“Too-right!” of the day, month, year

“As long as we have good access to a good set of universities the need to bribe admission staff or pretend to attributes we do not have will be low. A good education system is when we all get a good education,” the Innovative Research Universities Conor King, inspired by the US admissions scandal, via Twitter yesterday.

Core business at Australian Catholic U

Greg Craven has moved to, “maintain institutional unity as well as campus diversity,” at Australian Catholic University, promoting Hayden Ramsay to the new role of DVC Coordination.

“As you are aware, the university’s growth has taken place over a very short time. We have also had to respond to significant challenge (sic) recently over funding. This has prompted a period of reflection and reorganisation,” the vice chancellor tells staff.

The Coordination portfolio will also, “play a crucial role in developing a national approach to Catholicity, by coordinating Catholic intellectual life and cultural dialogue with the secular world.”

Professor Ramsay will have charge of the university’s core curriculum, associate VCs and campus deans plus institutes and centres, “that support the university’s contribution to ethics.”

He was appointed to ACU in August 2017, joining as PVC assisting Professor Craven and professor of Catholic philosophy, joining from the University of Notre Dame Australia. He has also held staff appointments for the Catholic archbishops of Sydney and Melbourne.

Cash for concepts in digital delivery

The feds are running stage-two of an inducement competition, offering young, lean and hungry ideas-merchants (start-ups through to $20m max turnover pa for three years) up to $1m for solutions to big policy problems. And yes, companies controlled by universities and public research agencies are eligible.

To score $1m for a proof of concept all you need do is come up with ways to manage;

* digital ID for victims of domestic violence, * biosecurity against pests arriving on shipping containers, * market intel for tourism services, * AI to identify and evaluate government records for continuing policy importance and * a learning platform for using federal government data.

For $1m, answers to any of them will be a bargain for the feds.

La Trobe U’s IT restructure: it’s still coming

La Trobe U staff started working on a new Information Communications Technology structure in the middle of last year – they still are.

The main issue then was aligning ICT with the university’s operating model and the original idea was to have a new structure “embedded” by November. But last month ICT chief Peter Powell advised, the business case for a revised operating model and organisational structure was still being worked on.

“I’m keen to share all of the thinking and outcomes with you at the earliest opportunity but until we have completed all of the identified activities and obtained appropriate sign-offs, we will continue to follow the established change process procedures,” he told staff.  And until everything was ready to roll, the ICT team should just get with it. “In the meantime, please continue to focus on the activities that are in front of you and continue to deliver the services and the outcomes that the University is expecting and depending on.”

Which is where things are now – with staff worrying about jobs then still worrying now. And this will continue to until April, when university management expects formal staff consultation, in accord with the Enterprise Agreement to occur.

“The university is developing a proposal for change in its ICT division … Staff and the staff union have been kept informed of the status of these considerations and a change team is developing a proposal,” a spokesperson says.

New model for Melbourne Uni Publishing

Warren Bebbington is bedding down the new model at Melbourne University Publishing. Professor Bebbington took over as chair after predecessor Laurie Muller and three other board members resigned, when former chief executive Louise Adler left in January.

Professor Bebbington signals an expansion into scholarly on-line publishing, including “health and the sciences” and has also announced two new directors, former Oxford University Press Australia head Sandra McComb and Gabrielle Coyne, sometime, CEO for Asia-Pacific of the Penguin publishing group.

MUP has also announced eight members of a new editorial advisory board who will “work with staff” to expand “academic titles” published over the next three years; Jon Barnett (geography, urban studies), Jeff Borland (economics), Mark Davis (culture and comms), Anne Dunlop (art history), Mark Edele (history), Cordelia Fine (business, gender and cultural studies), Julie McLeod (education) Julie Willis (architecture).

The eight are all Uni Melbourne staff, with appointments from other universities expected next month.

Unmuddling innovation metrics

Without Malcolm Turnbull the government has gone quite on innovation as an economy-expander, “Australia funds scientific research and development (thereby driving innovation supply), but there is a lack of domestic demand … for innovative products and processes once developed,” participants suggest in consultations for a new review of innovation indicators.

But wonks still keep the policy faith. Chief Scientist Alan Finkel and Chief Economist Mark Cully are chairing the review and have released a consultation paper.

