Working with what they’ve got

Tomorrow is World Bee Day, which provides Uni Tasmania an opportunity to promote the work of its Institute of Agriculture without doing the obvious -which was declined. “Researcher Abuzz …”  is the announcement headline. They aren’t the first (hi UWA), they won’t be the last.

There’s more in the Mail

In Features this morning  

Angel Calderon (RMIT) on the reputational challenge for Australian universities and how demonstrating commitment to the UN Sustainable Development Goals can help.

and Frank Larkins (Uni Melbourne) on 2020 Higher Education R&D. Overall  outlays were up but universities reduced general funding allocated to research as international student income fell.

plus James Guthrie on the need for a national university summit: who should attend, what they should discuss

with Michael Healy, Jason Brown and Candy Ho on  career employability support for students – it’s a professional service that universities should properly resource. This week’s selection by Commissioning Editor Sally Kift for her celebrated series, Needed now in teaching and learning.

What’s on management minds

The ever-understated AHEIA’s annual conference is (virtually) on

While the Australian Higher Education Industrial Association represents most universities it keeps a low public profile, so word is sparse  on what is happening at its annual, and this year on-line, conference.

But speakers and subjects suggest AHEIA priorities. Sarah McKinnon (Fair Work Commission) talks on dealing with applications on sexual harassment. Anne Bardoel (Swinburne U) suggests what working from home means for universities. Libby Lyons (Australian Catholic U) puts gender on the post pandemic agenda.

And CQU VC Nick Klomp (and colleagues) report on applying AHEIA’s programme for, “respectful, positive-behaviour cultures with zero tolerance for bullying.”

Andrew Norton (yes that Andrew Norton) briefs on the imminent state of the sector and Stephen Parker (ditto) suggests what will be on the Universities Australia 2030 conference programme.

And putting the i for industrial into the programme, Stuart Pill (Clayton Utz) will advise on the top five employment law issues.

Announcing for regional unis to campaign end

There are universities the Nats like a lot

Regional Education (and a bunch of other things) minister, Bridget McKenzie announced yesterday $3.9m for Charles Sturt U to lead a partnership including ANU plus Unis Melbourne and Monash, to reduce the impact of zoonotic diseases, (which jump from people to animals and the other way). The money comes from round two the Regional Research Collaboration Programme.

There’s also $19m for the CSU’s agricultural research park and convention centre at the Wagga Wagga campus.

The funding follows other announcements for regional universities in the last seven days, including, party leader Barnaby Joyce’s $15m commitment for chemical and tech ag research at Uni New England and Senator McKenzie, announcing $3m for Federation U health research and $5 for the university to refurb facilities in Ballarat.

University of Southern Queensland also picked up $3.35 yesterday for a sustainable manufacturing hub. It follows the space trailblazer funding announced for USQ, Sunday.

Southern Cross U is part of the USQ manufacturing programme and also will receive $27m for community health resources at the Coffs Harbour campus.

These are all on top of the big spends promised for CQU in Cairns and Mackay.

So that’s commitments for five of the six members of the Regional Universities Network, plus La Trobe U, which has a big presence in northern Victoria (CMM April 27).

Uni Sunshine Coast advises it has nothing promised from the coalition. Perhaps this is because it has had a bomb of growth money in the last five years, notably for its new Moreton Bay campus – planned to have 10 000 students by the end of the decade (CMM December 1 2021).

More tech, whoever wins – plus Labor repeats a promise  

Science and Technology Australia asked the major parties what they will do for the sector

The conservatives responded the Morrison Government has spent $93bn on “science, research and innovation”  and emphasised the research commercialisation plan (think trailblazer funding already announced).

Labor’s response was admirably creative in the range of policies it relates to science and tech and promised to boost research and development “getting it closer to 3 per cent of GDP achieved in other countries.” But it did reiterate an important specific, “our support for legislation to establish the Australian Economic Accelerator, which is core to the government’s commercialisation plan.

Which is all good news for applied research, whoever is PM next week.

But there is thing that Labor would do differently, “ establish an Australian Universities Accord to drive lasting reform at our universities.”

Apparently, the Accord, “will help deliver accessibility, affordability, quality, certainty, sustainability and prosperity to the higher education sector and the country.”

Good o – but who, a learned reader remarks, will do the driving.


Appointments, achievements

Simone Heald (Sunraysia Community Health)  is the new chair of La Trobe U Mildura’s advisory board.

Anita Heiss (Uni Queensland) wins the NSW Premier’s Literary Award for Indigenous Writers. It’s for her novel, Bila Yarrudhanggalangdhuray (Simon and Schuster).

National Computational Infrastructure announces the Australasian Leadership Computing Grants go to, Igor Bray (Curtin U), Evelyne Deplazes (Uni Queensland) Richard Sandberg (Uni Melbourne). They have research time on NCI’s Gadi super computer.

Teresa Tjia becomes CEO of the Victorian Tertiary Admissions Centre. She moves from dean of students at Federation U.