Super Saturday

The National Health and Medical Research Council announced $437m in research funding on Saturday

Perhaps the date function is not set on the new grant administration system, SAPPHIRE, (CMM October 30). Where the money goes in tomorrow’s issue.


There’s more in the Mail

In Features this morning;

Amanda Henderson (CQU) on how to improve student work-placement learning, ask them @ . It’s a new contribution to Commissioning Editor Sally Kift’s series on what is needed now in teaching and learning.

And Anthony Tuckett (Uni Queensland) marks the Schwartz nursing education review a distinction, @

Just the thing for New Year’s Eve

Looking forward to the holiday prospect of (insert dissolution of choice here)? Sorry, the Commonwealth Parliament’s Joint Committee of Public Accounts has got a job that needs doing

Submissions to its inquiry into the Australian National Audit Office’s report on the Australian Research Council’s administration of the National Competitive Grants Programme are due January 20.

They will not need to be long. The Auditor General found the ARC’s admin is “effective,” its processes “mature and effective” and performance management “largely effective.”

The ARC agreed, and accepted a suggestion that it could improve programme KPIs.

So why are members and senators bothering, people, suspecting a plot, ask? No conspiracy against research, folks who live on the hill say.  Just standard parliamentary oversight.

Well that’s a relief

Uni SA VC David Lloyd promises no more werewolf references in staff comms. Scroll down for why.

Jobs review at Macquarie U

Vice Chancellor S Bruce Dowton is looking to save money (CMM November 4)– there’s more news on how

The highest-profile plan to address an anticipated increase in the budget deficit is closing the Faculty of Human Sciences and reallocating its departments, although, HR is said to be working to minimise the number of staff who lose jobs (CMM November 22).

But nothing is known for the future of some staff in the Events and Domestic Protocol team and in Properties and Facilities. CMM hears the former’s function will be reduced and some capex will be put on hold, effecting the latter.

University management, tells CMM, “Macquarie University is currently consulting with the relevant stakeholders in relation to the change proposals in the Events and Domestic Protocol team, and also the Property team. We have no further comment to make at this time.”

New approach to R&D tax incentive : zombie policy no more (again)

The Treasurer has quietly introduced legislation to reform the research and development tax incentive policy

The reason Bill Ferris, Alan Finkel and John Fraser missed the coronation of Queen Elizabeth (I not II) was they were working on a review of the R&D tax incentive (CMM September 29 2016).

They proposed a bunch of stuff, including more tight-targeting of tax concessions – their proposals caused conniptions among R&D investors. When last heard of, legislation announced in the 2018 budget and based on the Review of the Three Fs had passed the House but a Senate committee concluded, the bill should not proceed until there is further consideration” CMM February 12). It lapsed at the election.

So, present treasurer Josh Frydenberg considered and is back with a new bill that updates the old one, introduced on Thursday, the last sitting day of the year. The Explanatory Memorandum explains it all, in Mariana Trench depth, but basically the bill delivers on the Three Fs intent to target R&D support. If passed, the new system’s regulatory cost to business will be $26m per annum and will save the tax payer $1.8bn over the forward estimates.

There are over 150 Three F stories in the CMM archive, with the legislation still to go the Senate, there will be more.

More senior staff than TAFE can count

Quite a few more it seems

The NSW TAFE 2019 annual report states there are seven employees classified as Senior Executive staff, being paid between $187 000 and $548 000. But when David Shoebridge in the Legislative Council asked the minster for education how many people “are paid at or above Senior Executive Service level”, (Q 682, October 22) he was given (12 November) a different number – 101.

Doubtless an innocent arithmetical or classification error, although, you can pay, a learned reader remarks, a bunch of teachers for that sort of money.

Unis have a cyber-safety supremo

Greg Sawyer is the inaugural director of the Australasian Higher Education Cybersecurity Service maintained for universities by the Council of Australasian University Directors of IT

CAUDIT set his brief in June, to assist it; “collaborate with the sector to leverage and grow cybersecurity services which support and supplement universities’ own services through engagement, advice, advocacy, training and direct operational support,” (CMM September 4).

Mr Sawyer is now on secondment to CAUDIT from the University of Sydney.

ANU provost to step down

 Mike Calford will leave the job in February

Vice Chancellor Brian Schmidt applauded Professor Calford’s achievements since re-joining ANU in January 2018, in a message to staff Friday, adding, “I know Mike has increasingly been drawn back to thinking about his research … after serving an unbroken 15 years in executive roles at four universities.” Professor Calford will become an emeritus professor in the university’s College of Health and Medicine.

