SSRI Level 1 RDC Funding

Financial support range: $500 - $10,000

SSRI provides financial support to Penn State faculty who are developing external grant proposals for research that will be conducted in Penn State's Census Research Data Center (RDC). 

We also provide consultation on proposal development. Our proposal review process is evaluative (we seek excellent proposals for funding) and developmental (we are invested in supporting faculty members to initiate research programs that can attract external funding). Our faculty’s success at winning external funding provides the resource foundation for a sustainable pilot grant program. 

Contact: Dr. Mark Roberts, RDC director

External grant applications for RDC-related research are more likely to be successful if applicants can demonstrate that they are familiar with the restricted data and have approval to access restricted RDC data. To obtain approval to access RDC data, researchers must submit a separate application to the statistical agency that produces the data in question (e.g., Census Bureau, National Center for Health Statistics, National Institutes of Justice).

The Level 1 RDC funding mechanism is designed to help Penn State faculty with relevant expertise to pursue external funding for RDC-related research by supporting activities that lead to the development of an RDC application and a subsequent application for external funding. Funds may be used to offset the costs such as travel expenses to attend annual RDC meetings; a course release to develop both the RDC application and the application for external funding; and funds to cover the time of graduate assistants, statistical programmers, or GIS experts to assist with file construction and preliminary analyses with public-use or synthetic data files. Principal investigators of Level 1 applications should be tenure track or research faculty with continuing appointments.

  • Level 1 RDC proposals range from $500-$10,000
  • Level 1 RDC proposals should be two pages. They can be submitted at any time during the year
  • The RDC director, two external reviewers, the SSRI associate director, and relevant college research associate deans will review these proposals and typically provide a decision within two to three weeks
  • Funds are allocated for a six to 12 month period

Level 1 funds are intended to provide support for:

  • Development of new, innovative research projects
  • Consultations and meetings with collaborators (including travel)
  • Graduate assistant time
  • Programming and GIS staff time
  • Outside consultants
  • A course release for the principal investigator to develop an RDC application and external research proposal (at negotiated internal rate of $7,500 per course for faculty members with a course load of four, 3-credit courses per year or for equivalent; replacement costs for one course buyout in consultation with the department head in the semester of proposal writing/submission)

Level 1 funds are NOT intended to support:

  • Summer Salary
  • RDC projects that are not directed at an external grant application
  • Expenditures generally made by departments and colleges
  • Delivery of outreach programs or services
  • Funds for meals and snacks
  • Student projects (masters, dissertation research)

Criteria for Review

  • Priority is placed on new ideas that will make creative use of data available in Penn State’s RDC and that will result in external funding
  • A well articulated plan of activities
  • Proposals must make clear that necessary data are available in the RDC
  • Proposals must make a clear contribution to the social and behavioral sciences

Structure and Submission of Proposals

Proposals must be submitted as one document via email to project coordinator. To complete your proposal submission, you must download, complete, and email the forms below:

Proposal Submission Form (doc)

Proposal Budget Template (xls)

Where proposed research will involve the use of secondary data, investigators are expected to prepare and submit the appropriate requests for IRB approval of research involving human or animal participants (whichever is appropriate to the project). 

Project Reports

Investigators are expected to provide an annual project status update and a brief (one page) final report upon completing the project. These efforts allow us to track and report outcomes as well as monitor the success of our seed grant program.

If, during the course of your project, you find that you need to make changes to the project team, description, design, timeline, or budget, please send a note to Dr. Mark Roberts (RDC director), and copy Donna Panasiti (project coordinator), with the specific details of these proposed changes.

Examples of Successful SSRI Level 1 RDC Proposals

None available at this time.

Contact Dr. Mark Roberts, RDC director, for more information.