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    January 22, 2024 3:27:30 PM EST . 4 min read

IRIS, Steppingblocks Partner to Measure Outcomes of $45B in Award Spending

RIS, Steppingblocks Partner to Measure Outcomes of $45B in Award Spending

IRIS Case Study Research Award Spending

The impact of academic research on our society is profound, but often overlooked, resulting in funding deficits for critical research.

The Institute for Research on Innovation and Science (IRIS) helps bridge the gap by analyzing the social and economic effects of research investments and corresponding benefits. The project outlined by the partnership between IRIS and Steppingblocks utilizes cutting-edge data analytics to provide outcomes data on employees who leave universities after work on sponsored research. The addition of Graduate Insights will bolster IRIS’ reporting capabilities and further promote scientific research nationwide.


According to new data produced through the collaboration, about half of university employees who are funded by sponsored research grants find jobs in the same state as their university when they leave campus. The new data also includes detailed information on the earnings and industries of university research-trained employees.

Here’s a breakdown of outcomes for university research-trained employees:

Institute for Research on Innovation & Science Employee Outcomes Case Study Infographic

These findings are a result of combined data from Steppingblocks and IRIS members, represented by the largest research universities in the country. Click here for a map of current members. New data that result from the project will be publicly available to any researcher in the U.S. as a supplement to the existing IRIS dataset.

“This unique dataset can advance our understanding of the career paths and economic contributions of research-funded employees, and the extended public good provided by government-sponsored research projects."

Jason Owen-Smith, IRIS Executive Director, and Professor of Sociology and Executive Director of Data Analytics at the University of Michigan.

“Both organizations share a common mission related to data-driven decision making, based upon measurable outcome data. We are excited to partner with an academic body of IRIS’ caliber and help forward their mission, given its immense impact on society,” Rob Gannaway, Steppingblocks Co-Founder.

Want to learn more about IRIS?

IRIS is a member consortium of universities anchored by an IRB-approved data repository hosted at the University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research. They collect administrative data from members to produce a de-identified dataset for research and campus-specific reporting that will improve the ability to understand, explain and improve the public value of research.

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