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Getting Started

Researchers should consult with the RDC Administrator about the content and form of a research proposal early in the proposal development process. The RDC Administrator will help researchers prepare and submit materials electronically via the Center for Economic Studies on-line proposal management system. The proposal review process is lengthy and rigorous, and the administrator can assist researchers in determining data availability and in preparing high-quality proposals. It is not uncommon for the proposal process to take 6 to 12 months.

For projects using Census economic or demographic data, here is a basic outline of the steps:

  1. Ensure your project requires RDC data and read through the complete MnRDC proposal guidelines and CES proposal instructions.
  2. Discuss your project with the RDC Administrator.
  3. Complete a brief preliminary proposal. Send it and a two-page Curriculum Vitae to the RDC Administrator.
  4. Work with the RDC Administrator in developing your final proposal. The final proposal consists of four separate documents (uploaded as PDFs): curriculum vitae of all investigators on the proposed project, abstract of the proposal, project description (full proposal), and statement of benefits to the Census Bureau.
  5. Contact the RDC Administrator for an update on your proposal status.
  6. Once approved, you will need to obtain Special Sworn Status (SSS). This includes passing a background check and making a signed, sworn statement about preserving the confidentiality of the data.

For projects using NCHS or AHRQ data, here are the basic steps:

  1. Ensure your project requires restricted NCHS data or AHRQ data and read through the complete proposal guidelines at NCHS and AHRQ<.
  2. Contact the MnRDC Administrator to ensure your project is feasible for completion in a Census RDC.
  3. Work with the NCHS RDC Director or AHRQ Data Center Coordinator to prepare your proposal.
  4. Notify the MnRDC Administrator once your project has been approved to begin the process of data access in the MnRDC, including obtaining Special Sworn Status (SSS) by passing a background check and making a signed, sworn statement about preserving the confidentiality of the data.
  5. Note: you will also need to complete and confidentiality training or AHRQ confidentiality affidavits.