U.S. Department of Commerce


Research & Development 2014
(R&D 2014)

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General Information - Background

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BACKGROUND

The U.S. Census Bureau's mission is to collect and disseminate timely, relevant, and quality data about the people and economy of the United States. Over 200 years ago, the United States Constitution laid the foundation for what is today one of the world's largest and most comprehensive data gathering organizations. Every month, quarter, and year, the Census Bureau plans and conducts over 100 sample surveys that update and add to information from the economic census (taken every five years) and the population census (taken every ten years). These data collections would be impossible without continuous research and development.

The Census Bureau's core business is conducting large-scale surveys and censuses. This includes a full range of activities required to produce data, including list development, sample selection and estimation, questionnaire design, enumeration, and data capture, processing, tabulation, analysis and dissemination. To remain preeminent in this field, we must conduct scientific research and technological development to support our capabilities to carry out the tasks for surveys and censuses. We must research methodological and statistical advances that may reduce cost and resources and improve quality. We must stay abreast of the latest technological advances through assessment and conduct research on the use of such technology to take advantage of its capabilities. We must be aware of our customers' and respondents' concerns and willingness to participate. We must evaluate programs and practices to determine if they are achieving desired results at a reasonable cost, especially in light of the current environment of cost effective government programs.

RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT 2014 CONTRACT

The Research and Development 2014 Contracts are indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity multiple task order contracts for the purpose of obtaining contractor services in highly technical areas to support research and development activities across all Census Bureau programs. The R&D 2014 contracts provides a pool of highly skilled contractors and services to assist the Census Bureau in conducting research on all survey and census methodology and processes to improve Census Bureau products and services. The 5-year contracts allow Census Bureau program managers to obtain outside research services quickly and easily and from individuals and groups with advanced degrees and specialized knowledge, which are not always available in-house. We are interested in attracting educational institutions; university supported firms; and privately owned firms that concentrate in sample survey research, methodology and applications.

The new contract, R&D 2014 will be the fourth in the series of five-year contracts. The first two five-year contracts, 1997 indefinite quantity task order contract and R&D 2002 expended almost $9 million and $39 million, respectively. To date, the current R&D 2007 has expended almost $68 million. The 1997-series contracts were awarded to six (6) contractors and a total of 44 task orders were awarded over the five-year period of the contracts. For R&D 2002, eighteen (18) contracts were awarded and a total of 101 task orders were awarded over the five-year period of the contracts. For R&D 2007, twenty-five (25) contracts were awarded and, to date, we have awarded over 67 task orders.

The demand for contracting of research and development services has increased with years of government downsizing, aging workforce and attrition, loss of institutional knowledge, and a fiercely competitive job market for advanced, specialized skills. While the Census Bureau has extensive need for staff with highly specialized capabilities, the majority of the current staff is engaged in the day-to-day activities of survey design, data collection and processing. The Census Bureau has only a small number of employees devoted to the development and adaptation of mathematical statistical theory and emerging technology. Given the broad scope and the large number of research topics, it is not practical for the Census Bureau to try to hire and retain staff with all the needed expertise. The Census Bureau has a history of collaborating with outside experts, fostering a strong positive relationship with the professional community. Contracting for these services formalizes this process. The Census Bureau will not use this contract when it has or intends to use available Government in-house resources.

As in the previous contracts, multiple awards are anticipated to select contractors to support the Census Bureau's research and development efforts. Services are needed in five major research and development technical areas:

  1. Assessment, Planning and Analysis;
  2. Data Analysis and Dissemination;
  3. Methodological Research;
  4. Statistical Analysis and Evaluation; and
  5. Survey Engineering.



Source: U.S. Census Bureau
Acquisition Division
Last Revised: October 15, 2012