The PM really cares about science, really

The ARC certainly hopes so

Over dose

A summer school offered at the University of Tasmania will allow students “who have undertaken science-related study at a tertiary level” to complete a pharmacy degree in three years instead of four. Sounds like a good deal to me, getting through a whole year of work in five intensive weeks, means graduates will get a year’s lead on other new pharmacists in an over-supplied jobs market. According to the Pharmacy Guild of Australia’s submission to the Australian Workplace and Productivity Agency Skilled Occupations inquiry for 2013 there is now a 2200 or 8.3 per cent over-supply of registered pharmacists, which is expected to double by the end of the decade. With 19 pharmacy schools up from six ten years ago, pharmacy is also a young profession, with half its members being 35 or under.

Data pit

“If data is the new oil you have to be careful you’re not being sold the ‘snake’ variety,” Deakin engineer Stuart Palmer via Twitter yesterday.

Much more than a brick in the wall

The state finalists for the education category of the national export awards is nearly complete with the announcement of the University of Wollongong as NSW’s entry. The other nominees, so far, include Monash (Vic), U Canberra (ACT) and  U of Q (Qld). The golden west’s entry is private provider Silver Trowel Trade Training, which teaches construction.  I wonder how far out of joint the four WA university noses are.   

No, we’re really relevant

Australian Research Council chief Aidan Byrne is a man of not many but very measured words, so good manners aside, there was a reason for a media release (which he is also sparing with) after lunch yesterday congratulating Wednesday’s winners of the PM’s science awards. My guess is he wanted to mention, twice, that three of the five scientists had received ARC money during their careers, just in case the government thinks of cutting more money from his agency and giving it to the favoured medicos.

I am also puzzled by the timing of the NSW science awards which this year follow the nationals. Though unrelated the latter surely is more significant than the former but evidently not. We will not know who the NSW scientist of the year is until tonight.

Same strategies

Are National Tertiary Education Union and Australian Higher Education Industrial Association officials consulting in the shaky isles or have they just loaned Kiwi colleagues their play books. It certainly seems so from the New Zealand academic union’s description of pay negotiations at the University of Auckland. The union is demanding management put an offer on the table and not just unilaterally pay a rise. Gosh, which Australian university does that sound like? Strike that, which university doesn’t it.

Call Brad Pitt?

The CSIRO does not explain “How to stop an epidemic” in a news brief  yesterday Nor does it announce any new research – it seems the media team just thought we would like to know the agency is on the case of animal-human disease transition.

 No, really

The Prime Minister does his best to explain the lack of a science minister is not a problem, Wednesday night. “I know there are some who might have been momentarily dismayed by that, but let me tell you, neither does the United States have a Secretary for Science, and no nation on earth has been as successful at innovating as the United States and I’d say to all of you, please, judge us by our performance, not by our titles; judge us by our performance, not by our titles.” Perhaps saying it twice makes it more convincing.

Hunt for a headline

According to the UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, “chickens to benefit from biofuel bonanza.” Apparently chooks love proteins that are a by-product of fermenting for biofuel. You work with you have got.

Know something the world needs to know? Anonymity guaranteed but lots of questions asked, stephen4@hotkey.net.au