Current projects

Time Use Research for National Statistics (TURNS) ESRC grant ES/V016644/1

Our overall objectives are (i) providing a step change, based on new technologies, in the design of time use diary surveys (TUDs), and (ii) developing a system of social indicators of population health, wealth and wellbeing, all based on the same body of TUD information, connecting the once-per-decade TUD surveys up to 2015, with annual estimates starting from the early 2020s , using our recently-developed low-cost low-burden Click and Drag Diary Instrument (CaDDI) as the basis for experimental comparisons, varying the number of diary days, and different types of diary fields, and the granularity of activity recording as well as the use of wearable instrumentation (such as cameras and/or accelerometers) to provide validation and calibration.

The new social indicators will allow us to re-assess economic output, fully reflecting both unpaid work, and the value of extensions of the market as a result of innovative forms of production—Uber- or AirB&B-type “sharing economy” and the “internet of things”. 

We will:

  1. Provide indicators of subjective wellbeing using diary enjoyment evidence and its association with conventional measures such as feelings of life satisfaction or happiness
  2. Estimate the extent and distribution of (un)healthy daily activities: sleep, sedentary activities, meals, snacking, and physical exercise;
  3. Develop our estimates of the behavioural risk of infectious disease transmission based on combinations of activity types, their locations, and who respondents were with during those activities;
  4. Contribute to the prediction of sustainability based on environmental “footprints” in the form of energy and other material requirements associated with activity patterns; in each case addressing inequalities across the population, analysing differentials by gender, class, family type and ethnicity.


Securing the Centre for Time Use Research (SCTUR) ESRC grant ES/T001550/1

The ESRC-supported CTUR is the world-leading specialist in collecting and analysing nationally representative samples of time diaries. It has pioneered a unique post-field-work harmonised cross-national time use study. It produces original sociological, economic and other research (at first in the fields of gender relations, parenting and national accounting, more recently in public health, transport, and environmental assessment). It provides resources and support for academics, National Statistics Institutes and other public and private users. The legacy grant has two objectives: continuing CTUR resource provision, and ensuring that our expertise in time use data collection and analysis is properly carried forward.

Our proposed legacy program is designed to secure the essence of the ESRC’s investment in CTUR; in the harmonised MTUS dataset; in the accumulating expertise in time-use data collection methods; and in the data-analytic skills that underlie our work in discovering, and communicating, new applications for time-use methods. To achieve this, we have identified three elements of legacy funding:

  1. Support for an annual programme of workshops, on time-use data-collection and data analytic methods, intended both for postgraduate and post-doctoral researchers as well as for members of National Statistical Institutes.  We anticipate that there will be increasing demand from professionals in other new applications of time-diary data—in public health, environmental sustainability, and transport applications— who will be attracted to this training programme
  2. Support also for a continuation for our visitor programme, consisting of extended attachments to CTUR of academic, commercial or public sector secondees, for periods ranging between one month and one year, which allow for more extensive knowledge exchange, and lead both to the incorporation of new techniques and processes within the seconding institutions, and also update and increase CTUR’s own knowledge of user issues and requirements.
  3. Funding for some staff to support and underpin the workshop and visitor programme as well as maintaining the viability of the time-use database, the associated meta-data documentation, and the data download, record-keeping and data-access control mechanisms.    This funding provides the co-ordination, organisation and motivational glue for CTUR’s data maintenance, knowledge exchange and dissemination activities.

Time Use Data for Health and Wellbeing

This project increases access to this flagship Multinational time use study data program for CTUR and extends the utility of the file processing tool developed at the University of Maryland and University of Minnesota, funded by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NIHCD) grant. CTUR will contribute to this project in the following ways: 

  1. Updating datasets for countries around the world
  2. Provide expanded contextual data for non-U.S. countries currently included in the MTUS-X, when these data are available
  3. Produce datasets for dissemination through MTUS-X for Belgium that include harmonized MTUS background and demographic variables (suited to cross-national analysis); sequence time use variables (suited for cross-national analysis); original variables for income, occupation, education, family structure, region and ethnicity variables (if available).  This activity will involve adapting the existing data converted into MTUS format, upgrading surveys presently available in older versions of the MTUS into the current MTUS format, and the harmonization of surveys not yet included in the MTUS
  4. Compiling sets of original documentation and MTUS documentation to facilitate provision of access to a wide range of documentation information from the MTUS-X system. The CTUR team also will participate in planning for the development of new systems of displaying documentation through the MTUS-X
  5. Participating in publicizing and promoting wider use of IPUMS Time Use data by the wider time use community and by academic and government researchers who have not had previous exposure to time use data


Understanding how parental time influences educational and socio-behavioural outcomes of children.

PARENTIME looks at the mechanisms driving the inter-generational transmissions of inequalities by looking at the effect of parents and children interactions on their children's later life outcomes.

This 5-year project started in October 2018.

An ERC consolidator grant to develop new socio-economic theories that unpack the detailed mechanisms driving the inter-generational transmission of inequality. The research takes a theoretically-driven Big Data approach by linking large representative 24-hour diary survey data of parents and children with very comprehensive and detailed information on child outcomes from administrative data to:

  1. go beyond the quantity of parental time to explore the inter-connections between family members and their role in the child’s acquisition of human capital (i.e., the timing and sequence, co-presence, multi-tasking, and instantaneous parental enjoyment).
  2. establish long-term effects of parental time investments by looking at a comprehensive set of child human capital measures all the way into the child’s adult life.
  3. arrive at a well-coordinated scientific approach, starting at the micro-sequential level of parents and children’s everyday life and building progressively to a macro understanding of the (re)production of socio-economic inequality.