“We know as little about what our key social and economic needs will be 30 years from now as we might have known about the Internet in 1974. We should be managing our publicly funded R&D system as a capacity and infrastructure for our society to hedge against an uncertain future.”
Academics can guide the economic assessment of science to permit it to grow, rather than constrain, the scientific endeavour
Julia Lane and Jason Owen-Smith discuss the value of IRIS data in the Nature Assessment article “Academic Return.” The premise is that scientists themselves — rather than the publications or patents — are the main vehicles by which research fuels economic growth. IRIS data allow observational experiments that can directly test this people-centric model by tracking how scientific training affects career trajectories and returns to industry. Preliminary IRIS data indicate, for example, that a science doctorate improves a person’s chances of entering a high- tech industry, which will result in higher wages and greater productivity.