A restrictive Research Data Center featuring highly sensitive information from the United States Census Bureau will be located on the University of Nebraska’s Lincoln campus.
University of Nebraska-Lincoln Economics Professor John Anderson will serve as executive director at the regional Research Data Center, which will allow researchers approved by the Census Bureau access to sensitive data.
“So, as you might imagine, the federal government is quite particular about how micro level, individual level data are used and so there will be very tight security procedures for researchers,” Anderson told reporters during a news conference at the Wick Alumni Center on the Lincoln campus.
UNL won a $300,000 grant from the National Science Foundation, which according to Anderson provided the seed money to build the center and begin its operations. Other money is being provided by partners with UNL in the project: The University of Nebraska Medical Center, Iowa State University, the University of Iowa, and the University of South Dakota.
As Anderson said, security will be tight at the center. Only researchers who receive approval for their projects from the Census Bureau will be allowed in and then only after passing a security clearance and being sworn in by the bureau.
Research can be conducted in a number of fields, from medical to housing; from labor to transportation.
Anderson gave a personal example during the news conference, stating that he could benefit in his research into public finance.
“One of the opportunities I will be afforded with a RDC is that I will have access to IRS data through the RDC,” Anderson said. “That enables one to do all kinds of interesting research about the tax system and potential reforms of the tax system.”
The Central Plains Research Data Center will be located in the Whittier Research Center on the Lincoln campus.
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [1 min.]