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Federal Statistical Research Data Center Proposal Development Event Held for Research Administration and Staff

On May 22, Drexel University faculty, students and staff from the Office of Research, School of Public Health, College of Arts and Sciences and the Lebow College of Business participated in a Philadelphia Federal Statistical Research Data Center (FSRDC) proposal development event on campus. The Philadelphia FSRDC is in partnership with Drexel, Penn, Temple and The Federal Reserve. FSRDCs are partnerships between federal statistical agencies and leading research institutions. They are secure facilities providing authorized access to restricted-use microdata for statistical purposes only.

The event took place on the second floor of the Gerri C. LeBow Hall building. Hosted by LeBow’s Vibhas Madan, Drexel’s FSRDC Liaison and Philadelphia FSRDC’s Mallick Hossain, the event kicked off as an informative session and ended as a Q&A discussion. Participants from various colleges in the University were given invaluable information on how to develop the perfect proposal that would consistently assure their success when seeking grants from the U.S. Census Bureau.

Tools such as surveys, statistics and data maps were introduced to the Dragons so that they could access to garner information in areas such as the nation’s business, economy and census data that they could use towards their research. Participants learned that the kind of data on FSRCDC’s website is not limited to any specific area, as their database has data varying from demographic, trade to even health records data. However, although these data records are on their website, they are only opened under certain conditions. To be able to access these kinds of data, one must go through the approval process which consists of: gaining certain approvals as well as completing a background check. Then, the duration of the approval process can take as long as 6 to 12 months. Later on in the event, participants were shown the structure that would give their proposals the highest chance of success once under revision.

The protocol concerning confidentiality of data was also discussed. Mallick Hossain urged participants to not take this lightly as rules governing data are strict. Participants were advised in maintaining confidentiality of all documents as failure to do so, can result in hefty fines and possibly even jail time.

By Ade O. Obayomi