Institute for Research on Innovation & Science (IRIS)

At a Glance
  • Status: Active Consortium
  • Year Launched: 2015
  • Initiating Organization: The University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research
  • Initiator Type: Academia
  • No disease focus
  • Location: North America


The Institute for Research on Innovation & Science (IRIS) a national source for data to support fundamental research on the results of public and private investments in discovery, innovation, and education. It provides credible data and rigorous findings about the productivity and public value of the research enterprise to inform effective policy-making, support outreach, aid in research management, and expand the state of knowledge. IRIS transforms the successful UMETRICS initiative (Universities: Measuring the Impacts of Research on Innovation, Competitiveness and Science) developed by the Committee on Institutional Cooperation (CIC) into a permanent national resource by creating a secure professional data platform for the research community and university administrators.


The mission of the Institute is to be a trusted resource for high quality data that supports independent, frontier research on science and innovation in the service of the public interest. The institute is focused on working with the research community to advance agendas targeting the contribution of science to economic growth, the structure and aging of the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) workforce, the production of biomedical science, and the development of theoretically grounded measures of the social networks that link investigators, topics, and organizations to one another.

Consortium History

The Institute for Research on Innovation and Science (IRIS) is a university consortium established in 2015, located at the University of Michigan

Structure & Governance

IRIS members contribute data, support infrastructure and receive campus-specific and aggregate reports. Research nodes are responsible for helping to define scientific goals, develop a research community, and make material improvements to the core data. Current nodes include:
- Big Ten Academic Alliance, (Barbara McFadden Allen)
- New York University, (Julia Lane)
- Ohio State University / National Bureau of Economic Research, (Bruce Weinberg)
- University of Chicago, (James Evans)
- U.S. Census Bureau, (Ron Jarmin)

Approved nodes materially improve data, develop products, and expand user communities. Once data has been de-identified, approved users are able to access secure datasets from nodes or from organizations that partner with IRIS.

Core IRIS operations occur at:
- University of Michigan Institute for Social Research (Jason Owen-Smith, IRIS Executive Director)
- IRIS UM Staff


$2.5 million in seed funding from the Ewing Marion Kauffman and Alfred P. Sloan foundations, followed by grant funding by individual federal agencies for specific projects.

Intellectual Property

Public elements (e.g. grants, publications, patents) are made available; more sensitive elements are subject to security provisions. Links to Census data are only accessible through Census Research Data Centers. All of our work is built around common identifiers so that researchers can add elements to the data, with the expectation that linked elements will be accessible later for future researchers.”

Data Sharing

For information on joining and contributing to the consortium, please visit:


IRIS expands the UMETRICS Initiatives (Universities: Measuring the Impacts of Research on Innovation, Competitiveness and Science), which demonstrated that universities can leverage and link their own administrative data to better understand their research portfolios, document economic impact, and generate new scholarly findings.

Since 2013, some 63 researchers have accessed UMETRICS data under strict confidentiality protections to pursue research projects that analyze the career outcomes of graduate students, the dynamics and consequences of an aging scientific workforce, the optimal structure of scientific research teams, the contributions of academic discoveries to food safety and security, and entrepreneurship by faculty, staff, and students.

Research projects sparked by UMETRICS were supported by six grants totaling nearly $10 million from three federal science agencies. These projects produced peer-reviewed articles in Science and Research Policy, as well as aggregate and campus-level reports that participating institutions used effectively in outreach to boards of regents and trustees, and to state and federal legislators.

Points of Contact

Jason Owen-Smith
IRIS Executive Director
Institute for Research on Innovation and Science
University of Michigan
Institute for Social Research
Survey Research Center
426 Thompson St, 3318 ISR
Ann Arbor, MI, 48106-1248
P: (734) 615-0015
F: (734) 936-0548

Membership Inquiries and Operations:
Nancy Calvin-Naylor, IRIS Managing Director
(734) 615-7464


Technical Issues:
Kevin Bjorne, IRIS Technical Director
(734) 936-0465


Researcher Access:
Natsuko Nicholls, IRIS Data Manager
(734) 763-0447

Scheduling Requests:
Evalyn Yanna, IRIS Administrative Assistant
(734) 615-0015


Contracts, Invoicing and Pre and Post-Grant Administration:
Karen Woollams, IRIS Research Coordinator
(734) 936-0444

Sponsors & Partners

The U.S. Census Bureau

Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation

Alfred P. Sloan Foundation

Boston University

Emory University

Indiana University

Michigan State University

New York University

Northwestern University

The Ohio State University

Oregon State University

Pennsylvania State University

Princeton University

Purdue University

Rutgers University-The State University of New Jersey

Stony Brook University

University of Arizona

University of California Office of the President (UCOP)

University of Cincinnati

University of Colorado-Boulder

University of Hawaii

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

University of Iowa

University of Kansas

University of Michigan

University of Missouri

University of Oregon

University of Pennsylvania

University of Pittsburgh

University of Virginia

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Last Updated: 06/19/2017

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