MiCDA Enclave Overview

The MiCDA Enclave is funded by the Michigan Center on the Demography of Aging (NIA P30 AG12846), the Health and Retirement Study (NIA U01AG009740), and the Michigan Retirement Research Center (SSA 10 P-98358-5). The Survey Research Center and the Population Studies Center of the Institute for Social Research also provide support for the operation of this facility.


The Michigan Center on the Demography of Aging (MiCDA) Enclave provides appropriate, secure computing environments in which researchers access and analyze restricted data files. The Enclave encompasses both a secure physical location inside the Institute for Social Research and a Virtual Data Enclave that provides researchers with secure remote access. 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 maintains respondent confidentiality by providing a controlled, secure environment in which eligible researchers can perform analyses of these restricted data resources.

Restricted data resources that can be accessed, with appropriate permissions, in the MiCDA Enclave include restricted data from the Health and Retirement Study and the Panel Study of Income Dynamics. The Enclave also provides access to data from the Institute for Employment Research of the German Federal Employment Agency (UM-FDZ). Other restricted data resources can be used in the MiCDA Enclave with appropriate permission. Enclave users have access to statistical analysis software, specialized application software, compilers, and utilities necessary to manipulate and analyze restricted data.

Two Ways to Access Enclave Resources

Virtual Enclave 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 7 workstation with a complete suite of data analytic software and Microsoft Office. 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 24x7.

Physical Enclave The MiCDA Data Enclave, located inside the Institute for Social Research, offers workstations that provide access to restricted data, but which have no connection to any other ISR network or to the Internet. A unique password-protected profile is created for each Enclave user which allows the user to access the restricted data files specified in the individual User Agreement. The physical Data Enclave can be accessed 24x7.

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.


Faculty members of accredited institutions of higher education, students who are currently enrolled in an accredited graduate or undergraduate program and other researchers who wish to use MiCDA restricted data files but are unable to fulfill the contractual conditions for off-site access.

Enclave Staff Support

Enclave staff ensure that all restricted and public use datasets listed in the user's approved Research Plan are available from the Enclave user profile. Enclave staff provide assistance with dataset installation, software installation, operating system problems, statistical package operation, backups and user interface issues. Enclave users are responsible for developing and implementing all data management procedures necessary to produce datasets to be used for analysis. Staff members do not provide assistance in carrying out statistical analysis. 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:

To Apply for Access

Prospective users should review and follow the application procedures for data access from each of the supported resources (HRS, PSID, FDZ).

Questions may be submitted to the MiCDA Enclave.

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