Coleridge Initiative

Democratizing our Data:
A Challenge to Invest in Data and Evidence-based Policy

For questions, email: [email protected]

Frequently Asked Questions

The goal of the Data Challenge is to develop and scale innovative product ideas for understanding public policy and programs by using government administrative data that are securely hosted in the Coleridge Initiative’s Administrative Data Research Facility (ADRF).

To find out more, join one of two upcoming webinars, hosted on Wednesday, September 15 and Wednesday, September 29. You can also submit questions to [email protected] before Thursday, September 30. Questions received will be added to this list of FAQs as relevant.  

The Administrative Data Research Facility (ADRF) is a secure cloud-based computing platform designed to promote collaboration, facilitate documentation, and provide information about data use to the agencies that own the data. The ADRF was established by the Census Bureau with funding from the Office of Management and Budget to inform the decision-making of the Commission on Evidence-Based Policy.

The ADRF has provided secure access to over 100 confidential government datasets from 50 different agencies at all levels of government. The ADRF is FedRAMP Certified and is listed on the FedRAMP Marketplace, it has received Authorization to Operate from the Census Bureau, the US Department of Agriculture, and the National Science Foundation, and it won a 2018 Government Innovation Award. Read more about the ADRF here.

A wide range of organizations is eligible to submit a Letter of Intent, including state agencies (e.g. state departments of labor, education, workforce development, corrections, health, and social services), postsecondary institutions (including research institutions within universities), not-for-profits with data and research capabilities (e.g., think tanks) and mission aligned for-profit organizations (that are eligible for grant funding). However, because it is critical that the challenge result in timely and useful products, grounded in data and evidence, we require all proposed projects to include a partnership with at least one state that already has or that will soon have data in the ADRF.

Since the goal of the challenge is to support analysis that inherently uses data from multiple agencies, all teams should feature cross-organization collaboration, such as state agencies collaborating with each other and with their local universities and/or non-profit organizations.

States or agencies that do not currently host data on the ADRF are still strongly encouraged to apply—with at least one member of their submission team from a state or agency that does host data on the ADRF. Building a modern public data system that accurately and equitably represents everyone requires collaboration from the ground up; we hope this Data Challenge presents an opportunity to promote new partnerships and collaborations among and across both agencies and states.

We encourage you to reach out to [email protected] with details about your idea and you may be asked to submit a Letter of Intent (LOI) for full details. In the spirit of building new partnerships and collaborations, we welcome engaged leaders to be part of this network and will work with you for opportunities to build relationships and get involved.

We welcome any ideas, regardless of the policy or topic area. Proposed areas that are not explicitly listed under “Interest Areas” section might be in scope; interested applicants should contact [email protected] for further information before September 30.

Please select the Project Tier / Funding Level that you believe most accurately represents your proposal and include a note within your LOI that “Project Tier/Funding Level is uncertain.” We ask that you include as much detail as possible regarding the resources that would be needed for your proposal, as well as any work that has been done by your agencies or your partners to date, in order to help us understand the current state of the project.

After LOIs are received and reviewed, all submissions will be notified of the status of their LOI. Teams selected to be finalists will be asked to submit a final proposal. Details for what must be included in final proposals can be found here.

Letters of Intent will be reviewed by a selection committee.