Plan your visit

Make the most of your time at the Understanding Society Scientific Conference by checking out the hub of activities that will be taking place this year.

After reading this year’s full programme, you might like to browse the key highlights and activities that this year’s conference has to offer.


This year, we have three plenary speakers.

Professor Richard Blundell will open the conference on Tuesday 11th July, discussing income inequalities before and after the Great Recession.

Professor Hilary Graham and Heather Wardle will give a lecture on Wednesday 12th July, on “Are we creatures of habit? Persistence and change in adult health behaviours in England”.

Professor Lucinda Platt will give the closing plenary presentation on Thursday 13th July, on “Ethnicity and identity: new perspectives”.

Parallel presentation topics

From education to ethnicity – this year’s presentations will highlight the key topics that social researchers need to know about. With over 70 presentations, you are sure to find something that will enhance your research. Parallel sessions run throughout the three days of the conference and the full programme will help you to plan your day. Themed sessions include: poverty dynamics, employment, survey methods, family relationships, genetics and epigenetics in Understanding Society, ethnic diversity, health, and wellbeing.


  1. Impact Workshop: Understanding Society research and media engagement:
    On Tuesday 11th July there will be a workshop to examine how researchers can engage with journalists and programme producers. It includes presentations and a practical hands-on exercise. Debate on media engagement by scientists and researchers often seeks to differentiate scientific journalism and feature programmes, i.e. promoting ‘specialist knowledge’ that is more reflective and in-depth, from promulgating ‘everyday knowledge’. Each reaches different audiences. The workshop will explore how longitudinal research could be effectively positioned as a source of ‘specialist knowledge’.

  2. Cross National Equivalent File:
    On Wednesday 12th July there will be a workshop on CNEF – the Cross National Equivalent File. There will be a 90-minute introduction session, followed by a 90-minute practical workshop. The introductory session will provide an overview of the CNEF, information about the country files that are included, and the data coverage. The second, hands-on session will be in the computer lab, and will be most relevant for researchers who already have a research idea or project to pursue. However, researchers who are contemplating a project in a general topic area may also benefit. Participants will open and download one or more of the country files. They will define their sample of interest and run some basic descriptive statistics. At the end of this session, participants will be able to take home a disk containing CNEF data. If you are interested in attending this workshop please register by 31st May.

You can register to attend these workshops through the online registration process. There is no additional charge for attending these workshops.

Drop-in sessions

The team at Understanding Society will be running a series of drop-in sessions to encourage visitors to find out more about the study and its individual features, and to ask any specific questions they may have about the Understanding Society data, design, or the Study in general. We will have a range of experts available to answer any queries you may have.

User consultation

There will be an extended session at the conference covering the harmonised BHPS-Understanding Society dataset which the Study team is developing – the team will be presenting the approach being taken to harmonising the datasets, for release with Understanding Society Wave 7 data in November 2017. As part of this session the team would like to engage with users to hear their feedback on the approach to BHPS-Understanding Society data harmonisation, and members of the team will be available to answer queries from data users.


There will be many opportunities to network throughout the conference including at our evening drinks reception on Tuesday 11th July, and the conference dinner on Wednesday 12th July. You can register to attend both events via the conference registration pages – the Tuesday drinks reception is included in the conference fee, however there is a charge for attending the dinner, which can be booked and paid as part of your conference registration.

Related training workshops

We would also like to draw your attention to the following events, which are being run at the University of Essex in conjunction with the Understanding Society Scientific Conference. These can be booked separately at