Universities: Measuring the Impacts of Research on Innovation, Competitiveness, and Science

Universities have a central role in documenting the results of research – from the most fundamental science and humanities to the applied projects of professional schools, research institutes, and affiliated hospitals. The UMETRICS initiative brings Science of Science Policy researchers together with university Vice Presidents for Research from CIC institutions to build a scientific framework that will inform research management, enable evidence-based decision-making, and support credible advocacy.

In addition to generating frontier scientific analyses, the goal of UMETRICS is to present results that are readily accessible to the research policy community. Our projects embed research on how universities can influence the policy debate and advance institutional ability to effectively communicate the results of research to donors, policy makers, and other key stakeholders. In addition, each project will develop a set of tools that will be directly useful for research administrators, including algorithms to quantify the impact of research and tools to foster and design high-performing teams. Findings from the initial analysis of UMETRICS data were published in the journal Science, "Science Funding and Short-Term Economic Activity."

The foundation for UMETRICS is a common, large-scale, automated data platform on the research enterprise made possible by the Federal STAR METRICS (Science and Technology for America’s Reinvestment—Measuring the EffecTs of Research on Innovation, Competitiveness, and Science) project and massive advances in the methods and tools to combine, mine, and analyze big data on research. 

The UMETRICS initiative builds off of the groundbreaking work of the National Science Foundation, and provides a rich data set to support analysis of research impact. The project encompasses multiple, grant-funded activities launched and led by CIC member university faculty. Ultimately, the project aims to establish a robust infrastructure supporting researchers world wide in better understanding the research initiatives that fund and fuel innovation worldwide.

Data Analysis Using 2012 UMETRICS Data from Nine Participating CIC Universities

Differences in workforce composition in projects funded by NSF divisions and NIH institutes

Geographic distribution of vendor and sub award expenditures

Research Portfolio Dashboard to visualize linkages between research inputs, research workforce, and associated economic activity, and researcher outcomes