The Chronicle of Higher Education reports that federal science-financing agencies have been working with universities to devise a way to measure how their expenditures help the national economy. A new initiative called Science and Technology for America’s Reinvestment: Measuring the Effect of Research on Innovation, Competitiveness and Science (STAR METRICS) will monitor the impact of federal science investments on employment, knowledge generation, and health outcomes. The initiative is led by the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation (NSF), and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). STAR METRICS will help the Federal government document the value of its investments in research and development, to a degree not previously possible. Together, NSF and NIH have committed $1 million for the program’s first year. The program will measure the impact of federal grants on jobs, patents, publications, citations, and business start-ups.
According to participants, data for the program will come from research institutions that volunteer to participate and the federal agencies that fund them and information will be gathered from the universities in a highly automated way, with minimal or no burden for the scientists and the university administration.