Science-Metrix commences two-year study on data mining for the European Commission

Published on December 15 2014

As the world’s capacity to collect and store data from public and private sources rapidly expands, data mining provides a number of the tools needed to make sense of this wealth of information. Data mining has been applied to great effect in areas such as healthcare, insurance, finance, business management, and medical and pharmaceutical research, thanks to its power to minimize the risks of human error while discerning informative new patterns and trends within large, complex datasets—otherwise known as big data.

An influential study by the McKinsey Global Institute, published in 2011, sought to determine the impacts of applying data mining to government policies. The report called upon governments to make use of existing data mining tools and underlined, in monetary terms, the benefits that could be provided by data mining. The study determined that if data mining was used to fuel innovation in healthcare in the United States, $300 billion in value could be generated annually, two thirds of that from reduced expenditure. The study also estimated that if the governments of leading European countries used data mining to make their operations more efficient, the resulting savings would be in the order of up to €250 billion annually in administration operational costs.

At the 2013 European Council Summit meeting, the Council concluded it was critical that digital innovation, including big data techniques, be widely supported. The Council recommended that this support include the implementation of necessary infrastructure, as well as the big data and cloud computing technologies needed for the digital age. It was predicted that the use of data mining would result in a number of advantages for the European economy, particularly with regard to improving public–private partnerships and job creation in the data industry.

In this context, Science-Metrix is proud to have been selected by the European Commission Directorate-General for Research and Innovation to undertake a Study on data mining of knowledge and technology flows in priority domains within the private sector and between the public and private sector (“Data Mining”). Commencing in January 2015, the two-year study aims to provide an update on the current application of data mining and big data throughout the world, including Member States of the EU as well as other important players in R&I such as the United States and Japan.

The study will provide a detailed description of data mining techniques and how they have been used thus far in support of R&I in Europe, not only at the country and regional levels, but also in the international context. The study will also develop and test a methodological framework for using data mining and big data in support of the formulation, implementation and evaluation of R&I policies in the EU context. It will propose recommendations for which approaches could be used in line with the priority axes for R&I reform, as identified by the European Commission in order to foster economic growth.

Science-Metrix is particularly well positioned to perform this study given our deep roots in the field of R&I and our quantitative take on the work to be performed. Since 2002, our firm has performed data mining on vast data sets, often to support policymakers and decision-making. The greatest challenge in this project, however, is not related to data mining in itself; it is rather to develop and test a framework that will guide users in their quest to extract essential knowledge from large masses of data in order to improve decision-making. Again, Science-Metrix is well positioned to offer guidance based on our deep experience with R&I indicators, related data sources and data mining tools, and our intimate understanding of the innovation system and the logic of policy intervention. Having conducted some 400 evaluative projects in the S&T field, we have gained extensive knowledge of the innovation system, including the nuances of the policy and market contexts. Our study will ensure a final framework that is relevant and valuable to users.

We look forward to presenting and sharing our results with the European Commission!