of Home Affairs and Migration (e.g., new Pact on migration and asylum, interoperability of EU information systems, support to Italy and Greece during the migration crisis), Employment & Social inclusion (i.e., EU Strategy for persons with disabilities), Research & Innovation (in partnership with the European Investment Bank), and Education & Culture. Graduated from Sciences Po. Paris, she started her carrier in the management of international events in Europe and in Japan.


Rory Fitzgerald



Professor Rory Fitzgerald became Director of theEuropean Social Survey (ESS) in 2013 having been a Senior Research Fellow at City, University of London since 2004. In November 2013, the UK and 14 other European governments established the European Social Survey as a European Research Infrastructure Consortium (ESS ERIC) – an independent international research organisation hosted at City, University of London. ESS ERIC now has 28 Members. Rory is the first Director of ESS ERIC and oversees the ESS Core Scientific Team (CST) and the ESS National Coordinators Forum. In addition to these committees he works closely with the General Assembly as well as the Scientific and Methods advisory boards.

The ESS is a rigorous comparative biennial survey of changing attitudes and values in up to 34 European countries. With other members of the CST, he was awarded the Descartes Prize in 2005 for excellence incollaborative scientific research. In 2016 the ESS was declared to be a landmark infrastructure by the European Strategy Forum for Research Infrastructures in Europe (ESFRI). There are more than 215,000 registered users of ESS data and almost 6000 publications that analyse the data available online.

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Letizia Mencarini 



Letizia Mencarini is a Full Professor of Demography at Bocconi University, a Fellow at the DONDENA Center for Research on Social Dynamics and Public Policy, and at the COVID Crisis Lab at Bocconi University. She is also affiliated with the Center for Demography and Ecology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She is recognized as an expert by Population Europe and is among the Leading Women Scientists of AcademiaNet. She serves as an Associate Editor for the European Sociological Review and is a member of the editorial board of Neodemos, an online Italian blog covering topics related to population, society, and politics. She is the Principal Investigator of research projects focusing on low fertility and family demography. She has authored numerous papers published in international scientific journals and has written books in Italian about »women, the job market, and fertility« as well as the »demographic trap« in Italy for the general public.

Within the Gender Generation Programme, Letizia represents Bocconi University in the GGP Consortium Board and coordinates a Work Package (WP) on Strategic Partnership in the EU-funded GGP-5D project. This project aims to consolidate the strategic position of the GGP in the landscape of Research Infrastructures (RIs) and prepare the GGP-ERIC.


Radim Bohacek



Radim Bohacek is a senior economist at CERGE-EI in Prague, Czech Republic. He obtained his PhD in Economics from the University of Chicago. Since 2006, he has been the coordinator of SHARE (Survey of Health, Ageing, and Retirement in Europe) in the Czech Republic. He has published in top economic journals such as Journal of Economic Theory, Journal of Monetary Economics, or Economic Journal. His research focuses on general equilibrium models with heterogeneous agents, asymmetric information, computational economics, survey methodology, and economic history.


Gabriella Conti



Gabriella Conti is a Professor of Economics in the Department of Economics and in the Social Research Institute at University College London; and Research Fellow at the Institute for Fiscal Studies, at the Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) and at IZA Bonn. She is also an Associate Editor at the Journal of Health Economics and at Health Economics, Trustee at the Foundation Years Information and Research, and scientific adviser of the Lancet Commission for Gender-Based Violence and Maltreatment of Young People.

Her research areas of interest are health economics, the economics of human development, and biology and economics. Her research studies the causes and consequences of inequalities in health, and examines lifecourse impacts, mechanisms and Returns of Investments, of policies aimed at preventing or reducing them, with a focus on women’s and children’s well-being. She often uses novel sources of data, such as biomarkers (ranging from fetal ultrasound scans to genetic markers), combined with linked administrative records and survey data. She has studied several interventions, such as the iconic Perry Preschool, Abecedarian and Nurse Family Partnership programs in the United States; and large-scale programmes such as Sure Start, Family Nurse Partnership, Universal Health Visiting and Healthy Start in England; RSBY in India, Seguro Popular in Mexico and SAFPI in Ecuador. She has been working with stakeholders and policymakers from the United Kingdom (Department of Health and Social Care), Mexico (Ministry of Health) and Ecuador (Ministry of Education).

She has published on this topic in top journals in different disciplines, such as Science, PNAS, Pediatrics, the Economic Journal, the Journal of Public Economics, the Journal of Econometrics and Lancet. My research has been supported among others by the NIH, H2020, ERC, UKRI, Nuffield Foundation, Health Foundation, British Academy. Her work has been mentioned among others in the New York Times, Financial Times, The Times, The Guardian, The Wall Street Journal, discussed in the British Parliament, and cited in the 2023 Report of the President of the United States.

In 2019 she was awarded the Philip Leverhulme Prize in Economics (for her project on “Evaluating the Costs and Benefits of Universal Health Visiting in UK”), which “recognises the achievement of outstanding researchers whose work has already attracted international recognition and whose future career is exceptionally promising”; and the Nick Hales Award from the DOHaD society, for a “young and emerging investigator who has made an outstanding scientific contribution to the DOHaD field”. She is also the PI of a 5-year ERC Consolidator Award from the European Research Council (SH1 Economics Panel) for her project “The Developmental Origins of Health: Biology, Shocks, Investments, and Policies”.

She holds a PhD in Economics from the University of Essex (2008). Prior to joining UCL in 2013, she was a Post-Doctoral Scholar (under the mentorship of Nobel Prize Winner James Heckman) and then an Assistant Professor at the University of Chicago.

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