CIC’s UMETRICS Dataset Provides Insight into Networks and Impacts of the Academic Research Workforce

Nov 05, 2015

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 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.

Already, the data have been used to analyze how investments in research affect the economy through expenditures on people and purchases from vendors (read more in Science 4 April 2014). A forthcoming article in Science expands the analysis even further.

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.

Association for Women in Science
| Summer 2015

The new data infrastructure constitutes an important opportunity for breakthrough research on science and innovation that can inform many aspects of science policy. In addition to issues related to under-representation of women and other groups, they will support a wide range of analyses of the creation, transmission, and utilization of ideas and at an unprecedented level. They will rely on algorithmic, “big data” methods to combine and mine data from a wide range of sources at low burden. And, the resulting confidentiality protected data will be made available to the research community through the newly founded Institute for Research on Innovation and Science (IRIS).

For more, please see the full article and visit The Institute for Research on Innovation and Science.