And the Tippi goes to

This morning’s award for the bleeding obvious in headlines goes to Deakin University for; “Bird experts flock to Geelong.” Apparently there is an ornithological conference on there – unless it’s a meeting of Hitchcock admirers.

UniSydney commits pre-application research funding

The University of Sydney is funding researchers to build ideas and establish partnerships before applying for Australian Research Council applied grants or to become cooperative research centres. Some 21 projects will share $1.28m in cash and kind from the university, plus another $1m in money and assistance from industry partners. Most of the projects will meet Simon Birmingham’s “help families and business” test (hCMM November 1), including  Rhonda Orr’s concussion rehab for junior rugby league players, Nicholas Williamson’s prediction model for algal blooms in lowland rivers and Jun Huang’s project to produce food additive from waste bone.

What worked with The Tigers …

Cain Liddle is the new CEO at Carlton Football Club. He moves from chief customer officer at Richmond FC, where he “forged a relationship” with Swinburne University, which led to Swinburne taking up naming rights for Punt Road Oval.  John Dewar, vice chancellor of Richmond gold-partner, La Trobe U, might get a call.

Cuts would put education quality at risk

The results are in from the National Tertiary Education Union’s survey on the state of the nation’s universities, with a clear message that things are crook on campus. Some 13 500 university workers, split close to evenly between academic and professional staff participated and they agreed that managements in general are hopeless, with just 27 per cent expressing confidence in the people who run their various universities. Just 8 per cent thought the system could take a funding cut “without damaging the quality of education.” And 84 per cent agreed “universities are under too much pressure to make money, reducing the quality of education.”


MOOC of the morning

Griffith U is offering a MOOC which is information and advocacy, Maternity Care: building relationships really does save lives, (via FutureLearn). Jenny Gamble, Mary Sidebotham and Lianne Schwartz will “summarise the key problems in the current provision of maternity care” and give students the resources to “justify why a relationship framework for maternity services can produce better outcomes for mother, baby, maternity care providers and society.” The course starts on November 20.


Pyne signs with the University of Adelaide, but surely Flinders and UniSA will follow

Chris Pyne’s never-ending tour of spending announcements played the University of Adelaide yesterday, where the defence industry minister launched DRIN. This is the university’s defence research and innovation network which will also involve  the government’s Defence Science and Technology Group. But pray do not confuse it with DRIH, UofAs, defence research and innovation hub, “a first port of call for defence-related research and innovation at the university,” which also involves DSTG people. Good-o, but even people who can distinguish their DRIN from their DRIH are puzzled. Where are the similar announcements for the University of South Australia and Flinders U?

Planning to replace the state with the blockchain

The blockchain subversives at RMIT are at it again. Chris Berg, Sinclair Davidson  and Jason Potts recently published a paper arguing that the blockchain can end the state’s record-keeping function of verifying and validating transactions in property rights (CMM October 30). Now they are hosting an invitation-only workshop on a blockchain baseddecentralised identity architecture.”

“Most commercial transactions require the use of identity technologies that have been largely monopolised by the state – driver licences, passports, Medicare numbers etc. This is often costly and inefficient, resulting in economic distortions and services not always reaching those who need them” But a blockchain “can facilitate the creation of decentralised identity protocols (and) allow the individual greater control over their identity, and a more nuanced ability to divulge sensitive information about them.”

The workshop is intended to establish “an agreement on decentralised identity architecture” for use in policy development.


Bowman’s new contact at CQU

Scott Bowman is staying on as VC at CQU, with a contract “extension” announced on Tuesday. This seemed strange, “extension” does not sound like a new mandate and Professor Bowman is generally considered to be doing a good job. Yesterday all the university would say was “the new contract supersedes a previous contract and takes the VC’s overall term through to the end of 2022. An extension of a continuing arrangement or new terms of employment for five years?

Perkovic’s big appointment, by George!

George Institute executive director Vlado Perkovic will join the board of the New England Journal of Medicine. He is the first Australian invited on to the editorial board and the only researcher  representing the Asia-Pacific.

Sydney NTEU reports for the record

University of Sydney staff union leader Kurt Iveson sets out the campus NTEU’s enterprise bargaining agreement achievement in a new report. Associate Professor Iveson explains how a long campaign ended following break-through concessions by management which members accepted.  A “packed members’ meeting of over 450 people voted to endorse an in-principle Agreement with management, based on these improvements to the offer,” he writes in the union’s national journal of record. And so they did, just not all of them.

Aspro Iveson’s report does not mention members voted 300 to 140 to accept the offer after the union’s campus leadership split. Aspro Iveson and members of the negotiating team backed the deal while other committee members wanted to hold out for an improved pay offer and improved conditions for casual staff. (CMM September 22).