Winter 2014 Edition



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Welcome to the Winter edition of NILS News

Welcome to the latest issue of NILS News which keeps you up-to-date on the Northern Ireland Longitudinal Study (NILS), and the related Northern Ireland Mortality Study (NIMS), including latest news, events and publications.

Follow @NILS-RSU on Twitter to be the first to know of the latest news, events and fact sheets.



Project 071 - Stigma

The stigmatisation of individuals is believed to have various negative consequences. In terms of health care, for example, it is frequently argued that stigma functions so as to impede help seeking behaviour - such as would be evident in the seeking of a diagnosis or form of treatment.

The overall aim of the proposed study is to assess the perceived stigma, by comparing self-reported and objectively measured prevalence of a disease, specifically to measure the extent of perceived stigma across a range of conditions. The proposed range of diseases will allow a measure of the variation in perceived stigma; for example it is anticipated that disclosure will be significantly lower for patient’s epilepsy and mental health problems than for those with asthma or diabetes.

Project 071 is a Distinct Linkage Project (DLP) which includes NILS data (2001 and 2011 Census data) linked to Business Services Organisation (BSO) subscription data. Project 071 was the first DLP to go through the new encryption process which involves using the NILS 256 one-way encryption software to encrypt both BSO and NILS data prior to linkage.

Researchers: The project is headed up by Dr. Dermot O’Reilly and also includes Dr. Michael Rosato, David Wright, Aideen Maguire and Foteini Tseliou.

For further information on this please see the following link: 

Population characteristics of stigma and chronic health conditions.



Project Ideas our Autumn Newsletter we introduced the first of our project ideas section of the website. We plan on a second release in December 2014 on the topic of economic activity in follow up to the first project ideas sheet which covers the subject of Marital Status.

Do you know of any potential NILS projects that are in the pipeline? Informing the RSU helps with resource planning and allocation.

Ideas will be treated as ‘Academic – in confidence’.

Potential projects can be very early ideas, reasonably well developed ideas or projects almost ready to go to the Research Approvals Group (RAG). As a minimum we need to know when project application forms are being drafted. All we need is a very short 10-15 word title to allow us to plan ahead and allocate resources effectively.

Research Briefs - There are a range of research briefs online giving an overview of individual projects and some significant findings from the research. These briefs may be helpful when generating project ideas and also to get an idea of the possible policy implications of the research.

Every NILS-RSU project must have a health aspect which creates potential for policy impact within the health sector.   An example of a project with clear potential policy impacts is Demographic and socio-economic determinants of antibiotic consumption in Northern Ireland. Further good examples can be found on the research briefs section of the website.


NILS Fact Sheets

In our summer newsletter we introduced the new NILS Fact Sheets which have been well received by NILS-Users as a useful resource. Fact Sheets are published on a fortnightly basis and can be found in the Research Ideas section of our website.  The Fact Sheets highlight the potential uses for NILS in policy and Government research work. This section of the website will be expanded over time to respond to project ideas and policy specific research. We hope this will help stimulate some new projects ideas and possibly some collaborative approaches.  Fact sheets so far include the subjects:

·         Marital Status

·         Self-Reported Health

·         Unpaid Care

·         Limiting Long-Term Illness

·         Highest Qualification

·         Irish Language

·         Tenure – Properties

·         Tenure – NILS Members

·         Usual Method Of Travel To Work

·         Cars Per Household – NILS Members

·         Cars Per Household – Properties

·         1991 NILS Data Overview

Please feel free to spread the word about our Fact Sheets to other colleagues or departments that you feel may have an interest.


NILS Approved Researcher Status

From 1st July 2014 it has been a mandatory requirement for all researchers to attain Approved Researcher status by completing the Application for Accreditation as an Approved Researcher form and undertaking a Safe Researcher Training course. All researchers who wish to access data within the safe-setting are also required to have Baseline Personal Security Standard (BPSS) clearance. To be granted BPSS researchers will need to submit valid identification documents and complete an Access NI form.

Please contact the NILS-RSU for further details


NILS Latest Data Releases

1991 Census Link – was released on schedule in September 2014. The NILS now has over 20 years of linkage covering three Census dates. For further information please see our 1991 NILS Data Overview Fact Sheet.

1991 NIMS – was released ahead of schedule in November 2014. The 1991 NIMS includes enumeratedpersons from the 1991 Census with death links up to 2001. This is in addition to the existing 2001 NIMS which has death links from 2001 to 2011 to the 2001 Census and 2011 NIMS which has death links from 2011 to 2012 (2013 when updated in January).

The next planned data release is:

January 2015: to update the NILS to include Health Download data until October 2014, GRO Births and Deaths until the end of 2013 and an updated NIMS11 database with Death data to the end of 2013.


Next NILS RAG Dates

The NILS Research Approvals Group (NILS RAG) meets every two months to consider applications for approval. A schedule has been released for NILS RAG meetings for the coming months. It should be noted that new applications must be submitted to the NILS-RSU by 5pm TEN WORKING DAYS prior to the RAG meeting for consideration.

RAG Application Deadline


18th December 2014

12th January 2015

24th February 2015

10th March 2015


More information on developing potential projects can be found in the Access section of the NILS-RSU website. For more details contact the NILS-RSU.


Policy Impact Questionnaire

Are you involved with a current project or have you recently completed research on a project? If so we would like to remind you about our Policy Impact Questionnaire.

Your response would be greatly appreciated as it will help us to collect regular and up-to-date information on the public policy impact of all NILS and NIMS research. This will enable the array of public policy relevant research that has been completed to be demonstrated and help justify the current and future funding of the NILS and NIMS research.

Dates for your diary


The next Safe researcher training session will take place in McAuley House on 22nd January 2015 at 2pm. Safe researcher training is provided by RSU on a monthly basis.

Keep an eye on the NILS-RSU website and twitter account for more upcoming training dates.

Safe Researcher Training Dates

22nd January 2015 @ 2pm

24th February 2015 @ 2pm

Please contact NILS-RSU to book your place on Safe researcher training.

The NILS Research Forum is offering a few short-courses and workshop events aimed at NILS-researchers, academics and postgraduate students from QUB, Ulster University and NILS/NISRA staff this year. The events are free of charge for NILS-users and for students, but we would ask staff members who are not NILS-users to pay a course fee of £60. 

·         Modelling Longitudinal Data (18th February 2015)

Please contact to reserve your place on a NILS Research Forum event.

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RSU Closure dates


NILS-RSU will close over the festive period from Tuesday 23rd December 2014 and will reopen again on Monday 5th January 2015.

Please note that NILS-RSU will also be closed for staff training on both the 8th and 9th January 2015.

Christmas greetings from NILS-RSU






Phone: 02890 348186


Northern Ireland Longitudinal Study
Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency
McAuley House
2-14 Castle Street

Queen's University Belfast
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