Proposals for projects using restricted-access Census data consist of three separate documents: an abstract, a project description, and a benefit to the Bureau statement, referred to as the Primary Purpose Statement (PPS). In addition to these three documents, a CV must also be submitted during the proposal process. You should be familiar with the CES website: http://www.ces.census.gov, particularly the section regarding the proposal guidelines before submitting a proposal to CES: http://www.census.gov/ces/rdcresearch/howtoapply.html
Potential researchers are encouraged to contact the NWCRDC administrator to discuss the feasibility of a project. While the NWCRDC administrator can speak to various aspects of the proposal process and different data sets available for analysis, the bulk of proposal development is up to the researcher.
Please thoroughly review and consult the following documents:
Document I: Abstract
The abstract addresses both the scientific merit of your project and the benefits to the Bureau. The proposed benefits to the Census Bureau are not a pro-forma requirement. It is the legal basis on which researchers are given access to the data. Only projects with a clearly defined benefits to the bureau are allowed to proceed. The abstract must include, at the top of the first page, a project title and the names of all researchers (this includes any other co-PIs, co-authors, and graduate students). The abstract should be no more than one single spaced page.
Document II: Project Description (full proposal)
The project description should be fairly detailed and should include the following elements listed below. These items can be thought of as headings in the research document.
Project Duration – include a timeline with project milestones
Two questions that must be answered are how the proposed research using restricted-access data will benefit the U.S. Census Bureau and push various scientific debates forward
Document III: Predominant Purpose Statement (PPS)
Proposals must demonstrate that the research is likely to provide one or more Title 13 benefits to the Bureau. A research project must demonstrate that its predominant purpose is to benefit Census Bureau programs. If a project has as its predominant purpose one, or any combination, of a number of possible criteria, it will be considered to have as its predominant purpose increasing the utility of Title 13 data.
Proposal Review Process
Research proposals submitted to CES are reviewed on the basis of five major criteria:
Benefit to Census Bureau programs;
Clear need for non-public data;
Minimal risk of disclosure.
Submission Process and Review
Proposals are submitted directly to the RDC Administrator. Proposals can be submitted any time through out the year. Once the administrator receives the proposal, it is sent out for review within and outside the Census. An additional review is then conducted by the Census Review board and the Census Bureau then contacts the research with the final decision. Review times are dependent upon the datasets used.
All research is conducted in a secure facility. Access is only given to researchers.
The Linux computing environment includes standard statistical, econometric, and programming software, such as SAS®, Stata, Gauss, MATLAB, and R.
Computing capacity to handle large datasets and complex calculations.
Documentation – codebooks, data dictionaries, harmonized variables, etc. – for a growing number of datasets.
Cross–RDC collaborations, including collaborations with Census Bureau researchers, are possible through the secure RDC computing environment.
Additional Review and Confidentiality
Please note that projects using restricted-access NCHS or AHRQ health data should follow the proposal guidelines available on the NCHS and AHRQ websites. Projects using business data, and some data about households and individuals, contain Federal Tax Information (FTI) and are subject to additional review by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Please consult the IRS Criteria Document on the review criteria.
The United States Census Bureau is operated under Title 13 of United States Code. Researchers using confidential data are sworn for life to protect the confidentiality of the data. We take this very seriously and this is a non-trivial matter. Breaches in confidentially can result in fines up to $250,000 and or imprisonment.