Scientific & Technical Core

In 2016, the Computing Core of the PRC expanded to become the Scientific & Technical Core (STC). The STC comprises two units: Data Science and Research Services and Computing and Data Security. The STC supports the PRC’s scientific mission by providing state-of-the-art research services and sophisticated technical and computing support. The scientific, technical, and computing services provided by the two core units form a cohesive whole to provide critical footing for PRC faculty to conduct and disseminate groundbreaking research in population dynamics.

Pamela Paxton, PhD, Core Director

The STC is directed by Dr. Pamela Paxton. Paxton was Director of the PRC Computing Core from 2011-2016 and is now Director of the expanded STC in 2016, providing important continuity for the Core during this transition. An experienced PI, Paxton has a deep understanding of the scientific needs of grant-active faculty. Her substantive expertise in statistics (e.g., structural equation modeling) and methods (e.g., novel approaches to improving measurement, such as multiple indicators, expert coders, network methodologies, and textual analysis) and her extensive experience teaching statistics and methods (including at ICPSR) give her the insight essential to providing leadership for STC activities. Paxton’s knowledge of issues related to collecting and analyzing new forms of data (e.g., social media data, big data, etc.) positions her to successfully direct the STC, as expertise and services supporting the use of such data grows.

Data Science and Research Services (DSRS) Unit Computing and Data Security (CDS) Unit

Elizabeth A. Vandewater, PhD, Unit Lead

The Data Science and Research Services (DSRS) Unit Aims to:

  • Provide statistical and methodological support for faculty to develop high-impact research projects.
  • Provide access to the newest developments in statistics, methodology, and data science to support innovative population research.
  • Provide expertise and support for dissemination of scientific findings to diverse external audiences.

DSRS Services and Activities Include:

The Computing and Data Security Unit Aims to:

  • Provide robust, flexible, and customized computing infrastructure solutions designed to reduce barriers to productivity.
  • Provide state-of-the-art data security to maintain a secure computing environment for storage of, access to, linking across, and analysis of sensitive data.

CDS Services and Activities Include:

Governance and STC Advisory Committee

The STC Director and unit leaders work collaboratively in consultation with the PRC Director, and with input from the PRC Governance Committee to make decisions about STC services, resources, evaluation, and assessment. In addition, Paxton works closely with the STC Advisory Committee, which includes Karen Fingerman (multi-modal data collection), Mark Hayward (demographic methods), Jungfeng Jiao (spatial analytics, GIS), Daniel Powers (categorical data analysis, survival analysis, age-period-cohort effects), and Kelly Raley (data linking, Texas Federal Statistical Research Data Center [RDC] Director). Raley chairs the Advisory Committee and leads the development of new initiatives for the STC. The advisory committee meets quarterly to formulate policy, identify developing population research trends, assess and revise computing and security needs, recommend new software, and generally set the scientific agenda for the STC.

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