Issues to address that involve universities and research agencies include:

* industry use of university infrastructure does not show-up in collaboration data

* measuring industry-university collaboration by total spends can obscure the number of projects, not showing if there is one big project or multiple smaller ones

* “better quality and more transparent” R&D data would allow universities to better-target research to business trends

* consistent use of terms in the National Survey of Research Commercialisation

This can’t hurt, arguments over growth in productivity-improving applications often depend on whether a lobby wants government support for new industries or protection for existing ones. So Finkel and Cully want measures to replace those, which “seem to get things both wrong and muddled” and a google of experts is convened to direct, advise and technically advise a review.


NHMRC research excellence awards

The National Health and Medical Research Council has announced its 2018 research excellence awards:

* Graham Gee, (Murdoch Children’s Research Institute), Rising Star. * Samuel Chan, (Uni Queensland), Gustav Nossal Award. *  Steven Wise, ( Uni Sydney), Marshall and Warren Award. * Sally Dunwoodie, (Victor Chang), Project Grant. * David Anderson, (Burnet Institute), Development Grant. * Mark Walker, (Uni Queensland), Development Grant. * Patrick McGorry, (Uni Melbourne), Research Fellowship). * Peter Choong, (Uni Melbourne), Practitioner Fellowship. * Louise Causer (UNSW), Frank Fenner Early Career Fellowship. * Jodie Ingles, (Centenary Institute of Cancer Medicine and Cell Biology), Career Development Fellowship. * Joshua Davis, (Menzies School of Health Research), Career Development Fellowship. * Sally Brinkman, (UWA), Career Development Fellowship. * Yuming Guo, (Monash U), Career Development Fellowship. * Rebecca Lim, (Monash U), Career Development Fellowship. * Si Ming Man (ANU), Career Development Fellowship. * Deborah White, (South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute), Career Development Fellowship. * Jane Butler, (UNSW), Elizabeth Blackburn Fellowship. * Wai-Hong Tham, (Walter and Eliza Hall), Elizabeth Blackburn Fellowship. * Helen Christensen, (UNSW), Elizabeth Blackburn Fellowship. * Kathryn North, (Murdoch Children’s Research Institute), Outstanding Contribution. * Wendy Rogers, (Macquarie U), Ethics Award. * Michelle Banfield, (ANU), Consumer Engagement. Jianqun Gao, (Uni Sydney), Science to Art.

Appointments, achievements

Of the day

 At RMITShona Leitch moves up from Deputy PVC-learning and teaching to Associate DVC- quality enhancement.

Tracy Taylor will become dean of Murdoch University’s business school in October. Professor Taylor moves from deputy dean of business at UTS.

Peter Varghese has received Asialink’s 2018 Edward “Weary” Dunlop Medal. Mr Varghese is University of Queensland chancellor and author of last year’s India Economic Strategy to 2034, for the Commonwealth.

Stefan Williams (Uni Sydney) is named a distinguished lecturer by the Oceanic Engineering Society of the US based Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.

WA governor Kim Beazley is the new patron of Curtin U’s Autism Academy for Software Quality Assurance. The academy creates employment pathways in software testing for people with autism.

Of the week

 Richard Scully from UNE is elected a fellow of the UK Royal Historical SocietyApso Scully’s works include a three-volume  history of 19th century UK political cartoons.

Gloria Calescu has taken over the comms role at the Tertiary Education Quality Standards Agency. She replaces Raphael May who has moved to a comms consultancy.

Michelle Trudgett joins Western Sydney U as PVC, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education, Strategy and Consultation. She moves from UTS.

La Trobe U announces the 2019 Tracey Banivanua Mar Fellows, awarded to “future research leaders who have major care-giving responsibilities”. They are; Kerryn Pike from the School of Psychology and Public Health and Amanda Cooklin from the School of Nursing and Midwifery.

Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Karen Andrews has announced the  Indigenous STEM awards. HE honours go to, Professional Career Achievement: Rhett Loban, Macquarie U. Professional Early Career: Tui Nolan, UTS. Tertiary Student: Taylah Griffin, QUT. The awards are part of a BHP FoundationCSIRO programme.

Rosemary Kayess from UNSW’s Disability Innovation Institute is elected vice chair of theUN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Stuart Palmer, very recently ex Deakin U, is joining the University of Melbourne’s Centre for the Study of Higher Education.

Ryan Loxton from Curtin U’s School of Electrical Engineering, Computing and Mathematical Sciences, is awarded the 2019 J H Michell Medal from the Australian Mathematical Society.