International competition forces fundamental research organizations to assess their relative performance. We present a benchmark tool for scientific research organizations where, contrary to existing models, the group leader is placed in a central position within the organization. We used it in a pilot benchmark study involving six research institutions. Our study shows that data collection and data comparison based on this new tool can be achieved. It proved possible to compare relative performance and organizational characteristics and to generate suggestions for improvement for most participants. However, strict definitions of the parameters used for the benchmark and a thorough insight into the organization of each of the benchmark partners is required to produce comparable data and draw firm conclusions.