Proposal submission and access guidelines for the FLRDC

Proposals that use non-public Census microdata are submitted to the FLRDC administrator before being submitted to census Bureau’s Center for Economic Studies (CES). Researchers must consult with the FLRDC Administrator about the content and form of a research proposal. The proposal review process is lengthy and rigorous, and the administrator can assist researchers in determining data availability and in preparing worthy proposals.

Outline of steps in proposal submission

  1. Read RDC research proposal guidelines.
  2. Register your interest in developing an RDC proposal at ResearchDataGov. This is the main application portal for using restricted data in the FSRDCs.  Your preliminary application will be sent to the FLRDC Administrator, who will follow up with you to discuss your proposed project ideas.
  3. Work with the FLRDC Administrator in developing your final proposal.
  4. The final proposal consists of the three separate documents listed below:
    1. Abstract of the proposal
    2. Project description (full proposal)
    3. Statement of benefits to the Census Bureau
  5. After the final proposal has been submitted to CES, researchers should expect to wait a minimum of six months before beginning actual research at the FLRDC. Contact the FLRDC Administrator for an update on your proposal status.

Special sworn status

Researchers much apply and get granted Special Sworn Status (SSS), which requires a background check and can take 2-3 months to complete. With SSS, you are a temporary uncompensated employee of the Census Bureau who can use the RDC network. The Census Bureau gives Special Sworn Status (SSS) to individuals to conduct work that specifically benefits a Census Bureau program. SSS individuals are sworn for life to protect the data as Census Bureau employees are sworn, and they are subject to the same legal obligations and penalties. Employees and SSS on administrative records projects must take annual Data Stewardship Training, Title 26/FTI training, and any additional training required by the agreement associated with the particular records being used. Users must also adhere to relevant ethics, confidentiality, and privacy protection procedures.

Once approval has been granted and the researcher has gained Special Sworn Status, statistical analysis must be performed within the secure FLRDC lab at the University of Florida East Campus.


It is not uncommon for the proposal process to take at least 4-6 months for NCHS projects, and 6-9 months for Census projects, and sometimes longer if the project requires multi-agency review.  Interested graduate students should consult with their advisor and the lab administrator prior to beginning the proposal process.

Contact the FLRDC

for more information and to begin the proposal submission process, please contact:

Jaclyn Hall, PhD

FLRDC Executive Director