Generation Scotland

About us

Generation Scotland is a research study looking at the health and well-being of volunteers and their families. Find out more here.

Grandfather with arm around granddaughter

Our vision

To improve the health and well-being of current and future generations through partnership between researchers and volunteers. 

Our mission

Create a large study reflecting the lives of people in Scotland, following individuals and their families from childhood to old age. We will support partnerships between our volunteers and researchers on pressing issues of health and well-being. We will combine responses to questionnaires and detailed historic NHS records with innovative laboratory science and data analytics. We will do this in the safest and most secure way possible. We will support open science combined with public engagement and consultation, sharing our findings to influence health policy and improve lives.  


Represent Scottish people and communities in health research 

Work in partnership with volunteers to listen, understand and respond to their health priorities  

Provide experts with the access they need to conduct discovery science 

Collaborate widely to maximise the value of our research and support others in theirs  

Improve health knowledge and disease treatments 

Inform health policy through rigorous scientific evidence 

Group of 4 atop Scottish Hill Landscape

Our volunteers

Generation Scotland has been recruiting volunteers since 2006. Over 24,000 people have already joined from around 7,000 families.  We are growing. We are inviting new families and family members aged 12 and older to join. We aim to double the number of Generation Scotland volunteers between now and 2024.  Our volunteers have helped support research into COVID-19, cancer, diabetes, depression, dementia and much more.   

How we work

Generation Scotland combines responses to questionnaires of health and well-being from birth through life. We combine this with NHS health records and innovative laboratory science to understand health trajectories. We work closely with researchers and our volunteers to create a rich evidence base for understanding health. Through this rigorous, ethical and safe approach to research, we seek to enable meaningful change in public health.   

Generation Scotland is proud to be funded by the Wellcome Trust. We are based at The University of Edinburgh within the Centre for Genomic and Experimental Medicine, MRC Institute of Genetics and Cancer, Centre for Medical Informatics and The Usher Institute. 



Data Linkage

What do we do with your data when you join Generation Scotland? One thing we ask you agree to is data linkage. This means we can link your data anonymously to your NHS and GP records. This helps researchers understand the interactions between volunteer genetics and their health. Learn more about how this works in the video about data linkage below.

Video: Data linkages: explore the evolution of healthcare records in research
Health researchers are increasing looking to data linkage to examine the wider impacts of health. Data linkage is the joining of two or more independent databases that share a variable at an individual record level – for example, someone’s GP record and their hospital record will share a unique ‘NHS number’. This animation created by a multidisciplinary team at the NIHR Maudsley Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) illustrates the process of data linkage and the benefits for researchers. It is hoped that the video can be a useful tool in Patient and Public Involvement and beneficial to other organisations conducting health linkages. If you are interesting in using the animation on your own website please contact:

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Our Resources
The Access Process
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