Academy of Science always on-message

The Australian Academy of Science has a new open-access video on the new IPCC report on the effects of global warming, its intended for general audiences and designed for media outlets to load and publish. Another example of the academy’s commitment to communicating science, following cracking 1m Facebook likes last week (CMM October 5).

Georgina Sweet Award winners announced

The three 2018 winners of the Georgina Sweet Award for women in quantitative biomedical science are announced. Cornelia Landersdorfer (Monash U) works on combining doses of antibiotics to deal with multidrug-resistant bacteria. Ana Traven also at Monash U studies human fungal pathogens. Aleksandra Filipovska from UWA researchs in human mitochondrial genetics.

The award was created by Leann Tilley from the University of Melbourne, as part of her Australian Research Council Laureate Fellowship, to advance women in the discipline-group.

The crowd did not fund UniMelbourne

The University of Melbourne’s research crowd-funding pilots, have crashed with only one of four reaching its $10 000 target  – 50 new entries for The Australian Women’s Register, documenting “women who have received honours relating to their work in the Victorian community or local government sector, whose contributions are at risk of being forgotten.”

The failure of the other three seems strange, a cubesat, an endangered bandicoot and a laser – data analytics based mobility aid are all in the types of research that appeal to civic-minded people. They certainly would not have been out of place in the successful campaigns Deakin U used to run – with one possibly big difference. Deakin partnered with crowdfunding agency Pozible, while UniMelbourne did it alone.

The details on Darlington

The feature-story of the day is Anastasia Raidevska’s Honi Soit feature on the Sydney suburb of Darlington and how its poverty made it fair game over 60 years for the endless expansion of neighbouring University of Sydney.

Jeannie Rea slams university councils

Outgoing president of the National Tertiary Education Union, Jeannie Rea slammed university councils in a recent address. “Our university councils/senates are dominated by business and industry advocates with little appreciation that a university is not just another internationally focussed corporation. With continual efforts to remove staff and students from councils, closed meetings and minutes redacted to nothingness, these councils act largely in secret relying upon the reports of the CEO and CFO,” Ms Rea said, in what was her farewell address to a union conference on the future of the higher education system.

“They do not lobby for increased government funding despite Australia’s public investment in higher education being the second lowest in the OECD. Instead they back further fee deregulation. And they accumulate surpluses to borrow to build more, while students wander the corridors (and the internet) trying to find a staff member to answer their questions,” she said.

 To encourage innovators, think locally and act the same

The Department of Industry, Innovation and Science has announced four principles for creating and fostering innovation precincts; local leadership, removing barriers to collaboration, creating “capability and connections” in precincts and improving “student employability and entrepreneurialism.”

Getting it right is all about thinking and acting local, agrees CRC Association head Tony Peacock, “the richness of communication falls off at 60 yards – yelling distance, or getting-together-for-coffee-distance. Beyond that, you need to take action to get people talking before collaborating. “

Perhaps the department’s advice is meant for innovators in shouting distance of the minister’s office – in Manuka or Deakin.

Just the ticket: cheap rides in the education state

Monash U Postgraduate Association launches a campaign today to extend the state public transport travel concession to full-time postgraduates existing just above the poverty-line.  “The Labor government remains recalcitrant on the issue while claiming that Victoria is ‘the education state’,” MUPA states.

What the government has in mind (it isn’t good for unis)

The Innovative Research Universities lobby warns members the combined impact of the present freeze on federal funding for undergraduate places and some universities responding by looking to fee-paying internationals for growth, “will be a less educated and prepared workforce required for the 2020s, with an overall lower level of government investment in their education.”

The prediction is in a briefing paper for the group’s annual leader forum, at Western Sydney U this week.

The IRU also advises members to brace for the government’s use of data flowing from the analysis underway on the cost of teaching. “The minister will at some point release the 2018 study, supported by a media campaign – for which universities will have little to no notice and be reactive.”  IRU warns universities to brace for this early in the new year.

In contrast, the IRU points to 13 Labor post school education commitments, notably ending the Commonwealth Grant Scheme freeze and reinstating the demand driven system. “Labor estimates this will allow access to an additional 200,000 students who would have otherwise missed out.”