Great news out of the UI Department of Economics: the U.S. Census Bureau has approved the university’s application for a branch Federal Statistical Research Data Center (FSRDC) on the Urbana-Champaign campus. This RDC will be a branch office of the Chicago RDC, which is currently located at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
Scheduled to open in 2017, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign RDC will be located on the ground floor of David Kinley Hall (DKH) on campus. Renovations to the space are underway, in order to meet stringent security requirements, as the center will house a range of restricted-use microdata.
Additionally, a search committee is working to hire a system administrator for the branch RDC. This system administrator will be trained by the Census Bureau to help researchers prepare proposals, comply with information technology security regulations, and manage the secure room. Chicago RDC system administrator Frank Limehouse, PhD, is available to help Urbana-Champaign researchers with data applications until this branch system administrator is on board.
Julian Reif, assistant professor of economics and finance and the Institute of Government and Public Affairs, said landing a local RDC branch reduces travel, time, and cost barriers to doing top-notch health sciences research for University of Illinois faculty, staff, and students.
“The branch RDC will provide researchers all around campus with easy access to detailed survey and administrative data from the Census Bureau and the National Center for Health Statistics. Previously, researchers had to travel to Chicago to gain access. Now they can just walk across campus,” said Reif.
Economics assistant professor Ben Marx, who helped compile and submit the center application, has invited faculty members and researchers who provided proposal abstracts, and others, to now consider submitting a formal application for data access and use. Researchers are encouraged to begin the process now, even before the Urbana-Champaign branch officially opens. Currently, there is approximately a three to four month-long approval process for projects requiring health data. Projects requesting Census data can take six months or more--even over a year--for approval.
Unsure what specific data an RDC provides? A complete list of data sets available can be found here. Researchers planning to use Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) or Centers for Disease Control (CDC) health data should begin the formal application process with the appropriate agency:
Researchers who only want to use Census Bureau data can review their guidelines online about how to apply.
Please email Gillian Cooke, IHSI research development specialist, with any questions.