Matt Hourihan recently spoke with Dr. Jason Owen-Smith and E.J. Reedy to discuss the value of public research and IRIS’ data platform…

A Q&A with the Institute for Research on Innovation & Science

A new endeavor, driven by Midwestern research universities, is seeking to better understand the workings, output, and value of the science enterprise.

In recent years, there’s been growing interest in finding ways to better evaluate the public science and technology enterprise: how it works, how it could work better, and what we’re ultimately getting out of it. Now, a group of experts is hoping to take a step forward on some of these questions through a new research endeavor, dubbed the Institute for Research on Innovation & Science, or IRIS.

Housed at the University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research, IRIS is creating a data platform incorporating an array of metrics on the science and innovation system, from individual participation and career trajectories, to material and equipment purchasing patterns, to publication and patent outputs over the long term. The project hopes to further connect and expand the community that’s engaged in these efforts, building on previous federal and academic pilot efforts. The project was developed via the Committee on Institutional Cooperation, a consortium of the Big Ten schools and the University of Chicago, and has received funding from the Kauffman and Sloan foundations.

The AAAS R&D Budget and Policy Program recently spoke to Dr. Jason Owen-Smith, Professor of Sociology and Organizational Studies at the University of Michigan and Executive Director of IRIS, and E.J. Reedy, Director of Research and Policy at the Kauffman Foundation, to learn more.

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