News Release

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

STAR METRICS: New Way to Measure the Impact of Federally Funded Research

A new initiative promises to monitor the impact of federal science investments on employment, knowledge generation, and health outcomes. The initiative—Science and Technology for America’s Reinvestment: Measuring the Effect of Research on Innovation, Competitiveness and Science, or STAR METRICS—is a multi-agency venture 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.

"STAR METRICS will yield a rigorous, transparent review of how our science investments are performing," said NIH Director, Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D. "In the short term, we’ll know the impact on jobs. In the long term, we’ll be able to measure patents, publications, citations, and business start-ups."

Data for the program will come from research institutions that volunteer to participate and the federal agencies that fund them. Information will be gathered from the universities in a highly automated way, with minimal or no burden for the scientists and the university administration.

"It is essential to document with solid evidence the returns our Nation is obtaining from its investment in research and development," said John P. Holdren, Assistant to the President for Science and Technology and Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. "STAR METRICS is an important element of doing just that."

STAR METRICS is based on a highly successful pilot program that includes seven research institutions. Now the program is being extended to more universities, with 60 already having expressed interest in taking part.

"This project will greatly help science agencies and the research community collaborate in describing and assessing the impacts of federal investments in science and engineering research and education," said Arden L. Bement, Jr., director of the NSF. "We are very pleased to be participating in the STAR METRICS program."

There are two-phases to the program. The first phase will use university administrative records to calculate the employment impact of federal science spending through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and agencies' existing budgets. The second phase will measure the impact of science investment in four key areas:

Economic growth will be measured through indicators such as patents and business start-ups. Workforce outcomes will be measured by student mobility into the workforce and employment markers. Scientific knowledge will be measured through publications and citations. Social outcomes will be measured by long-term health and environmental impact of funding.

For more information about STAR METRICS, please visit:

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering.

The Office of Science and Technology Policy was created by Congress in 1976 to serve as a source of scientific and technological analysis and judgment for the President with respect to major policies, plans, and programs of the federal government.

About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation's medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit

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