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National Science Foundation National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics
Advancing Measures of Innovation: Knowledge Flows, Business Metrics, and Measurement Strategies

Introduction

 

Background and Workshop Objectives

The National Science Foundation's Division of Science Resources Statistics (NSF/SRS) held the workshop Advancing Measures of Innovation on June 6–7, 2006. The workshop was driven by three main considerations. First, the call by John H. Marburger III, the President's science and technology adviser, for better data, models, and tools for understanding the U.S. scientific and engineering enterprise in its global context by advancing the nascent field of science of science policy. Second, the National Academies' Committee on National Statistics (CNSTAT) study on Measuring Research and Development Expenditures in the U.S. Economy,[1] which recommended that SRS "explore the impact of innovation on the U.S. economy" and initiate a "program of measurement and research related to innovation." Third, activities leading to Blue Sky II, an international conference organized by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development's (OECD) Group of National Experts on Science and Technology Indicators (NESTI), which was held in late September 2006 in Ottawa, Canada, to discuss the development of new and better indicators of science, technology, and innovation.

Accordingly, the workshop set forth a number of objectives and key questions. The short-term objectives were to examine new or little known innovation-related data and research and to explore data development priorities and strategies: policy context, resources, and constraints (business, research, and statistical communities). The long-term objectives were to promote interdisciplinary work on data development from multiple sources, contribute to empirical research on innovation activities and outcomes, and contribute to science of science policy efforts across federal agencies and beyond.

Two key questions were posed to the participants with respect to data development priorities and strategies:

  • Based on workshop discussions, which metrics stand out as most urgent and/or are most immediately feasible?
  • Which statistical and research activities are likely to advance these priority metrics?

Organization of the Report

This report summarizes the main themes discussed at the workshop. Considerable discussion was devoted to data needs and data development strategies. Because data needs often derive from the research or policy questions one is trying to answer, the discussion also covered these topics. The first section of the report serves to set the stage for the subject of innovation metrics, and the second covers the main contributions of the workshop.



Footnotes

[1] L.D. Brown, T.J. Plewes, and M.A. Gerstein, Eds. 2005. Measuring Research and Development Expenditures in the U.S. Economy. National Academies Press: Washington, DC.

 
Advancing Measures of Innovation: Knowledge Flows, Business Metrics, and Measurement Strategies
Workshop Report | NSF 07-306 | January 2007