Just in from the “we see what you did there” desk

Flinders U reports archaeologists’ findings on a Danish island, headlined, “Viking ship burial shrouded in mystery”

There’s more in the Mail

In Features this morning

Merlin Crossley (UNSW) on why science does not always deliver what was promised, (“Where are the clones? There ought to be clones?”) and why this can be a good thing.

Plus people whose partners sabotage their education through coercive control need help – university communities should provide it. Angela Hill, Braden Hill, Fiona Navin and Michelle Rogers (all Edith Cowan U) make the case.

Halfway mark for maths policy

Progress is mixed on props in the 2016 national mathematics ten-year plan

The National Committee on Mathematical Sciences wants to know what’s on-track and what could change. There’s a paper on progress towards goals set in 2016 and new issues to address.

So far so good-ish: The committee reports more money for teacher professional development across the country, which is good, except it does not increase the supply of new qualified maths teachers or retrain out of field teachers.

The 2016 call for Y12 intermediate maths as a pre-req for UG degrees in science, engineering and commerce has led to “little change across the sector”.  Encouraging maths study in schools is now emphasised by opinion leaders.

And despite programmes to encourage girls and young women to study maths, evaluating their impact “is difficult.”

But, as recommended, there are new national research centres – (the Uni Melbourne based) MATRIX and (at Uni Sydney) the Sydney Mathematical Research Institute.

What’s next: The committee asks for input on four extra areas; * data science and cyber security * biostats * “gender and representation of minority groups, and * changes in funding of Commonwealth Supported Places.

Quite the energy achievers at Uni Adelaide

The Roseworthy campus of Uni Adelaide is now set to generate 40 per cent of its own energy via new infrastructure including a solar farm and batteries from Tesla and UniEnergy. The switch was flicked yesterday, and the new system powered the entire campus (admittedly on a quiet no-classes day). Which puts Roseworthy ahead of ANU which announces it will be “below zero” carbon emissions by 2030.

Virtual plant powers real research

Siemens extends its universities alliance

The German industrial giant will install a virtual power system at RMIT so the,future energy workforce can test and model real-world scenarios and optimise energy systems for smart cities.”

The Siemens Digital Energy Test Lab can model the impact of outages on power-grids and how they handle supply from wind and solar power and demand from infrastructure and new requirements, say electric vehicle charging.

The RMIT kit adds to virtual resources Siemens has installed at universities across the country, including a “virtual twin” LNG plant at UWA, digital manufacturing software at Uni Queensland and a product management system (handy for big naval builds) at Uni SA.

Siemens Australia MD Jeff Connolly is chair of the feds’ taskforce on university-industry research translation.

Big finish at Needed Now in Teaching and Learning (the conference)

The conference ends next Friday when TEQSA Chief Commissioner Peter Coaldrake talks to Sally Kift about the big HE challenges from the regulator’s perspective. Sign-up here for this plus all the scene-setting sessions that start Monday.

Needed Now is sponsored by Online Education Services.

jobs pain on the way at Uni Melbourne

There are expectations that the Professional Services Reset will abolish 151 positions

The PSR process was established last August as part of the university’s “pandemic reset.” The brief was to find ways of, “extending shared services so that we don’t have multiple ways of doing the same thing,” (CMM August 28).

PSR1 covered finance, data & reporting, occupational health and safety, facilities management, research outputs and post-award finance support.

An estimate of presently planned PSR2 staff changes puts the proposed net loss of positions at 46, however this is based on 167 new vacant positions being created and 49 vacant positions being abolished. But 151 positions would be redundant and 13 voluntary redundancies from PSR1 which were “deferred” would occur, according to plans now circulating in the university.

These figures do not include staff members transferring positions. Changes in HR, “are yet to be proposed.”

Operating areas to be covered by the new shared services approach in PSR2 include communications and marketing, advancement, and student recruitment and admissions. People in the 151 positions marked to go will have “priority access” to vacant positions.

The university is looking for $252m in overall savings this year, following $360m made last (CMM February 26).

Uni Melbourne states it will not comment until PSR2 is “finalised.”

Appointments, achievements of the week


 Michelle Eady (Uni Wollongong) becomes Asia Pacific VP of the International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning.

Tim Harcourt joins UTS as an industry professor and chief economist at its Institute for Public Policy and Governance.

Hirini Kaa (Uni Auckland) and Grace Karskens (UNSW) are joint winners of the Ernest Scott Prize (from Uni Melbourne). Dr Kaa is wins for  Te Hāhi Mihinare – The Māori Anglican Church (Bridget Williams Books) and Professor Karskens for People of the River: lost worlds of early Australia (Allen and Unwin).

Peter Sherlock is appointed for a third term as vice chancellor of the University of Divinity.

Niko Sünderhauf (QUT) is an honourable mention on the AI 2000 Most Influential Scholars in Robotics list. Inclusion is based on citations and author order in “selected papers” for the last decade.

Carol Crevacore (Edith Cowan U) wins the education award at the WA Nursing and Midwifery awards. Garth Kendall (Curtin U) wins the research award. Gavin Leslie (Curtin U) and Rhonda Marriott (Murdoch U) receive the lifetime achievement honour.

Paul Wellings (about to be former VC of Uni Wollongong) receives the Asia-Pacific Leadership Award from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education.