Generation Scotland seeks new volunteers to take part in nation's health study

All adults and young people in Scotland are being asked to take part in a large-scale study that will help shape the nation's health care.

Generation Scotland

Generation Scotland is a research study looking at the health and well-being of volunteers and their families. It asks volunteers to answer questionnaires and provide samples for genetic testing. This is combined with NHS health data and innovative laboratory science to provide a rich evidence base for understanding health. This rigorous, ethical and safe approach to research aims to enable meaningful change in public health.

More than 25,000 Generation Scotland volunteers participating in the study have already contributed greatly by providing information about their health data and saliva samples that will help researchers learn more about disease and develop prevention methods and future treatments.


Participation in the study

The study organisers are calling on entire families living in Scotland to participate in the study to increase knowledge of how genetics and shared living environments affect the lives of people in Scotland.

For the first time, young people between the ages of 12 and 15 can also participate in the study, provided their parents or guardians also agree.

After completing an online questionnaire, participants will receive a 'spit kit' to collect a saliva sample, which will then be sent to a laboratory for genetic analysis.

Access to medical records allows scientists to analyse data on medications, vaccinations, previous illnesses and hospitalizations.

To better understand the social and economic influences on health and well-being, the team can also access education, employment and census data. However, this is done only with the consent of the study participants.

According to experts, the study of well-being is important because it encompasses both mental and physical health and generally indicates how well people feel about their lives.

Saliva DNA/RNA collection kit from Generation Scotland.

By opening Generation Scotland to teenagers for the first time, we will develop a clearer understanding of their health and well-being. This is of particular importance following the disruption to young peoples’ lives caused by the pandemic. The online nature of the study also means anyone in Scotland - from Lerwick to Dumfries - can easily join.


Generation Scotland was originally launched with support from the Scottish Government and is based on a collaboration between the Universities of Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh and Glasgow, NHS Grampian, Greater Glasgow and Clyde, Lothian and Tayside, and Public Health Scotland.

The study is being led by a team from the University of Edinburgh, and as mentioned earlier, about 25,000 people from 7,000 families are currently participating. The team hopes to increase that number by at least 20,000.

Participants in the study have already helped support research into numerous diseases, including covid-19, cancer, heart disease, diabetes, depression and dementia.

The current expansion phase of Generation Scotland is funded by Wellcome and also supported by Health Data Research UK.

Related Links

Generation Scotland

Sign up for Generation Scotland

Health Data Research UK