What are the results of investments in research? Why should taxpayers support universities? How do universities affect the regional economy? These are questions that are beginning to be answered within the CIC (and more broadly in the research university community) thanks to an effort incubated in the CIC called UMETRICS.
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 consortium successfully started a pilot project that brought together CIC researchers and Vice Presidents for Research, and the U.S. Census Bureau to develop a means of tracing the ways in which research spending affected economic activity. The team attracted over $10 million in support from NSF, NIA, and the USDA. The approach was so successful that the Alfred P. Sloan and Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundations supported the establishment of the Institute for Research on Innovation and Science (IRIS) at the University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research. IRIS will now manage the UMETRICS effort, adding new universities and data for a greater impact.
In addition, the Summer 2015 newsletter of the Association for Women in Science featured a piece co-authored by the UMETRICS team. Among the several findings generated through a preliminary analysis of the data: women graduate students are more likely to be employed on grants with women as principal investigators. Future analysis could be done to examine the difference in composition, training, and performance of teams along lines of gender, race, ethnicity, and discipline.
Julia Lane American Institutes for Research
Bruce A. Weinberg Ohio State University
Jason Owen-Smith University of Michigan
Rebecca Rosen American Institutes for Research
Barbara McFadden Allen
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