About the Science Impact Project

The Science Impact Project is an adaptation and extension of the Institute of Medicine (IOM) Degrees of Impact framework. The CDC adaptation of the IOM framework organizes 5 linked layers of CDC scientific influence, and the approach for how to trace and link actual instances of CDC scientific influence through the framework is based on the “Historical Tracing Method” (Ruegg & Jordan, 2007). The goal of the project is to measure the impact of CDC science, tracking CDC science and linking its influence to subsequent events and actions that ultimately lead to improving health.

OADS convened a work group consisting of agency scientists and OADS rotation fellows. Work group members included John Araujo, Mary Ari, Marc Bulterys, Christine Casey, Bin Chen, John Iskander, Miriam (Mim) Kelly, John Kools, Lisa Lee, Tanja Popovic, and Robert Swain.

In developing this framework, other frameworks we studied were mostly research frameworks. The reason we chose to go with science rather than research is to be able to capture other CDC efforts, such as developing guidelines and recommendations that contribute to health outcomes. This framework gauges broader societal, environmental, cultural and economic impact using a combination of narrative, quantitative and qualitative indicators. Since it takes time for the impact of a body of work to be apparent, key is finding those short term indicators that were predictive of long term impact. In tracing the link there is more emphasis on contribution rather than attribution (it is difficult to assign credit to any single entity). We also focused on the manner in which the research knowledge is being used. One major challenge is the lack of systems for tracking indicators as might be found for journal metrics.