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The University of North Texas will join the Institute for Research on Innovation and Science (IRIS), a consortium of America’s leading higher educational institutions focused on providing data to demonstrate the public value of sponsored scientific research.

In fiscal year 2023, UNT research expenditures exceeded $39 million while researchers garnered a record high total of sponsored project awards with more than $86 million in funding from top national agencies such as the U.S. Department of Defense, National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation and U.S. Department of Education. With its collaboration with IRIS, UNT will now have new tools to inform research policy decisions and to show the value of its research enterprise in workforce training, economic development, and the career paths of researchers.

“Accurate data on the positive economic and employment effects of research are very important in crafting effective policies to expand our research contributions, but are often hard to come by,” said UNT Vice President for Research and Innovation, Pamela Padilla. “IRIS will provide us with valuable data to help us make necessary policy choices, and to show the many ways in which our research benefits society and the economy.”

IRIS will provide UNT with detailed data and reports on research spending, research vendors, and the employment and earnings of research-trained employees.

The University’s membership also gives all researchers on campus no-cost access to the rich and detailed dataset IRIS has developed on the impact of funded research — including transaction-level information on more than 580,000 sponsored projects representing approximately $192 billion of direct cost expenditures and employing more than 985,000 people on nearly 10 campuses across the country.

UNT joins several other public universities in Texas as IRIS members, an effort facilitated by the Council of Public University Presidents and Chancellors (CPUPC) which aims to demonstrate the collective effect public universities have in Texas.

“We’re thrilled to welcome the University of North Texas into the IRIS consortium,” said IRIS Executive Director Jason Owen-Smith, a professor of sociology at the University of Michigan. “UNT’s addition strengthens our presence in Texas, and will help us paint a more complete picture of public universities’ impact on the state’s economy and workforce.”

IRIS, a consortium of research universities, was founded in 2015 and is housed at the University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research, the world’s largest academic social science survey and research organization. IRIS collects transaction-level data from its members on their sponsored research projects. These data are linked to information on scientific outcomes at multiple levels of analysis. Linkages to federal employment and earnings data are available through the Federal Statistical Research Data Center (FSRDC) system administered by the U.S. Census Bureau. Researchers interested in accessing the data can find more information at For more information, visit

The Council of Public University Presidents & Chancellors (CPUPC) comprises Texas public general academic universities, system offices, health-related institutions, and the three two-year state colleges in the Houston area. For more information, see

Ranked a Tier One research university by the Carnegie Classification and designated a Hispanic- and Minority-Serving Institution, UNT is the flagship of the UNT System and is located in Denton. Boasting 250 degree programs and a thriving community of nearly 47,000 students, UNT serves the North Texas region and helps drive the state’s economy through innovative research, educational excellence focused on career readiness, and a spirit of entrepreneurship. Together, with its branch campus in Frisco, UNT students earned more than 12,000 degrees last year.

Dan Meisler, IRIS Communications Manager, 734-223-5857,
UNT Media Contact: Devynn Case, UNT Director of Media Relations, 940-565-3509,
UNT Research Contact: Heather Noel, Associate Director of Research Communications,