• Proposal: 09/30/2020


  • Amount: Up to $300,000
  • Duration: Up to 3 years



This solicitation provides for a coordinated review of Research Data Center (RDC) proposals that previously had been submitted to and reviewed by individual programs in SBE. RDC proposals now should be submitted directly to this solicitation.

The solicitation provides specific guidance regarding the preparation of RDC proposals that deviates from general guidance in the NSF Grant Proposal Guide and the NSF Application Guide.

This solicitation identifies special competition-specific evaluation criteria that complement the standard NSF merit review criteria.

This solicitation invites proposals for the establishment of new Research Data Centers (RDCs). RDCs are secure Census Bureau facilities within which external researchers are given access to confidential micro data in accordance with specific statutory requirements. NSF will provide start-up costs for new RDC facilities.

NSF expects to support a limited number of new RDCs that complement the existing RDCs by expanding access to secure data to a broader segment of the social, behavioral, and economic sciences research community. RDC proposals should address the following topics:

  1. The cross-disciplinary and/or interdisciplinary potential of the proposed RDC. Which social, behavioral, and economic science communities will benefit or have the potential to benefit from the proposed RDC? How does the proposed RDC plan to conduct outreach to bring into the center a broad and diverse range of scholars?
  2. The fit of the proposed RDC within the existing system. What is the geographic proximity of the proposed RDC to other RDCs? Are there ease of access issues that would make the proposed RDC particularly attractive? Does the proposed RDC have unique elements not available at the existing RDCs?
  3. Readiness of the proposed RDC. What is the demand for an RDC in the proposed site? Are there institutions in the surrounding area whose researchers would make use of the proposed RDC? Are there projects currently in the planning stages or in process that could make immediate use of the proposed RDC? Would these projects meet the Census Bureau’s requirement of providing benefit to Census Bureau and other Federal statistical agency programs?
  4. Governance. How will the proposed RDC be governed? Does the proposed RDC leadership have the qualifications to ensure a well-managed RDC? Is the proposed staffing adequate to handle the work of the RDC?
  5. Resources available to the RDC. Where will the RDC be housed? Is the physical space adequate, accessible, and secure? Is adequate institutional commitment to the RDC demonstrated? Although this topic may be alluded to in the Project Description, the bulk of this information should be included under Facilities, Equipment, and Other Resources. The description should be narrative in nature and must not include any quantifiable financial information.

Eligibility & Submission Requirements

Potential investigators first must contact Census regarding the feasibility of sponsoring an RDC prior to submitting a proposal to NSF.

Note Regarding Proposals Involving Multiple Organizations:

In the case of proposals involving multiple organizations, a single organization must be identified as the lead, and a single proposal describing the entire project must be submitted by that organization. Funds may be distributed among partner organizations via subawards from the lead organization. A budget on the standard NSF budget form should be submitted for each subawardee. Of the two types of collaborative proposal formats described in the NSF Grant Proposal Guide, this solicitation allows only a single proposal submission with subawards administered by that lead organization. Direct submission of linked collaborative sets of proposals by multiple organizations is not permitted.

Contact Information

Cognizant Program Officer(s):

Please note that the following information is current at the time of publishing. See program website for any updates to the points of contact.

  • Nancy A. Lutz, telephone: (703) 292-7280, email: