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Proposal Development

Research Data Centers (RDCs) are U.S. Census Bureau facilities, staffed by a Census Bureau employee, which meet all physical and computer security requirements for access to restricted–use data. At RDCs, qualified researchers with approved projects receive restricted access to selected Census Bureau data files. RDC’s also host data from NCHS and AHRQ.

RDC’s provide researchers with approved projects, establishment level business data and/or unreleased household data. In many cases, linked economic data are available, which provide a huge corpus of information. Other benefits of these datasets include low level geo-spatial variables, less top and bottom coding, and bigger samples.

Please contact TXRDC Director, Mark Fossett (m-fossett@tamu.edu) if you are considering writing a proposal. It is best to contact him early in the process so that he can guide you on new processes that are constantly developing.

All research proposals must undergo a rigorous and extensive review process before they can be carried out at an RDC. Researchers must be able to demonstrate that projects using Census data benefit the Census Bureau, are feasible, meet standards of scientific merit and feasibility, fit within the Census Bureau’s mandate and satisfy stringent confidentiality requirements. Proposals requesting NCHS and AHRQ data must meet criteria outlined by those agencies.

Overview of Steps for Developing a Proposal

Step 1

Discuss your project with the TXRDC Director, Mark Fossett (m-fossett@tamu.edu).

Step 2

Read the  RDC Research Proposal Guidelines

Step 3

Work with the TXRDC Administrator in developing your proposal package which includes:

  • Abstract of the proposal
  • Project Description(Full Proposal)
  • Statement of benefits to the Census Bureau

Step 4

Submit your proposal to the TXRDC Director Mark Fossett (m-fossett@tamu.edu) for review.

Step 5

Obtain Special Sworn Status – Researchers with approved projects are required to obtain special sworn status prior to beginning research at the secure lab in the TXRDC. To obtain special sworn status, researchers must be fingerprinted, make a sworn statement in the presence of a notary public, and provide additional information for background checks. Once completed, this process establishes the researcher as a temporary uncompensated employee of the U.S. Census Bureau. While working on projects at the TXRDC, researchers should consider themselves to be temporary uncompensated Census Bureau employees.

Step 6

Once approval has been granted and the researcher has gained special sworn status, statistical analysis must be performed within the secured TXRDC lab at Texas A&M University.

Please review each of these processes carefully, and contact the TXRDC Staff for any and all questions.