Getting NSW HE on the same page

The NSW Government’s Office of Higher Education is handling the state submission to the O’Kane universities accord and is keen to ensure it, “is representative of government, the higher education sector, and the wider community, including industry and young people.”

“To bolster the impact of our submission, we seek to reflect any alignment in policy positions from the insight of our stakeholders,” the office emails.

Of course, nothing to stop cunning VCs telling the government one thing and submitting another themselves.

There’s more in the Mail

in Expert Opinion

Entrepreneur and long-time research governance expert Tony Peacock on the importance of discovery science, how applied research can work in universities and industry and the need for Australia to increase research and development spending, HERE.

 and in Features 

Lisa Grech (Monash U) argues the NHMRC gender-equity policy does not do enough. “It is only through targeted, specific, measurable and accountable processes that support researchers in minority groups that true equity and diversity in research will be achieved,” she writes,  HERE.

plus Angel Calderon (RMIT) on the new student data from 2021 and why student progress rates are set to slid.

with Teaching students transferable skills works best when they know how to apply them in jobs. Gayle Brent (Griffith U) suggests, “the experiences we provide for our students while they are students must prepare them to effect this transfer for themselves.” Commissioning Editor Sally Kift’s new selection for her celebrated series, Needed now in learning and teaching.

and, Mary O’Kane calls on universities to prepare for the long term. Sean Brawley and Richard Cook sets out Uni Wollongong’s structure designed to do just that HERE

Uni Wollongong expands early learning ed

There’s a two year bachelor degree for people who want to upskill

It’s designed to address the “crisis in staffing in the sector” and is the outcome of a tender from the NSW Government. The degree is developed with Early Learning and Care Council Australia.

It is open to people with a diploma in early childhood education and two year’s work experience. The degree is on-line, with work-based placements – good for people with kids to care for.

As such it looks similar to the programme Victoria U developed for the Vic state government, except the Vic Government kicks in $25 000 for students – useful for students in a notoriously low-paid industry to pay their HECS (CMM May 18 2022)


A GIFT in India for Aus unis

The imminent action looks like being in Ahmedabad, in Gujurat state

Word is that a Deakin U campus there will be announced there next week (CMM yesterday). And last July Uni Wollongong signed a “letter of intent to establish location for teaching, research and industry engagement” near Ahmedabad.

There’s a reason for that – the Gujarat International Finance Tec-City, a financial district in development, where a foreign-uni friendly federal government development agency’s rules apply. Presumably this mattered more before the Free Trade Agreement but Australian universities have been working on growing iunto  India, and deal done is a great result.

On Tuesday Deakin U VC Iain Martin told staff he was just back from India and hopes “to make some further announcements very shortly.”

But Uni Wollongong is happy to declare itself now,  we are very much looking forward to launching our presence and activities later this year, with more details to come,” a universoty representative stated yesterday.

“There must be a NSW election” of the day

The state government is announcing to the end

Science and IT  minister Alistair Henskens, points to $6m for university-led projects “to accelerate the scale-up and investment of synthetic biology and biomanufacturing products.”

Macquarie U has an unspecified amount for the Australian Genome Foundry, which will, “support product validation and earlier market entry.”

And Uni Sydney, UNSW and Children’s MRI will use whatever their undisclosed share is to develop human cell models (organoids), “to shorten the time between drug discovery and its use as a treatment,” (scroll down for the consortium’s academic lead).

The announcement is the outgoing government’s third in three weeks or so for universities and research (CMM February 9 and 23). Caretaker starts tomorrow.

More med ed for FNQ

James Cook U begins a full medical degree at its Cairns campus

Prior to this year, students did their first three years at Townsville and could then do the rest at Mackay or Cairns.

One up on rival CQU – which has grown quickly in Cairns and has plans to grow faster – but they don’t include a full medicine degree.

Union plan in place at Federation U

The NTEU is planning a strike – but giving management numerous opportunities to talk it out of industrial action

The campus branch of the National Tertiary Education Union proposes an April meeting where members can “commit to strike action” in May, “if we decide that sufficient progress has not been made at the bargaining table.”

The union’s “core claims” include, “endemic casualisation,” academic workloads, freedom and research allocations. These are all out of the NTEU’s national playbook, as is, “the right for professional staff to work from home” and “pay,” – the union’s national leadership wants a 15 per cent over three years.

Navitas expands in Sydney and Auckland

The international pathway provider will acquire two Study Group venues

Navitas CEO Scott Holmes yesterday announce the deal yesterday, involving Taylors College, Sydney and Taylors College Auckland. University partners are Uni Sydney, Uni Auckland and Uni Waikato College. Existing staff will continue to teach and programmes will remain recognised by universities.

For education agents’ clients “looking for pathways to prestigious, highly ranked universities will now have more options,” he says. For agents themselves, it means “more programmes at more locations.”

There was no mention of terms.

Digital health data stays delayed

In 2018 there were calls for a national approach to data governance for private health and aged care – there still are

A new report for the Digital Health CRC states, “we are still weighed down by defensive policies, legislation and mindsets related to information governance.”

“Australia requires a harmonised set of national health, medical technology, and pharmaceutical research governance arrangements,” the CRC’s Isobel Frean and colleagues, suggest.

They call for

* a national framework for research access to deidentified government datasets, “without complex approval processes”

* research for the three year review of the Data Availability and Transparency Act

* researcher access to HMR and clinical data, without compromising privacy

* a national dataset, for researchers and the med tech/pharma sector

“Australia can’t afford to wait another five years to provide certainty for clinical researchers and innovators, those looking to run clinical trials or those responding to the next epidemic, nor can we continue to put a national data and information governance framework onto the back burner for future governments to address,” they warn.


Dolt of the day


Curtin U insists that it be known its defeat in the enterprise bargaining vote was 72 per cent against and 28 per cent in favour (CMM had it 78 per cent nay, 22 per cent yea.)


Charles Sturt U chancellor Michele Allan is the new chair of the SmartSat Cooperative Research Centre.

Michael Kassiou (Uni Sydney) is announced academic lead for the NSW Organoid Innovation Centre.

Tony Weiss (Uni Sydney) is chair of the expert panel of the NSW Biosciences Fund