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Approximately 75 researchers have active accounts in the IRIS data enclave in order to access the IRIS research dataset as of fall 2022. In all, nearly 500 researchers have accessed the dataset since its creation in 2017.

The 2022 research dataset, the IRIS’ fifth release, includes information on research spending, vendor contracts and employees from more than 80 campuses across the country. It contains data on more than 535,000 sponsored research grants worth more than $137 billion, about $31 billion in payments to more than 970,000 vendors of research-related goods and services, and wages to about 864,000 employees.

Ongoing research using the dataset is addressing a broadening range of topics, as shown in the table below. One recent example was an article in Nature magazine titled “Women are Credited Less in Science than are Men.”  IRIS provides the replication data for authorized data users in the VDE. 

For more information on the dataset and how to access it, see

A Sample of Work Being Undertaken Using IRIS UMETRICS Data

Note: In most cases, researchers use both IRIS UMETRICS and user provided data. 

Impact of Research Funding & Spending
  • Document the impact of COVID-19 on academic research activity through research teams and vendor spending before and during the pandemic
  • Examine how federally funded research yields safer and more secure food systems
  • Study the impact of funding delay and interruptions on science and employees, using IRIS UMETRICS data and W2 data at the Census Bureau linked to IRIS data
  • Compare nonprofit and NIH funding in the funding of research relevant to the burden of disease in the U.S. and world
  • Quantify the interplay between publications and scientific grants from different agencies
  • Identify the impact of foreign funding source on publication attribution
  • Measure how university vendors produce additional innovations and contribute to regional growth
  • Examine the efficacy of past low-carbon U.S. stimulus energy policy measures through analyzing the data on recipients of federal awards and research dollars, state-by-state clean energy RDD and  infrastructure spending
  • Benchmark university licensing and revenue performance with different federal funding streams
Impact of Research on Students
  • Determine how research experience shapes the career pathways of students
  • Analyze undergraduate research experience and the effect of employment on master degree outcomes through the use of both qualitative and quantitative data
  • Analyze gender differences in graduate studies and early career pathways within STEM fields
  • Examine the effects of competition on the reproduction of science in graduate training, testing whether competition drives graduate students to replicate or differentiate from their advisors’ work
  • Study collaborative research impacts of hard/soft skills on STEM workforce trajectories through the use of both qualitative (survey data from graduating Ph.D. students at IRIS member universities) and quantitative data (IRIS UMETRICS) – examine whether these skills were predicted by demographic features or programmatic features that were present in either the survey or IRIS data
  • Analyze graduate students’ roles in academic teams and the outcomes of interdisciplinary teams and students
  • Explore how deaths of faculty members (academic advisors) affect students performance
Process and Outcome of Research
  • Describe the early career trajectories of STEM faculty, examining funding and research teams in the contexts of gender, early career awards, and areas of research.
  • Examine whether differences in the relative structure and impact of social networks between men and women are a critical factor in the persistent gender attribution gap
  • Explore the impact of funding on the rate, direction, and organization of scientific work with a focus on research automation
  • Explore the way scientific knowledge is translated into society by the public service activities of faculty
  • Study the role of professional (or support) staff as actors in knowledge-production networks within universities
  • Study the effect of research team’s gender composition and the interdisciplinarity on production disruptive research 
  • Study changes in knowledge production and their impact on individuals’ scientific career
  • Explore the relationships between publication (productivity, impact, etc.) and funding (funding agency, amount, etc.) to quantity scientific funding in individual careers
  • Study the role of mentorship (and the lack of it) through the data on deaths of senior faculty as a shock to Postdocs and graduate students’ research and career trajectory
  • Document antecedents and consequences of teaming within the domain of sponsored research in STEM field, using both Survey of Earned Doctorates (SED) and IRIS UMETRICS data
  • Examine different rates of commercialization of ideas with a focus on gender and racial disparities
Other (e.g., Data Security and Methodology) 
  • Test advanced data security techniques such as fully homomorphic encryption using restricted access data