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04 July 2023

UK Longitudinal Linkage Collaboration awarded £6.4m

New funding from MRC/ESRC will allow partnership between leading UK longitudinal studies, including King’s-led studies GLAD and EDGI UK will enable cross-sector working and supporting research responses to immediate situations and future policy needs.

UK LLC logo

The UK Longitudinal Linkage Collaboration (UK LLC) – a partnership between leading UK longitudinal studies, including King’s-led studies GLAD, TwinsUK, and EDGI UK – has been awarded £6.4 million of funding by the Medical Research Council (MRC) and the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC).

UK LLC is a national interdisciplinary research resource that brings together data from over 20 longitudinal UK studies. The award, which runs until the end of 2028, will allow UK LLC to cement its position as a unique research resource, enabling cross-sector working and supporting research responses to immediate situations and future policy needs.

We are delighted to contribute to this wonderful national infrastructure, especially because it will enable faster and better scientific discovery in mental health. The LLC includes NIHR Mental Health BioResource studies, including GLAD (Genetic Links to Anxiety and Depression), EDGI UK (the UK Eating Disorders Genetics Initiative).

Professor Gerome Breen, Co-PI GLAD

By joining information from many different studies, the UK LLC increases the sample sizes that can be used in research. These larger samples increase the diversity of people included in research and makes it possible to study rare conditions. Among the studies included in UKLLC are GLAD and EDGI UK, and Twins UK. TEDS is also currently in the process of becoming part of the UKLLC.

We have been consulting with twin participants from the Twins Early Development Study about medical record linkage and are actively seeking the relevant permissions. We are really enthusiastic about the LLC and very pleased to hear of the recent funding granted. The opportunity the LLC offers for secure data storage and the expertise available through this national collaboration provide a real step change in the methods we can use to understand and tackle mental health conditions.

Professor Thalia Eley, Co-PI GLAD, & Director of the Twins Early Development Study (TEDS)


Funded as part of the COVID-19 Longitudinal Health and Wellbeing National Core Study the UK Longitudinal Linkage Collaboration (UK LLC) is an innovative project for linking well-established longitudinal studies to routine records. The data is held in a Trusted Research Environment, established by SeRP UK, where linked data from the studies taking part can be used in COVID-19 research across the UK. This work is driven by the Universities of Bristol and Edinburgh, in collaboration with SeRP UK, Swansea University, University of Leicester and UCL.


The Eating Disorders Genetics Initiative (EDGI) is the UK’s largest ever research project on eating disorders. Our aim is to collect the psychological, medical, and genetic information of 10,000 people with experience of any eating disorder. This will help to better understand the role both our genes and environment play in the development of these illnesses. A deeper understanding of eating disorders means we will be better equipped to help those who are experiencing them. EDGI UK is part of an international collaboration, with many countries coming together as part of the same initiative.

About GLAD

The Genetic Links to Anxiety and Depression (GLAD) Study, led by the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) Mental Health BioResource and researchers at King’s College London, in collaboration with researchers at Queen’s University Belfast, University of Edinburgh, and Cardiff University, is a project set up to support studies exploring risk factors for depression and/or anxiety. Depression and anxiety are the most common mental health disorders worldwide. In the UK, 1 in 3 people will experience symptoms during their lifetime. The GLAD Study aims to better understand depression and anxiety in order to find effective treatments and improve the lives of people experiencing these disorders.

About TwinsUK

TwinsUK is the UK’s largest adult twin registry and the most clinically detailed in the world. With over 15,000 identical and non-identical twins from across the UK, with ages between eighteen and one hundred the study is one of the most deeply characterised adult twin cohort in the world, providing a rich platform for scientists to research health and ageing longitudinally. More than 1,000 data access collaborations and 250,000 samples have been shared with external researchers, resulting in over 800 publications since 2012. There are over 700,000 biological samples stored and data collected on twins with repeat measures at multiple timepoints.

About TEDS

The Twin Early Development Study (TEDS) is one of the leading large-scale twin studies in the world. Starting in 1994, it has followed twins born in England and Wales throughout their childhood and adolescence and has now continued into early adulthood. Over 16,000 pairs of twins originally signed up for the study and more than 10,000 families remain involved to the present day. TEDS' main goal is to gain better insights into the roles of genes and environment in shaping who we are.

In this story

Gerome Breen IoPPN

Professor of Psychiatric Genetics

Thalia Eley profile pic

Professor of Developmental Behavioural Genetics