Professor Schmidt also used the announcement to signal structural change to come, saying,  the months leading up to Professor Calford stepping down will be used, “to pause and reflect on how we can best structure ourselves.”

“I need the help of everyone at ANU, and the right decision-making structures among our leadership team, to deliver on our ambitions.”


Uni SA’s David Lloyd on change: it hurts and that’s never funny

The VC tells staff he once used a presentation slide of “An American werewolf in London” (think Dirty Dancing for lycranthophiles) but he won’t do it again

What this is about: Uni SA’s VC wraps the year with a staff message recognising the pain two years of uncertainty created. He says he once used the werewolf image to make the point that “change can be frightening,” but he won’t do it again, recognising it “over-trivialises” what people have been through.

Like last year’s proposed merger with Uni Adelaide: The potential for major change was everywhere and quite literally everyone was impacted. The universe/university as we know it could have ceased to be.”

And like the new academic structure now being established: “Moving from divisions and schools to seven academic units. No matter how many times we re-iterate the mantra ‘the minimum impact on the maximum number of people’, no matter how people-focused our principles are and our approach to change is, at the end of the day we are still enacting change. Change is happening to people and for people. Outside of their control. And for some, that can indeed, be frightening.”

And needed and supported though the new structure is, creating it was painful: “That’s why I’m retiring the werewolf slide. It’s no longer funny. It’s not respectful of the impact of change. We all have friends and colleagues who are affected and that affects us all. We also have friends and colleagues who are working incredibly diligently to minimise that impact to the best of their abilities and to make this process of change one which is realised with dignity and respect.”

So what’s happening: The old discipline-based academic structure, (four divisions, 14 schools is out) and seven new “ teaching curriculum communities (CMM April 16 and July 16 (correct)) are nearly in.

CMM hears executive deans are being interviewed now, with them to appoint their teams – programme and research deans and general managers, in the new year. Transition to the new structure is scheduled for April 6. Word is that everybody involved, other than people applying for top jobs now has a fair idea where they will sit.

Edith Cowan U plays to research strengths

ECU expands its elite-talent programme

When ECU VC Steve Chapman arrived he set up super-select research recruiting to hire 20 professorial-fellows. The last, aged-care expert Beverley O’Connell, joined in May (CMM, August 12 2015 and May 15 2019).

In July, the university expanded the idea, announcing it wanted to hire 40 early and mid-career research fellows over four year to work in core ECU areas.  The first 12 are now hired.

Appointments, achievements

The Council of Australian Postgraduate Associations announces its new national leadership

* President, Romana-Rea Begicevic (Curtin U) * VP, Bojana Klepac Pogrmilovic (Victoria U) * policy and research, Errol Phuah (Swinburne U) * media and comms, Anushka Kapoor (Uni Western Sydney) * queer officer, Shae Brown (Southern Cross U) * women’s officer, Aishwarya Singh (Griffith U) * disabilities officer, Ashik Chacko Mathulla (Griffith U)  * international officer: Devendra Singh (Monash U) * NATSIPA appointee: Stacey Coates (National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Postgraduate Association)

The University of Adelaide announces its 2019 learning and teaching awards, named for 19th century South Australian, Stephen Cole, the elder;

Awards for excellence: * Hong Cai, (Social Sciences) for teaching * Frank Donnelly, (Nursing) for teaching practice * Karina Riggs, Beth Loveys,  (Agriculture, Food, Wine) for teaching practice  * Susan Hemer, (Social Sciences), for HDR supervision*

Student-led teaching: * Mark Ferguson, Benito Cao (Arts) * Braden Phillips, Akram Najafzadeh  Engineering, Computer Science, Math) * Lyndsey Collins-Praino, Madeleine Benton (Health and Medical Sciences) * Andrew MacKinnon, Sara Krivickas (Sciences) * Tracey Dodd, Ankit Agarwal (Professions)

Education Minister Dan Tehan announces new appointments to the Council for International Education

Outgoing Swinburne U VC Linda Kristjanson, Federation U VC Helen Bartlett, Uni Melbourne DVC International Michael Wesley, Edith Cowan College principal Malcolm Baigent, TAFE Qld International’s Janelle Chapman and president of Council of International Students Australia, Ahmed Ademoglu.