The Re-Co-Nai Equipex: a research platform on child cohorts followed from birth

The Re-Co-Nai research platform encompasses two surveys launched in France in 2011 to follow child cohorts from birth:
ELFE (Etude Longitudinale Française de l’Enfance) follows over 18,000 children from their birth in 2011 to the age of 20 years
Epipage 2 (Epidémiologie des Petits Ages Gestationnels) follows over 7,800 prematurely born children up to the age of 12 years.
The ELFE research team hosted by INED—i.e., the unité mixte Ined-Inserm-Etablissement français du sang (EFS) unit—coordinates the Re-Co-Nai platform, which provides access to the mass of related data collected on ELFE and Epipage2 cohorts. These data—sociological, demographic and health-related—are collected through surveys of families and physicians and by means of regularly organised health check-ups and biological sampling. The platform will be enriched in the coming years by other birth cohort studies.

Equipex DIME-SHS

The DIME-SHS (Data, Infrastructures and Survey Methods in the Human and Social Sciences) Equipement d’Excellence aims to provide France with a new structure for collecting, enriching and diffusing human and social science data. With DIME-SHS, the high quality of the data produced or reused by researchers is ensured by strict methodology. INED is implicated in the quantitative section of this undertaking through the ELIPSS internet panel (Etude Longitudinale par Internet pour les Sciences Humaines et Sociales); the Institute’s survey department is very active in the areas of panel methodology, recruitment and management.


The LifeObs project was selected in 2020 to receive the PIA3 2020 “Research-structuring facility and equipment” funding for 8 years starting in February 2021.

As a research infrastructure, the LifeObs—French life history observatory—will make it possible to develop a program of innovative longitudinal studies on French? family behaviors and increase data diffusion. The structure will also train users. 

LifeObs will be used to conduct 8 major national representative surveys covering all phases in the life cycle from childhood to old age. Three of them—Generations and Gender Program (GGP 2020); Survey of Health, Aging, and Retirement in Europe (SHARE); and GUIDE-EuroCohort, the first European-wide child cohort survey—are already part of European research infrastructures. Innovative data collection methods will be developed and administrative data integrated. To enhance survey visibility and use in France and abroad, survey descriptions and documentation will be translated into English and data diffused on international data platforms. Survey use training tools will be designed and aggregated data made available on line. 

The multisite observatory will involve national cooperation between key institutions conducting life history, family, and population studies: INED (project leader); the Universities of Paris Dauphine-PSL, Bordeaux, and Strasbourg; INSEE; and the Progedo comprehensive research infrastructure.