There’s more in the Mail

This week’s teaching feature is Trevor Cullen (Edith Cowan U) on preparing graduates for life-long learning and work.

Research burdened by bumf

Adrian Barnett has had it with “unnecessary” research paperwork. He’s petitioning for a national inquiry

Australian researchers are spending too much time on unnecessary ethics and governance forms,” says the president of the Statistical Society of Australia and QUT biostatistics researcher.

“Millions of dollars-worth of Australian health and medical researchers’ time is being wasted on: submitting the same forms to multiple review committees; or submitting forms for negligible risk research that should not need formal oversight. These unnecessary applications waste huge amounts of time and money, and are impeding health and medical research in Australia.”

Professor Barnett has a petition here calling for a, “a national inquiry to examine the entire system of ethics and governance approvals.”

Conveniently for anybody thinking about terms of reference, he also suggests what it should conclude; “We want national systems with standardised forms that are used by every state and territory health department.”

Best western

UWA is the only education institution on the state government’s innovator of the year short-list

The university has two entries in the emerging innovation category, a synthetic bone for human implant and weed chipper for large-scale cropping.

Friending China: the humanities want to help

The feds have replaced the Australia China Council with the National Foundation for Australia-China Relations which will have more money. But what will it do?

The Australian Academy of the Humanities has three ideas.

* capacity review of research and training in China studies

* “targeted funding” for Chinese-Australian artists and performers to participate in bilateral arts and culture programmes

*  Chinese-Australian business and professional networks, “as a national resource

The academy adds it is, “uniquely equipped to ensure the independence and integrity of its Chinese-Australian diaspora initiatives through its expertise, experience, community networks and outstanding Chinese-Australian academicians.”

Former academy president John Fitzgerald (Swinburne U) prepared the submission to a DFAT review, with assistance from members of the academy council.

Australia leads QS top 50 list

There are three Australian universities in the new QS list of the top 50 universities worldwide founded 50 years ago or less – UTS at 11th, Uni Wollongong in 16th place, and QUT at 19th (CMM yesterday). With the full list announced they are joined by Curtin U at 21, RMIT at 22, Deakin U at 29, Uni SA in 30th place. Griffith U is 37th and James Cook U is 48.

Australia’s leads, ahead of France, with seven universities listed.

Needed: after-sales service for international students

Unis can do more to help grads who stay on work visas

There’s a survey of international graduates on what they think of the 485 visa, that allows them to stay on in Australia to work for four years after completing degrees ( CMM June 24). Researcher Ly Thi Tran (Deakin U) reports results to date in a paper for the International Education Association of Australia.

The survey shows;

Some 37 per cent of respondents who have a post-study work rights visa were in FT employment in their field, another 13 per cent were PT or casual in their field.  However close to half report the visa has negatively affected employment outcomes.

Associate Professor Tran says this confirms qualitative research findings for the project, which shows that while the visa is seen by holders as a stepping stone to permanent residency “it does not give them a ‘competitive advantage’ in terms of securing a full-time employment, especially in their field of study.”

Respondents dissatisfied with the visa as assisting them into FT employment had four major issues;

* those on the two-year, not four, visa thought it was too short a time to win employer confidence, acquire work-experience, join professional bodies and/or get jobs

* employers do not understand the 485 visa and prefer applicants with permanent residency

* “lack of flexibility” for extending/renewing visa

* “lack of support from related stakeholders including continuing access to institutional career support services.”

Overall, Aspro Tran states; “Even though international graduates do not see the 485 visa as directly and immediately helping them secure a job, it gives them the benefits associated with ‘more time’ and opportunity to enhance their English language and professional, social, networking and residency capital.”

She adds; “findings also support an urgent call for universities to provide international graduates with continuing access to resources and career support to enhance their employability and employment outcomes.”

The price of research publishing isn’t set like it used to be

For-profit publisher Elsevier and the Netherlands universities association have agreed to extend their existing arrangement by six months – again.

The agreement ensures universities have access to 2500 journals while the publisher and peak research groups, discuss “how to work together on aspired future Dutch open science infrastructure services.” The Netherlands is keen on the European Research Council’s Plan S, which wants open access to research. Publishers think this is ok, if it is gold open access, which makes research free to read but pay to publish. However, in June the ERC says it will consider capping article publishing payments.

The new Netherlands-Elsevier extension continues the agreement to keep talking struck last December. It’s part of a change from the publishing industry’s old attitude, when its resources meant it set the terms for research publishing.

New stage in Indigenous health study

The largest and longest running health study of Indigenous Australians is collecting more data

The Menzies School of Health Research has commenced collecting data for a fifth wave of its Aboriginal Birth Health Cohort Study. The study started in 1987 with 686 people born that year in the Northern Territory. Participants have been checked every six-seven years for chronic disease, such as diabetes, kidney and heart disease, the study also includes mental health.  A group of 196 non-Indigenous people are also in the survey. Gurmeet Singh is chief investigator.

Appointments, achievements

Hazel Bateman (UNSW) is the inaugural president of the International Pension Research Association. Professor Bateman’s UNSW colleague John Piggott is a member of the association’s foundation board.  Professor Bateman is also appointed director of academic strategy in the UNSW business school.

Denise Woods joins the University of the Sunshine Coast as PVC Students. She joins from CQU where she is an engaged research chair and director of the Centre for Regional Advancement of Learning.

 Don Markwell is the next warden of St Marks College at the University of Adelaide, commencing in November. He is a former warden of Trinity College at the University of Melbourne and now leads St Paul’s at the University of Sydney. Dr Markwell was an adviser to Chris Pyne as education minister.

Hala Batainah (ex Microsoft) is the new chair of the Canberra Innovation Network, which supports  start-ups and SMEs. ANU, Canberra Institute of Technology, CSIRO, Data61, Uni Canberra and UNSW Canberra are members.