UK Joins IRIS Data Consortium to Demonstrate Value of Research

LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 17, 2021) — The University of Kentucky will join the Institute for Research on Innovation and Science (IRIS), a consortium of America’s leading higher educational institutions focused on providing data, to demonstrate the public value of sponsored scientific research.

UK, which ranks 42nd among public institutions in the country with research expenditures at $410.6 million in fiscal year 2019, now will have new tools to inform research policy decisions and to show the value of its research enterprise in workforce training, economic development and the career paths of researchers.

“The University of Kentucky is excited about the opportunities ahead to explore the impact our innovation, research and discoveries have on the Commonwealth and beyond,” said Baron Wolf, assistant vice president for research and director of research analytics. “As members of the IRIS community, we hope to explore how the work we do in our laboratories, creative spaces and throughout the community have an impact on economic development and growth. As a land-grant institution, our research focus is to explore innovative solutions to solving the problems of Kentucky and beyond — being a member of IRIS will help us achieve these goals as we continue to be the University for Kentucky.” 

UK’s membership also gives all researchers on campus no-cost access to the detailed dataset IRIS has developed on the impact of funded research — including transaction-level information on more than 450,000 sponsored projects representing approximately $99 billion of direct cost expenditures and employing more than 720,000 people on nearly 140 campuses across the country.

IRIS will also supply UK with detailed reports on research spending, research vendors and the employment and earnings of research-trained employees.

“We’re thrilled to welcome the University of Kentucky into the IRIS family,” said IRIS Executive Director Jason Owen-Smith, professor of sociology and executive director of research analytics at the University of Michigan. “Public, land-grant universities — especially growing ones like UK — exemplify the public value of research investments, and IRIS reporting will enable new ways to examine the impact of UK’s research. And data on the university’s research operations will be an extremely valuable addition to the IRIS-UMETRICS dataset.”

IRIS, a consortium of research universities, was founded in 2015 and is housed at the University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research, the world’s largest academic social science survey and research organization. IRIS collects transaction-level data from its members on nearly 500,000 sponsored research projects. These data are linked to information on scientific outcomes at multiple levels of analysis. Linkages to federal employment and earnings data are available through the Federal Statistical Research Data Center (FSRDC) system administered by the U.S. Census Bureau. Researchers interested in accessing the data can find more information at Data are deidentified before being made available for researcher access via the IRIS virtual data enclave.

The University of Kentucky is increasingly the first choice for students, faculty and staff to pursue their passions and their professional goals. In the last two years, Forbes has named UK among the best employers for diversity, and INSIGHT into Diversity recognized us as a Diversity Champion four years running. UK is ranked among the top 30 campuses in the nation for LGBTQ* inclusion and safety. UK has been judged a “Great College to Work for" three years in a row, and UK is among only 22 universities in the country on Forbes' list of "America's Best Employers."  We are ranked among the top 10 percent of public institutions for research expenditures — a tangible symbol of our breadth and depth as a university focused on discovery that changes lives and communities. And our patients know and appreciate the fact that UK HealthCare has been named the state’s top hospital for five straight years. Accolades and honors are great. But they are more important for what they represent: the idea that creating a community of belonging and commitment to excellence is how we honor our mission to be not simply the University of Kentucky, but the University for Kentucky.