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They Came Up With the Acronym First, Right?

The National Institutes of Health announced a new initiative in collaboration with the National Science Foundation and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy that "promises to monitor the impact of federal science investments on employment, knowledge generation, and health outcomes." The Science and Technology for America's Reinvestment: Measuring the Effect of Research on Innovation, Competitiveness, and Science — or STAR METRICS — initiative is being funded $1 million in its first year to collect voluntary data from participating institutions. "Information will be gathered from the universities in a highly automated way, with minimal or no burden for the scientists and the university administration," according to the NIH announcement. The first phase of the program will use institutional records to measure the "employment impact of federal science spending," while the second will calculate the impact in the areas of economic growth, workforce outcomes, scientific knowledge — through publications and citations — and social outcomes, according to NIH.