This article presents an approach we have developed for the assessment of public research institutions in the natural sciences and engineering. The method consists in the exploitation of available S&T databases and indicators, including bibliometrics (databases of scientific as well as technical literature), patents, and internal data. Results are therefore derived through multiple databases. The objective is to profile a specific national R&D community in order to assess the positioning of a public institution or program within the community to which it belongs. It involves obtaining the profile of the evolution of an R&D area, the R&D performers, the financing and support institutions, the users of R&D results, and the interactions between all these actors. A case-study of Canadian research in polymers is presented.