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Education as a Lifelong Process – Comparing Educational Trajectories in Modern Societies

Scientific Background

Studying educational opportunities has a long tradition in sociological inequality research and many have argued that education is key to stratification in society. Modern societies have evolved into knowledge-based economies in which the role of education and the acquisition of skills have become important in all phases of the life course. In contrast to most empirical research on education, which is based on cross-sectional studies, the eduLIFE project takes a longitudinal view of educational careers over the life course.


The eduLIFE project analyses the educational career over the life course in four phases covering early childhood education, secondary and tertiary education, the transition from school to work, and adult learning. A number of country studies are conducted within each of these phases in collaboration with country experts and using high-quality longitudinal data. Based on cross-national comparisons, eduLIFE aims to establish the generality of findings as well as the impact of institutional contexts.

Project Stages


Integration of research results

In focus: integrating the main findings of the eduLIFE project

Methodological issues

In focus: rethinking methodological issues of longitudinal surveys


Pre-school education:

In focus:  short- and long-term consequences of pre-school attendance and quality.


School-to-work transition: 

In focus: gender, education and consequences on early labor market success.


Adult learning: 

In focus: participation patterns in different types of adult learning and labor market outcomes. 


Research Team

eduLIFE505Current Research Team, 4th eduLIFE conference.eduLIFE team 1Former Research Team, 3rd eduLIFE conference.

Latest News
Outcomes of the final conference of the eduLIFE project

Outcomes of the final conference of the eduLIFE project

short report on the eduLIFE final conference
Final Conference of the eduLIFE project

Final Conference of the eduLIFE project

At the final conference, the eduLIFE research team will present and discuss the key results of the project with outstanding experts in the field. 23-24 May 2016, Badia Fiesolana
European Research Council

The project is supported by an Advanced Grant of the European Research Council (ERC)

Started at Bamberg University in Germany, the project moved to the European University Institute in Fiesole (Florence), Italy In September 2012, .

The principal investigator of the eduLIFE project is Professor Hans-Peter Blossfeld.

Page last updated on 17 August 2017