Intelligent. Inspired. Innovative.

The National Strategic Planning & Analysis Research Center (NSPARC) connects academic research to real-world issues, representing the university as an innovative branch in society.

Federal grant enables MSU-led study of early childhood data

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NSPARC Is An Interdisciplinary Research Center at Mississippi State University

NSPARC has a mission to expand the reach of the university to policymakers, industry, and the public. We use smart data, analytical techniques, and high technology to make a difference, such as explaining education outcomes, helping Mississippi attract new businesses, and connecting job seekers to employment opportunities. NSPARC bases its innovative solutions on academic research from an ever-growing number of fields and always keeps an eye on the big picture.

Meet The Executive Team

NSPARC’s staff includes an executive team as well as university professors, data analysts, software developers, technical writers, IT professionals, and many others to provide the appropriate expertise for a wide variety of projects and innovative solutions.

Dr. Domenico "Mimmo" Parisi

Executive Director

Dr. Parisi is a Professor of Sociology and Executive Director of NSPARC. Dr. Parisi is also the Executive Director of the State Longitudinal Data System State Data Clearinghouse. He received his Ph.D. from the Pennsylvania State University. Dr. Parisi is a nationally and internationally recognized applied demographer. He represents the 21st century scholar with a focus on restructuring the role of social scientists beyond their academic pursuits to become problem solvers for public policy, economic development, and social problems that affect individuals and societies. Under Dr. Parisi’s leadership, nSPARC brings together expertise that focuses on the advance of methods and analytical techniques to transform "big data" into “smart data” raising the theoretical and empirical understanding of how individuals, groups, and society think and behave. Dr. Parisi’s work has appeared in top journals in his field, including American Sociological Review, Demography, Social Forces, Social Problems, Rural Sociology, and Social Science Quarterly.

Dr. Michael Taquino

Deputy Executive Director

Dr. Taquino is a Deputy Executive Director and an associate research professor at NSPARC. His responsibilities include oversight of the entire applied science aspect of the center. Dr. Taquino has also published in top journals in his field including American Sociological Review, Demography, Social Forces, Social Problems, Rural Sociology, and Social Science Quarterly. He is an upcoming scholar in demography and applied social sciences.

Dr. Steve Grice

Deputy Executive Director

Dr. Grice is a Deputy Executive Director and an associate research professor at NSPARC. His responsibilities include supporting the center in planning, organizing, and directing center programs and activities; conducting research; ensuring that operational procedures are efficient and aligned with protocols, standards, and goals; managing personnel; and developing staff. Dr. Grice has also published in top journals in his field including Demography, Social Forces, Social Problems, Rural Sociology, and Social Science Quarterly.

Martin Duclos

Deputy Executive Director

Mr. Duclos is a Deputy Executive Director at NSPARC. His responsibilities include oversight of system design and development and data integration for practical applications in government enterprise.

Our Works

NSPARC scientists and technicians produce peer-reviewed journal articles, technical reports, and web applications, including web sites, interactive technology such as kiosks, and mobile phone applications. Explore examples of our works below. Contact us to learn more about research and solutions or to find out what we can do for you.


NSPARC offers flexible research and development services to meet the specific needs of its partners. The center follows Mississippi State’s Responsible Conduct of Research plan, which requires researchers to conduct excellent research responsibly and ethically to gain public trust, and NSPARC provides state-of-the-art protection for the privacy and confidentiality of sensitive data. Contact us if you have any questions.

Strategic Planning

  • Program Evaluation
  • Computer-Assisted Focus Groups
  • Audience Response Systems and Polling
  • Survey Research and Design
  • Proposal Development

Data Analysis

  • Data Standardization and Integration
  • Data Warehousing
  • Multi-Level Research Planning and Design
  • Place-Based Analysis
  • Forecasting and Projections
  • Accountability Models

Predictive Analytics

  • Statistical Modeling
  • Forecasting
  • Data Extraction, Mining, and Analysis
  • Descriptive Statistics Reporting
  • Identification of Patterns
  • Risk Management and Decision Making

Technology Development

  • Application Development
  • Portal Development
  • Software Architecture and Design
  • Application Support
  • Database Modeling and Development
  • Mobile and Kiosk Technology

Data Collection: Polling Center

  • Telephone Interviews (CATI)
  • Web-based Interviews (CAWI)
  • Mail/Email/Fax Surveys
  • Automated Surveying (IVR)
  • In-Person Interviewing
  • Data Analysis
  • Full Featured Reporting(Daily (or as needed) data, frequency, call results, and productivity reports.)

Data Warehousing: Data Center

  • Infrastructure as a Service
    • Provisioned Hardware
    • Storage
    • Daily Backup
    • Replication and Fail-Over
    • Security (Intrusion Protection and Firewall)
    • Assured Power (Battery Backup and Generator)
  • Software as a Service
    • Hosted Systems (Custom-Built or Provided)
    • Application and Database Servers
    • Web Hosting
    • Security (IPS, Anti-Malware, File Security)
    • Systems Monitoring and Troubleshooting

Signature Research Areas

Computer Science & Cyber-Security

Demography & Geospatial Science

Early Childhood

Economic Development, Labor Market Analysis,
& Business Outreach

Education & Workforce

Energy Policy

Management Information Systems

Policy Analysis & Management

Race & Class Relations

Research Methods & Statistics

News & Media

Follow NSPARC on social media and via other sources.

