There’s more in the Mail

In Features this morning, David Myton talks to UniSA’s Professor Wendy Lacey on the challenges of an ageing society and her research on stamping out elder abuse.

Cash in space

Space Agency has another payload to launch

The Adelaide-based Australian Space Agency has $12m for two projects. Industry, Science and Technology Karen Andrews promises $6m to establish a mission control centre, which will “be a focal point for space missions in Australia, providing facilities to control small satellite missions, enabling real-time control and testing.” There is a further $6m for a space discovery centre. This will provide “mission simulation and training for tertiary education” and “STEM education, engagement and inspiration.”

Counting the hours to complete a PhD

The peak postgrad lobby wants to codify the time it really takes to complete a PhD.

The Council of Australian Postgraduate Associations calls on the Noonan Review of the Australian Qualifications Framework to specify the real-time taken for a PhD as four to five years.

According to CAPA this is necessary to protect students; “The current funding environment for PhDs is such that universities are incentivised to graduate their students quickly. This has led to shorter candidature times and scholarship durations (of the minimum three years) at many universities. … Doctoral students are under immense amounts of pressure due to this mis-match between the strenuous requirements of the PhD and the amount of candidature time allowed.”

It is also needed to protect the qualification’s quality; “the current inappropriately short volume of learning for the PhD impacts the quality …. Pressure for universities to shuttle through doctoral students quickly can also have the effect of decreasing the course requirements at some universities,” CAPA claims

Pay to park or pay to ride at Macquarie U

Macquarie U has a new digital parking system for staff – just as the railway returns

Late last year the university rolled out app-based pay-as-you-go parking for students and from May staff will pay on-line for a virtual permit, tied to electronic identification of licence plates. Sounds expensive – which has people wondering what permits will cost, new rates for staff, and students, are expected next month.  A monthly permit, now costs for $40, a snip compared to across town UNSW where people earning over $55 000 pay $1947 a year for an un-reserved spot.

Cynics suggest that productivity improving technology will come with a price rise, but what can you expect from cynics? Optimists point out the Macquarie U railway station is on the new super-duper metro northwest, which is expected to open mid-year.

Union budgeting on a change of government

The university-staff union’s budget submission includes recommendations this government isn’t likely to adopt – but the next one might.

The National Tertiary Education Union wants a range of funding increases in the budget, including; * restoring funding based on the number of students enrolled. * reinstate the Higher Education Grants Index, which covers professional/technical salaries as well as CPI. * increase total public investment in higher education to a minimum 1 per cent of GDP. * increase funding per Commonwealth supported student place by a minimum 10 per cent.

Such calls for cash are standard operating procedure for the union, which the coalition, on existing form, will not agree to. But the bid also sends messages to what may be a more amenable Labor government after the election, especially in the context of the promised review of post-secondary education.

Thus the union calls for;

* a single funding and regulatory system for higher education and VET
* an independent authority to run the post-school system

* increase “total investment” in research and development to 2.5 per cent of GDP
* reversing cuts to competitive grants and block grants

* ending ministerial veto of Australian Research Council grant decisions

Reasons to be wild about Wicking

The wonderful Wicking Trust extends support for palliative care 

The Wicking Trust has slung La Trobe U’s Palliative Care Unit $1.5m for work on public health approaches to care. It’s part of the trust’s support for research on wellness and quality of life in old age. Wicking is well known for supporting dementia research and information programmes from the University of Tasmania centre named for it – including its two MOOCs, on understanding and dealing with the disease.

The high price of research open access

As the OA push picks up pace research data analytics provider Clarivate warns there’s no such thing as a free article

Plan S is picking up pace, with the University of California joining European university systems in requiring journal publishers to make research articles free to read.  But Plan S involves researchers, or their institutions, paying journals an article publishing charge – and this will be a problem. According to Clarivate’s Nandita Quaderi, James Hardcastle, Christos Petrou and Martin Szomszor, 120 000 articles from Plan S institutions appeared on the Web of Science in 2017. The cost of paying to publish them, based on existing publishing charges, would be €150m.

“Meeting these costs will fall on research funders. It is not evident whether marginal resources are available to support all affected authors,” the Clarivate team warns.

Unless of course, CMM suggests, negotiations with the big for-profit publishers lead to lower article charges and subscriptions or lower cost competitors build share.

Appointments, achievements

James Boyd will become La Trobe U’s inaugural chair in digital health at end April. He joins from the Centre for Data Linkage at Curtin U.

Richard Hillis returns to the University of Adelaide as PVC Research. His appointment was announced, and commenced yesterday – it runs until next January. Professor Hillis was last at Uni Adelaide a decade back as head of the school of petroleum. He replaces Julie Owens, who moved to Deakin U in December to be DVC R.  It’s a short-term appointment to cover the role until a new DVC R is appointed and looks to make their own selection. The present DVC R Mike Brooks is giving up the role to focus on his other job as provost.

Bond U has appointed Chris Knapp head of the school of architecture. He moves from Western Sydney U. Professor Knapp was a member of Bond’s architecture school 2013-2017.

A Melbourne University team has won the Emory University 2019 Global Health Case competition. The subject was hurricane preparedness.