Mission and History

The Mission

This Advanced Spatial Analysis program, funded by The Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), is the successor of the previous GIS and Population Science program (2008–2012). The primary objectives of this program have been: 

  1. In the first four years of the program  to move beyond basic GIS training to set the highest standards for spatial analysis instruction in the population sciences by offering a series of advanced spatial analysis workshops on such cutting-edge techniques as spatial regression modeling, geographically weighted regression, the integration of spatial and multi-level modeling, and spatial pattern analysis; and
  2. In year five of the program, to supplement the workshops with the development of resource materials on advanced spatial analysis methods for access by workshop participants and by the broader international community of population scientists via http://gispopsci.org.

In support of this mission, the Population Research Institute (The Pennsylvania State University) and the Center for Spatially Integrated Social Science (University of California, Santa Barbara) combined their expertise to offer national workshops for Ph.D. students, postdocs, and young faculty in demography and in related fields with research interest in population science. Since 2008, 200 individualsselected from a highly competitive field of applicantshave completed week-long residential workshops in advanced spatial analysis.

The Target Audience

From 2008 to 2011 the Advanced Spatial Analysis workshops provided intensive training for young researchers in geographic information science specifically tailored toward population science. The primary workshop attendees were interdisciplinary pre-doctoral students of demography at NICHD-supported population training centers in the United States, institutional members of the wider Association of Population Centers (APC), graduate students in demography-related disciplines from both APC and non-APC institutions (including agricultural economics, anthropology, economics, geography, public health, rural sociology, sociology), as well as young faculty and researchers employed in population agencies.

Host Organizations and Program Funding

The Penn State and UCSB partnership builds on shared expertise in GIS instruction, spatial statistics, and cartographic visualization; shared experience in workshop and conference management; and complementary expertise in demographic science, distance learning, and digital libraries.

The GIS Population Science program is funded by The Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), as an R25 award titled “Advanced Spatial Analysis Training Program for Population Scientists” (5R25 HD057002-05). The support of NICHD is gratefully acknowledged.