Federal grant enables MSU-led study of early childhood data

STARKVILLE, Miss.—A recent $6.5 million federal grant is supporting a Mississippi State-led examination of best practices in early-childhood educational services.
Funding for the award comes from the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences to the Mississippi Department of Education and the university’s National Strategic Planning and Analysis Research Center.

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Dr. Parisi Visits Washington, D.C. to Talk about Smart Data

Dr. Domenico "Mimmo" Parisi was in Washington, D.C. Wednesday and Thursday to speak to Congressional members and staff about the importance of using appropriate data to help show improvements in education and workforce outcomes. The focus, said Parisi, is to move from the mindless use of big data to smart data. Parisi was attending a Workforce Data Quality Campaign conference.

NSPARC is the leading organization in the country in the development of methods and analytical tools for the implementation of smart data in state government.

The Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway can be gateway to global economy

STARKVILLE, Miss. – The Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway is an engine for economic development with great potential for future growth, said Domenico “Mimmo” Parisi, executive director of the National Strategic Planning and Analysis Research Center, or NSPARC, a research unit of Mississippi State University.

Parisi’s remarks, delivered Thursday [Aug. 27] at the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway Development Opportunities Conference in Point Clear, Ala., were based on a recent economic analysis of the Tenn-Tom Waterway produced by NSPARC.

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NSPARC Hosts Open House in New Office

The latest significant event in NSPARC’s history occurred on Aug. 7, when employees and their families and friends celebrated NSPARC’s new second floor location at the Mill at Mississippi State University. The new location, adjacent to the MSU campus, is in a restored cotton mill on Russell St. in Starkville.

Dr. Domenico “Mimmo” Parisi, NSPARC executive director, along with other speakers at the event and staff meeting, explained what it means for NSPARC to move into an office space that was custom-designed for the research center. This move represented the culmination of his childhood dream to “do something big” and move to America.

“Growing up in Italy, I told my father that I wanted to go to America and become a professor,” said Parisi. “He couldn’t understand it, but today represents the fulfillment of that dream.”

After years of being located in less attractive office buildings, such as an old sorority house and a former industrial plant, moving into the new office space is an achievement that was unimaginable when NSPARC began its research with small projects and budgets, said Parisi. The new office space brings together both the research staff and the polling center, formerly located in different buildings.

“Today, we conduct research for partners across the state and country,” said Parisi. “Our research is used by policymakers to look at outcomes and help design and evaluate programs for workforce development, education, and economic development.

“Other partners ask us to provide economic analyses that can be used to help attract new businesses to locate in Mississippi, such as the Yokohama plant and the expansion of Toyota,” said Parisi.

When Mike Taquino, deputy executive director at NSPARC, first suggested the idea of doing research that could make a difference in people’s lives, Parisi said he was not sure how it would work. It is hard to believe that NSPARC would grow into a center that specializes in work that connects academic research to real-world issues and is used and respected by partners throughout the country, said Parisi.

The impact of NSPARC’s research in the university and at the state level is impressive, said MSU College of Arts and Sciences Dean Greg Dunaway. The data-driven research produced by NSPARC brings recognition to MSU, enhancing the university’s research role.

Another way NSPARC impacts MSU is in its offering of research opportunities to students, said Seth Oppenheimer, professor of mathematics and director of undergraduate research for MSU’s Shackouls Honors College. Oppenheimer said NSPARC’s support of honors students help expand learning opportunities for them and provide assistance for study abroad programs.

Taquino and Steve Grice, deputy executive director at NSPARC, introduced NSPARC and its mission. Jonathan Barlow, a software architect at NSPARC, was selected randomly from a hat of employee names to cut the ribbon to open the new space.

MSU researcher: U.S. racial residential segregation evolving

STARKVILLE, Miss.–Racial residential segregation in the United States is changing its form. A new study co-authored by Mississippi State sociology professor Domenico “Mimmo” Parisi finds that, while neighborhood segregation declined between 1990-2010, segregation between suburbs and suburbs and central cities increasingly shifted the geography of exclusion from neighborhood-to-neighborhood to place-to-place.

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NSPARC Plays Key Role in $20 Million Grant to State

NSPARC's Dr. Mimmo Parisi was part of Miss. Gov. Phil Bryant's recent press conference where the Governor announced that Mississippi has been awarded a $20.5 M workforce program for SNAP recipients. Read more about the grant in a recent MSU press release.

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Launch of CO2-EOR Congressional Caucus

Mimmo Parisi: Happy to be part of this event today promoting CO2-EOR New Caucus. WASHINGTON, DC – On Tuesday, March 17, 2015, U.S. Representatives Michael Conaway (R-Texas), Marc Veasey (D-Texas), and Gregg Harper (R-Miss.) will host a launch event for the newly formed Congressional Carbon Dioxide Enhanced Oil Recovery (CO2-EOR) Caucus.

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Gov. Phil Bryant Visits NSPARC

Gov. Phil Bryant visited NSPARC today and talked about the valuable work done by NSPARC in workforce training research for the state of Mississippi. He said NSPARC’s research is helpful to the legislature and the governor as they make important decisions about funding programs that are effective.

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2015 Manufacturing Summit

Gov. Phil Bryant: "Since last year, the Mississippi furniture industry has created 595 jobs and has $4.4 million in private sector investment," at today's Annual Furniture Manufacturing Summit at MSU.

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Get in Touch

We’d like to hear from you. Contact NSPARC by phone or by e-mail. Messages can be sent below.

Contact Info

NSPARC at The Mill at MSU
600 Russell St.
P.O. Box 6027
Starkville, MS 39759