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“R&D Dashboard” Makes Federal R&D Data Transparent and Accessible

OSTP is happy to announce the launch of the beta prototype of a new online tool that allows the public to track U.S. progress in innovation.

OSTP is happy to announce the launch of the beta version of a new online tool that allows the public to track U.S. progress in innovation. The R&D Dashboard is a new website that helps users document and demonstrate the impacts of Federal investments in research and development (R&D).

The R&D Dashboard beta website provides a look at U.S. Federal Investments in R&D from two agencies over a decade—the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Science Foundation(NSF)—from 2000 to 2009. These two science agencies play a significant role in funding basic research in the United States; more than 80 percent of the Federal government’s support of university-based research, for example, comes from these two agencies. The R&D Dashboard will expand in a future iteration to include more varieties of Federal R&D investments and information on their outputs.

How does the Dashboard work? In short, it presents data on Federal R&D awards to research institutions and links those inputs to outputs—specifically publications, patent applications, and patents produced by researchers funded by those investments. Adding to its usefulness, the site can sort investments at the state, congressional district, and research-institution levels. And because the site can deduce from scientific abstracts and other available documents what scientific topics are covered by particular outputs such as publications or patents, users can focus on particular topic areas of interest to them within institutional, congressional district, or state levels.

This means that you can now start to see some of the ways Federal R&D investments in NIH and NSF have contributed to your community, your university, or your state; you can see which research institutions in your state have been successful in winning NSF or NIH awards; you can see, for the first time, the topics or scientific fields Federal agencies are supporting with their awards, with research abstracts just a click away; you can see the patents or patent applications resulting from Federal R&D awards by company, by topic area, and by location, with patent details just a click away; and you can see the research papers resulting from Federal R&D awards, again by topic area and location.

In fact, with this new R&D Dashboard, we can see the answers to all sorts of questions: Which institutions in my state are performing Federally funded research? In what fields of science does my community excel? Are companies or universities in my community taking advantage of federally funded research to apply for patents to build new companies? Where are the ‘hot spots’ for robotics, for example, or optical lasers, or advanced textiles resulting from federally funded research? How are Federal research grants contributing to the scientific literature in my field of science? The R&D Dashboard, by linking Federal R&D investments to outputs and linking both to specific places in the United States, enables you to see the answers to questions that are relevant to you.

This R&D Dashboard is brought to you under the auspices of the Office of Science and Technology Policy and the Office of Management and Budget in the White House, through a hard-working team led by NSF staff in cooperation with the interagency Networking and Information Technology Research and Development (NITRD) National Coordination Office, and researchers funded by NSF's Science of Science & Innovation Policy program.The Dashboard utilizes publicly available data from Federal agencies, initially including the NSF), the NIH, and the Department of Commerce’s Patent and Trademark Office. It fulfills a key promise in the President’s 2011 Budget—and in OSTP’s Open Government Plan—to  improve the transparency and usability of Federal R&D data.

So please check out the R&D Dashboard, play with its cool visualizations, map the impacts of Federal R&D investments in your community or in your area of interest, and provide us comments on how we can improve the Dashboard. This is a beta site, so we welcome feedback to improve how the R&D Dashboard works and to maximize the value it can provide to the public.

Kei Koizumi is Assistant Director for Federal Research and Development at the Office of Science and Technology Policy