Proposal submission and access guidelines

Accessing the FLRDC

Accessing the information available through the FLRDC requires the approval of a research project after a proposal has been submitted. Proposals that use non-public federal microdata are submitted to the FLRDC administrator before being submitted to the agency whose data will be used in the research.


Outline of steps in proposal submission

Researchers must consult with the FLRDC Administrator about the content and form of a research proposal. The administrator can assist researchers in determining data availability and in preparing worthy proposals.

  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:
    • Abstract of the proposal
    • Project description (full proposal)
    • Statement of benefits to the Census Bureau when Census Bureau data is used
  5. After the final proposal has been submitted to the federal agency whose data will be used in the research, 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 must apply for and be 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. 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 National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) projects, 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.

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Contact Us!

For more information and to begin the proposal submission process, click the link below to submit the contact form.