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Categories: Business creation and development; R&D, innovation, commercialization; regional industries and economies

Overview: STAR METRICS (Science and Technology for America’s Reinvestment: Measuring the Effects of Research on Innovation) is a partnership between science agencies and research institutions to document science investments and their outcomes to the public. By harmonizing data reporting based on existing systems of record, STAR METRICS provides detailed, systematic information about science investments and their outcomes.

Applications of the STAR METRICS data platform include the Portfolio Explorer Project, a tool to examine public research award information by topic, region, institution, and researcher.

Units of Analysis: University, researcher, research project, federal science agency

Coverage: Federal agencies participating in STAR METRICS include NIH, NSF, DOE, EPA, USDA and the Office of Science
and Technology Policy, along with more than 80 U.S. colleges and universities.

Tools: STAR METRICS currently operates four tools to view scientific portfolios.

  • The Portfolio Viewer provides information on proposals, awards, researchers, and institutions by program level and scientific topic.
  • The Expertise Locator provides information on proposals and co-PIs related to different topic areas to find researchers working on that topic.
  • The Patent Viewer provides data on patents from NSF grantees.
  • The Map Viewer offers a geographic tool to view NSF investment by institution and topic.

Additional applications of the STAR METRICS platform are under development.

Form: Database, web tool

Key Data Elements: Data on awards (grant topics, funding), employees (occupational code, employment status, earnings from awards), indirect costs, exhibitors (payments from awards), subaward (payments grouped by sub-award recipient)

Multiple levels of analysis are feasible, such as individual and establishment level data on award recipients, award level data for Federal science agencies, and networks of R&D activity in the public and private sector.

Geographic Detail: For Portfolio Explorer, nation, state, congressional district, institution

Data Collection Method: STAR METRICS combines Federal research award data with de-identified information about
individuals, exhibitors, and sub-awards associated with awards. Standardized reporting of core data elements from multiple institutions.

Timeframe: Data back to 2008 or earlier for some institutions; other institutions from earliest date of STAR METRICS

Frequency: Internal data updated quarterly; public data updated frequently beginning in 2010.

Access: Limited for database, public for Portfolio Explorer

Potential Uses for Regional Analysis: STAR METRICS enables estimation of the multiplier effects of R&D spending: direct impacts of R&D employment and spending on local exhibitors, 115 indirect effects through education, employment, research, and network effects.

For Additional Information:

  • Website: STAR METRICS
  • Contact:
    • John King (USDA) (
    • Kei Koizumi (OSTP) (
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