The Northern Ireland Cohort Longitudinal Study of Aging is a longitudinal study of people aged 50 years and above in Northern Ireland. The study provides information on health and social care utilization, health behaviors, medication, mental, physical and cognitive health, employment, finances, retirement, social connectedness, social participation, driving and travel, housing, consumption and expectations.

Data collection

A random sample of 8,309 men and women aged 50 years and above were invited to join the study, and 195 adults who were aged less than 50 chose to participate, resulting in a total of 8,504 participants at wave 1 (Cruise & Kee, 2017). The wave 1 pilot study began in December 2013 and completed in March 2016. Study participants will be invited for interviews every 2 years and for a health assessment every 4 years. They will be followed-up for a period of at least 10 years.

Cruise, S. & Keem F, (2017). Early Key Findings from a Study of Older People in Northern Ireland. The NICOLA Study. Queen’s University Belfast.


The health assessment includes a review of cardiovascular, cognitive and respiratory function; physical activity, visual health and body composition. Participants were also asked to provide biological samples for detailed laboratory analysis, including genetic analysis. The request to access biomarker data needs to be submitted to the NICOLA Data Access Committee, and the decision will be made at meetings that occur every other month.