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About the CRDCN

The Canadian Research Data Centre Network (CRDCN) is a partnership between a consortium of Canadian universities and Statistics Canada, through its Research Data Centre Program, to provide university, government and other approved researchers ready access to a vast array of social, economic and health confidential microdata in secure computer facilities located on university campuses across the country.

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Background and mission 

In the early 1990s, Statistics Canada launched a series of longitudinal surveys to gather the information needed to understand and manage the challenges Canadian society faced as it moved into a new millennium. In 2000, nine Research Data Centres (RDCs) were set up across the country to ensure that these data could be more easily analysed by the larger research community without compromising the confidential nature of the information. From this original core, the Network rapidly grew over the following decade and transformed quantitative social science research in Canada, contributing to positioning Canada as an international leader in the field.
 
The CRDCN is now recognized and funded as one of Canada's major science initiatives. Headquartered at McMaster University since 2010, it comprises 30 Centres and Branches, and provides researchers with unique access to Statistics Canada census and surveys, as well as to an increasing number of administrative data files. The Network operates through a formal agreement with Statistics Canada under the terms of the federalStatistics Act.
 
The Network's mission is to build on its success as a data platform by providing Canada's talented researchers access to the best available information in order to address vital research questions and allied priority public policy issues. The CRDCN strategic plan has four goals:
  • Provide data access and services that enable Canada's social science and health researchers to conduct advanced statistical research of the highest standard
  • Promote the career development of the next generation of HQP for positions in the academy, government and the private sector
  • Maximize the relevance and application of research results for informing Canadian and international public policy
  • Adopt and implement best practices in network governance and management
Core funding comes from a SSHRC/CIHR directed grant and from a CFI Major Science Initiatives Award. Substantial cash and in-kind support is also provided by the host universities and Statistics Canada. In 2017, the Network has secured funding from the CFI Innovation Fund award to create a national high performance computing platform to meet the growing data processing and storage needs of its researchers.
 

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