Use Cases

IRIS provides rich and informative reports for member universities to use in communications, in federal and state relations, and for making data-driven decisions on research administration.

Externally facing strategies

For external audiences, IRIS reports illustrate the various economic impacts and career pathways made possible by research funding. IRIS includes press release templates with each of our reports, which several universities have used to promote the positive results of their research expenditures:

Member universities also use IRIS reports to show state and federal policymakers the importance and value of research investments. Many also use IRIS data to highlight the economic impact of research in annual reports and other publications.

Internally facing strategies

For internal audiences, IRIS reports inform data-driven decisions on how best to structure their research enterprises and spending, among other purposes.

IRIS members use their reports in a variety of ways on their campuses, including connection to and learning from campus constituents who have an interest in understanding their institution’s social and economic impact. The reports are shared with leadership, from institute directors to deans to presidential speechwriters to governing bodies.

There is considerable interest in highlighting specific aspects of the data, such as student employment on research awards. Some universities use these reports to connect campus leaders from disparate units who share a common interest such as student success; these groups can study the IRIS reports to learn more about how to better support their students.

The IRIS Impact Finder

In order to help member universities find use cases that illustrate the impact of their research investments, IRIS created the Impact Finder. This tool allows users to search by geography, funding source, size of award, and keyword.

The Impact Finder is now available to IRIS members through the Member Portal.


Using IRIS Data

The Lincoln Project: Capturing the Impact of Research Spending

In one if its reports, The American Academy of Arts & Sciences’ Lincoln Project: Excellence and Access in Public Higher Education provided a set of recommendations to strengthen and stabilize public research universities.

To illustrate the positive impact research universities have on the economy, the project used IRIS data to plot spending from eight universities.

This type of map is included in several of the reports that IRIS regularly provides to member institutions. For more on IRIS reports, visit our Reports and Products page. 

Boston University: Government Relations

When leadership of the Boston University Office of Research was preparing to meet with Massachusetts state legislators, they turned to IRIS data. They put together a presentation showing the nationwide spending from BU research projects; in-state vendor spending at the county and congressional levels; vendor industry details; employee destinations; and graduate and post-doc employment and earning outcomes.

These are all data points available to IRIS members through our periodic reports.

Carlin’s Creations: A Case Study in Promoting the Value of Research

In 2018, the University of Michigan was in the midst of its “This is Michigan” campaign to demonstrate the reach and scope of its research enterprise across the state. Querying the IRIS dataset that links U-M administrative data with Census data, IRIS helped identify a business on the west side of Michigan, Carlin’s Creations, that had received a research contract with a professor in the U-M Kinesiology Department. The company produces treadmills used by infants with Down syndrome, which Prof. Dale Ulrich had discovered helps the children develop more quickly. Carlin’s Creation has produced more than 400 treadmills for patients across the country, and had to expand to meet the demand.

Read more

U-M Press Release

U-M Video

Example of Media Coverage

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