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Measuring the Impacts of Federal Investments in Research: A Workshop Summary.


National Academies (US) Committee on Measuring Economic and Other Returns on Federal Research Investments.


Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 2011.
The National Academies Collection: Reports funded by National Institutes of Health.


On April 18–19, 2011, the Board on Science, Technology, and Economic Policy (STEP) of the National Research Council and the Committee on Science, Engineering and Public Policy (COSEPUP), a joint unit of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine, held a workshop to examine this question The workshop brought together academic researchers, research and development (R and D) managers from private industry, representatives from government agencies, leaders of philanthropic organizations, and others to look at the very broad range of issues associated with evaluating the returns on federal investments (Appendix A). Speakers included researchers who have worked on the topic for decades and early-career researchers who are pioneering non-traditional approaches to the topic. In recent years, new research has appeared and new data sets have been created or are in development. Moreover, international interest in the topic has broadened substantially—in Latin America and Asia as well as in Europe. The workshop included presentations by speakers from abroad to gain their perspectives on methods of analysis. The workshop sought to assemble the range of work that has been done in measuring research outcomes and to provide a forum to discuss its methods. The workshop’s goal was not to identify a single best method or few best methods of measuring research impacts. The workshop considered methodological differences across fields of research to identify which can be applied to the broad range of federal research funding. It did not address the role of federal funding in the development of technology.

Copyright © 2011, National Academy of Sciences.

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