UNSW and Newcastle win on equity research

plus, oh no its ARC application time!

and protecting Australian history

Blessed balls

The University of Notre Dame Australia and Australian Catholic University announce they will play for “the holy grail” in basketball, dodgeball and futsal on Friday. If anybody knows the theological standing of ball games it’s these two.

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Still plenty of HEPPP in ideas for equity

The feds have announced the very shallow National Priorities Pool for the 2016 Higher Education Participation and Partnerships Programme. Some 23 projects share $4.2m. The funding is split between15 universities, with the University of Newcastle winning five and UNSW four projects. The programme’s future is uncertain, what with reduced funding in the last budget and a very discrete review by consultants ACIL Allen (CMM August 31) underway. But perhaps the feds could have saved on consulting cash and waited for the UNSW project funded in this round, which will “will investigate whether Australian university widening participation initiatives are addressing the attainment gap that exists for low SES students in regional and remote schools.”

And while others are studying ways to encourage disadvantaged students to study Swinburne U is getting on with it; creating a website for people who think on-line is their only study option but are nervous about what is involved. The Evolve site is straightforward but the questions it answers look research driven. As a low cost way to get people to engage with the idea of on-line education it’s a solid start for Swinburne.

Furry friends

Murdoch University is auditioning students to appear in its marketing. “If you’re one of the friendly (or furry) faces that makes Murdoch so great, we’re looking for volunteers just like you!” the university announces. But surely distinguishing bearded students (like the matey looking bearded bloke in the promo)  from friendly ones breaches the International Covenant on the Rights of the Hirsute (which CMM just made up).

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Focus people, its grant time

It’s career crunch time, with applications open for Australian Research Council grants and funding for transformation research hubs and research centres. Updated information on who can apply for money scheduled to start in 2017 and 2018 is here. Concentrate when you read it, the ARC is a paladin of process and always goes for absolute accuracy if not clarity. As ever, the council is keen to show its process is beyond approach. Last year Michael Crichton from the Academy of Science sat in on a grant committee and and found the process “open, transparent and fair.” The ARC extended the process this year, with research office staffers Rob Roche (UWA) and Hinke van Gelder (Murdoch) observing a grants meeting. They will brief Australian Research Management Society members on the experience at Edith Cowan, Mt Lawley Thursday week, details here.

Long way array

The king and queen of the Netherlands will visit the Hub for Immersive Visualisation and eResearch at Curtin U at the end of the month, to be briefed on the Square Kilometre Array. CMM hopes somebody has explained to their majesties that they won’t have time to go out to the farthest reaches of the mid-scale section of the project, which is 180km from the core, 20kms wider than their entire country.

In breaking news

University of Queensland researchers have found, “emergency health facilities could be the key to survival for Ebola patients,” with hospitalised patients 74 per cent less likely to die in the short term. Who would have thought.

TEQSA to tell more

TEQSA executives were up early on Tuesday explaining to CMM that yesterday’s report on the agency not revealing all providers’ ratings on the 12 assessed categories was not the whole story. “A provider might have a negative risk assessment but, when that assessment is placed in the wider context of all we know about them, emerge with a more positive regulatory assessment – and the reverse is of course also true. It is for this reason that publishing the risk assessments in isolation could be potentially misleading,” CEO Anthony McClaran replied.

“However,” he added “the more general point about the importance of transparency is one we take seriously. We’ll be going out to a further consultation soon on widening the scope of the information we publish on decisions; giving them more visibility through our website and media releases; and publishing decisions even when they have, or may be, subject to review.

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Expert adjunct

UNSW has made Lucy Turnbull an adjunct professor in the faculty of built environment. Ms Turnbull is a former lord mayor of Sydney and has a well-known wide interest in urban planning and infrastructure. She leads the Greater Sydney Commission.

Protecting Australian history

A learned reader reports the Australian Historical Association’ executive has already abandoned its proposed journal ranking (CMM yesterday). Word is a grassroots revolt complained rankings could cause the small field of Australian history being undervalued – this, critics complained could lead to the equivalent of what is occurring in political science, where Australian political researchers are being replaced by international relations experts, which is the in-demand discipline. “The latter are considered to have a better chance of publishing in high-profile international journals. I believe there is a genuine risk that the body of expertise in Australian politics may become depleted as a monoculture of international relations specialists writing for a limited number of journals is cultivated. This process is being driven by managers’ perceptions of ERA. It is a warning against being too driven by metrics,” an opponent of an AHA league table lamented. “The AHA will look at other ways to define ‘quality’ and assist historians in providing external evidence of the quality of their work,’’ the association executive has told members. Ah, protectionism, it’s the Australian way.

Fast on their feet

There were 507 Monash University runners in the Melbourne marathon and half-marathon on Sunday, with Team Monash claiming the best university performance.

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Dolt of the day

Is  CMM who yesterday CMM reported Toby Walsh, NSW Premier’s science prize-winner for energy innovation, is at the University of Sydney. Wrong, a learned reader points out he is at UNSW.

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