Carnegie Mellon University
March 01, 2012

News Brief: CMU's Stephen Fienberg Receives Research Grant From National Science Foundation and U.S. Census Bureau

Contact: Shilo Rea / 412-268-6094 /

Stephen FienbergThe National Science Foundation (NSF)-Census Bureau Research Network (NCRN) has awarded eight interdisciplinary research grants aimed at finding new ways to interpret social, behavioral and economic data and new ways to use and disseminate the resulting statistics.

Among the recipients is Carnegie Mellon's Stephen Fienberg, who received a grant for a project on "Data Integration, Online Data Collection and Privacy Protection for the 2020 Census." Fienberg, the Maurice Falk University Professor of Statistics and Social Science, and his research team will conduct research on three basic issues of interest related to collecting census data: privacy, costs and response rates. They will address the practical problems of ensuring confidentiality and privacy while still producing useful statistics for public and private purposes.

Additionally, the team will conduct experiments that implement new ways of encouraging participation in an effort to reduce the decline in (or perhaps even increase) response rates and examine the unit used to collect census information (currently the household).

"This grant program gives the Census Bureau and the entire federal statistical system the opportunity to leverage the expertise of academia to solve problems we face every day in delivering cost-efficient statistics and information to the public," said Robert Groves, director of the Census Bureau. "This research is an investment that will lead to cost savings, and we are excited about the possibilities for learning from our colleagues and for collaboration over the next five years."

The projects also will foster the development of the next generation of researchers with skills relevant for the measurement of economic units, households and people.

"These awards provide a unique opportunity for researchers to advance fundamental understanding of important issues related to the collection, analysis and dissemination of data in the social, behavioral and economic sciences within the context of salient problems for the federal statistical system," said Cheryl Eavey, program director for NSF's Methodology, Measurement and Statistics Program.

More information can be found on the Census Bureau's NCRN site or the National Science Foundation's NCRN site.

Pictured above is Stephen Fienberg.