The University of Michigan has announced the formation of the Institute for Research on Innovation and Science (IRIS), to be housed in its Institute for Social Research. Representing a national research network, IRIS is focused on helping understand the public value of research funding.
Development of a robust data infrastructure is high on the Institute’s list of projects. This work is an outgrowth of the STAR METRICS program. Per a draft FAQ document, IRIS will focus on four major areas:
- The contribution of science to economic growth;
- The structure and aging of the STEM workforce;
- The production of biomedical science; and
- Develop theoretically grounded measures of the social networks that link investigators, topics, and organizations to one another
At the moment, the Institute appears focused primarily on the inputs into science and engineering research. Of course, that’s just one part of the process(es) of producing science and engineering knowledge. But a stronger data infrastructure can help in determining the links between those inputs and the corresponding outputs (and outcomes) of that research.