MiCDA Enclave Overview

The Michigan Center on the Demography of Aging (MiCDA) Enclave is funded by MiCDA (P30 AG12846), a joint program of ISR's Survey Research Center and Population Studies Center, in cooperation with the Health and Retirement Study and the Panel Study of Income Dynamics. The Survey Research Center also provides support for the operation of the facility as well as access to high performance computing capability for users.


The MiCDA Enclave provides secure computing environments in which researchers may access and analyze restricted data files. The term "restricted data" refers to data products that cannot be distributed to the general public because of respondent confidentiality concerns, or because third-party licensing or use agreements prohibit redistribution. The MiCDA Enclave also provides access to a high performance computing environment, which allows secure and efficient processing of large data sets.

The current goals of the MiCDA Enclave are to 1) promote research with restricted data resources funded by the National Institute on Aging, specifically the Health and Retirement Study (HRS) and the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID) and 2) support MiCDA affiliates conducting aging-related research with restricted data or data that require a high performance computing environment.


Three groups of users are currently eligible: Qualified HRS users; Qualified PSID users; and MiCDA affiliates who wish to use the enclave for the purposes of conducting research on topics that fall under the research mission of the National Institute on Aging.

Note: Other UM-ISR faculty interested in a secure computing environment should contact Matt Toaz (mtoaz@umich.edu) to inquire about eligibility for using the Survey Research Center's Virtual Data Enclave. Researchers interested in using data from the Institute for Employment Research of the German Federal Employment Agency (UM-FDZ) or the 100% sample of U.S. Decennial Data (1940 and earlier) should contact Joelle Abramowitz (jabramow@umich.edu).

Accessing Enclave Resources

HRS and PSID users are encouraged to set up accounts in the MiCDA Virtual Data Enclave, which provides secure remote access from users' offices. We also provide access to a physical enclave for MiCDA affiliates requiring a stand-alone workstation with no connection to any other ISR network or the internet.

The MiCDA Virtual Data Enclave uses a Virtual Desktop Infrastructure to provide users with remote access to restricted data sets. Users are provided with a virtual Windows workstation. A unique password-protected profile is created for each user that provides access to the restricted data files specified in the individual User Agreement. All data remain on the MiCDA server, reducing the security burden on the individual researcher. The Virtual Enclave can be accessed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, except as noted below.

Each workstation is provided with a suite of statistical software (including SAS, Stata, SPPS, ArcGIS, R, and Stat/Transfer) and Microsoft Office. A limited number of setups also have MatLab and Mplus.

Note: Enclave Resources (Virtual and Physical) will be off-line and unavailable on the third Wednesday of every month for system maintenance. Please plan your access accordingly. MiCDA affiliates interested in a physically secure computing environment should contact Matt Toaz (mtoaz@umich.edu) to inquire about the physical enclave.

MiCDA Enclave Staff Support

Enclave staff members ensure that all restricted and public use datasets listed in the user's approved Research Plan are available from the Enclave user profile. They also provide assistance with dataset installation, software installation, operating system problems, statistical package operation, backups and user interface issues. Staff members do not provide assistance in carrying out statistical analysis.

User Supplied Data Sets

Researchers may provide outside data for use in the Data Enclave, subject to prior approval during the application process. See User-supplied Data for details.

Pre-Export Disclosure Review

Users may remove results of statistical analysis from the Data Enclave only after Enclave Staff have conducted a disclosure avoidance review in order to protect respondent confidentiality. The review process will include examination of both printed and on-line output. Machine readable data files containing analysis results can be exported only by Enclave Staff. See Rules for Pre-Export Disclosure Review for more information on the review process.

Archiving of User Files

Users store work files in their dedicated space on the Enclave network server. Enclave staff create and maintain backup copies of all files stored on the server on a daily basis. Backup data are fully encrypted and accessible only to Enclave staff. User files are stored separately from System files and are to be destroyed:

  1. upon the written request of the user or
  2. when the 2-year archive limit is reached.

To Apply for Access

Prospective users should first review and follow the application procedures for data access from each of the supported resources (HRS, PSID, or other restricted resources for MiCDA affiliates). They should then fill out the MiCDA application forms.

Questions may be submitted to the MiCDA Enclave.

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