Blog & News
New Research Data Center to Open at UMNFebruary 03, 2009:
February 3, 2009. The University of Minnesota’s State Health Access Data Assistance Center (SHADAC) and Minnesota Population Center (MPC) recently received approval from the National Science Foundation (NSF) and United States Census Bureau to open the Minnesota Research Data Center (MNRDC) in January of 2010. The RDC allows access to confidential (non-public) data for research in a highly secure environment and has potential applications across the university.
The to-be-opened center will provide researchers access to restricted datasets from the Census Bureau, National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) and Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) that represent a key component for infrastructure for research in the fields of business, economics, epidemiology, geography, health services, population, public policy and sociology.
The new RDC will carry a health data focus, making it the only such center in the nation to carry such a distinction. The Minnesota Population Center is the largest distributor of worldwide demographic data, and the RDC will also help facilitate the data improvement project work done by the MPC.
"This new RDC will be great for both for the U of M and the state of Minnesota," said Davern, co-director of the new MNRDC, who also serves as co-principal investigator and research director at SHADAC. "Having convenient access to this kind of data can help researchers in a number of different ways, like conducting innovative research evaluating the costs of public health programs like Medicare and Medicaid."
Unlike most other RDCs, the MNRDC will allow researchers to expand their current "big science" informatics and data improvement projects. Eight of the other nine existing RDCs are located at large public research institutions, including California-Berkley, UCLA and Michigan.
"None of the other centers around the country have a health data focus, and none have in mind the 'big science' projects we envision taking place here," said Davern. "It’s extremely useful to have this information on campus, as it will save on travel costs and help solidify Minnesota as one of the leading health care research institutions in the country."
The RDC will be co-directed by Davern and Cathy Fitch, Associate Director of the Minnesota Population Center and will be located at the MPC in Willey Hall on the U of M’s west bank campus. It is scheduled to open Jan. 1, 2010.