Developing A Child Cohort Strategy For Europe

Martine Vrijheid (ISGlobal)
Funded by
European Comission
January 2010 saw the launch of the CHICOS project (“Developing a Child Cohort Research Strategy for Europe”) funded through FP7 and coordinated by Martine Vrijheid at CREAL. The project aims to develop an integrated strategy for birth cohort research through the coordination of the most important European cohorts. Eight collaborators from cohorts in Denmark, Greece, Italy, The Netherlands, Norway, Spain and the United Kingdom are working to develop a comprehensive overview of comprehensive set of policy-relevant recommendations for cohort research in key child health areas. .

Mother-child cohorts are currently collecting a wealth of information on childhood diseases and their determinants across Europe. These data are often fragmented and there is little coordination to structure and consolidate scattered research. Although cohort research carries large potential policy implications, messages are not always filtering through to policy at national and European level. CHICOS brings together partners from some of the oldest and largest cohorts in Europe with important newer cohorts, and cohorts from relatively underrepresented regions of Europe. All relevant cohorts in Europe will be asked to join the project workshops, the inventory, case studies, and the working groups.

CHICOS aims to make an inventory all mother-child cohorts in Europe, and to evaluate existing information on outcomes and determinants from these cohorts. Gaps in knowledge and coverage will be identified, and recommendations for research action at European level for the next 15 years will be developed. CHICOS is structured along key child health disease and determinant themes where European cohorts can and should work together towards a more solid evidence base, such as asthma, obesity, neurodevelopment, social inequalities, nutrition, environmental exposures, and genetic factors.

Recommendations will also be made to improve the contribution of mother-child cohort research to policy at the European level following a thorough review of the extent to which cohorts have contributed to current European child health policies, and of the needs of policy makers in this area.

A stakeholder forum will be set up to contain representatives of key organisations associated with child health research and policy making. With this forum, we hope to develop a sustainable resource for advice and dissemination of research results to aid policy development.

  • ISGlobal, Spain
  • Syddansk Universitet, Denmark
  • University of Crete, Greece
  • Universita Degli Studi Di Torino, Italy
  • Erasmus Universitair Medisch Centrum, The Netherlands
  • Nasjonalt Folkehelseinstitutt, Norway
  • University of Bristol, United Kingdom
  • National School of Public Health, Greece

Our Team

Principal Investigator (PI)

  • Martine Vrijheid
    Martine Vrijheid Head of the Childhood and Environment Programme, Research Professor and Coordinator of INMA-Sabadell Cohort

ISGlobal Team

  • Emmanouil Kogevinas
    Emmanouil Kogevinas
  • Marius Joannes Nieuwenhuijsen
    Marius Joannes Nieuwenhuijsen
  • Maria Isabel Casas Sanahuja
    Maria Isabel Casas Sanahuja
  • Jordi Sunyer
    Jordi Sunyer Research Professor

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See Past Projects


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Exposures to light pollution and heat, and neurodevelopment in adolescents


Fine Particle Matter, Fetal Growth, and Neurodevelopment: Examining Critical Windows of Susceptibility


Pre-natal exposure to urban AIR pollution and pre- and post-Natal Brain development


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The APBO Project

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Light at Night Exposure and Sleep Quality


Radiofrequency Electromagnetic Fields, Other Environmental Factors, and Development of the Embryo and Fetus


The Impact of Maternal-Fetal Steroid Metabolome Exposure on Child GROwth and Neurological Outcomes


The role of seafood and nut consumption on human neurodevelopment from pregnancy to adolescence