Editing at the ARC

Last week the Senate instructed the Australian Research Council to advise on grant applications that it required be revised to meet the National Interest Test for funding , on the motion of NSW Greens senator, Mehreen Faruqi (CMM September 8). There are quite a few

Of 1335 Discovery Early Career Research Award applications 153 were sent back for revisions of the NIT statement and the ARC wanted subsequent changes to 117 of them.

Of 627 Future Fellowship apps, 83 were sent back, 51 more than once.

And of 27 Discovery Indigenous applications the ARC thought ten needed work on their national interest statements.

There’s more in the Mail

There’s more in the Mail

In EXPERT OPINION The British Academy is allocating small grants via lottery. Adrian Barnett from QUT advised the Brits on the scheme and makes the case for random selection of qualified apps. “When you have a highly competitive system … it’s like choosing your favourite shade of blue,” new in Expert Opinion, ep 15 HERE

And in FEATURES Merlin Crossley on the lecture – alive and well and adapting to the times.

plus James Guthrie (Macquarie U) on WA public universities 2021 financials, particularly UWA’s.

and  For work integrated learning to work it needs collaborative curriculum design. The Board of the Australian Collaborative Education Network makes the case in a contribution to Commissioning Editor Sally Kift’s celebrated series, Needed now in learning and teaching.

with Tim Winkler on the great Uni Tasmania debate – people are arguing about the wrong issue

Uni Melbourne steps up for casuals

Many unis intend to pay casual staff  for work on what is now the QEII commemoration public holiday if  it can’t be rescheduled– Uni Melbourne is doing more

The Australian Higher Education Industrial Association, which represents most universities, recommends,

“only casual employees with regular rostered work to be performed on the day should be considered for payment and;

“payment should only be made if the work is unable to be rescheduled to another day.”

Which as far as CMM can tell, many universities are doing.

But Uni Melbourne is doing more, saying it recognises casuals scheduled to work on what is now the Thursday national holiday “were relying on the anticipated income.” The university will accordingly pay them, “even where the hours of work can be rescheduled and separately paid for work done on another day.”

Wise, very wise. Given the university is being investigated by the Fair Work Ombudsman for underpaying casual staff and separately faces court action by the Ombudsman, generosity can not hurt.

Whatever is Ukrainian for “too right!”

ANU hosted an on-line address by President Zelenskyy of the Ukraine last month – it did well, with 88 000 people watching the live stream

“We are fully cognisant of the fact that you and your people are also fighting this war and defending the rules-based international order on our behalf,” ANU Chancellor Julie Bishop and VC Brian Schmidt state in their thank-you.

Cash to encourage internationals into WA  

After doing its damndest to keep international students out (CMM February 2), the WA Government is spending up to encourage them in

The state government announces $10m for education agents to promote WA “as the Australian destination of choice” to prospective international students. Plus there’s another $6.8m to continue a $1500 accommodation subsidy for internationals and $1500 for an for ELICOS bursary (both capped at 2000 students).

The agent incentive is $500 per head for school, ELICOS and VET and $1000 for a confirmed enrolment at any of the five unis in WA.

It’s not new money – part of the $41.2m announced for internationals in this year’s budget and presumably builds on the Safe Transition Industry Support Package (CMM February 14).

Charles Sturt U announces a new COO

No, not Catherine Grummer, from TAFE NSW, who was appointed in April but by August had gone to consultants Accenture.

It’s Michelle Crosby who starts in a fortnight, moving from the Australian Taxation Office.

Jobs to go at James Cook U

The long promised (CMM June 27, August 25) proposed professional staff savings plan was released yesterday

more jobs go than arrive: of 1313 people on staff, 78 will be made redundant, 15 fixed term positions will end at the conclusion of contracts, 52 vacant jobs will be abolished. However there are 30 new positions.

changes for many: Around 900 others will move work units, have reporting lines changed or get a new position title.

but for most it could be worse:  Only seven staff have their position reclassified.  And management states “a direct impact on overall casual staffing” is not anticipated.

why it is happening: Student load is down from 16 135 EFTS in 2015 to 14 031 in 2021, “with further decline in 2022.”  “The underlying issues of scale are not a temporary pandemic induced feature,” the proposal states, meaning “covering our fixed costs now represents an unsustainable proportion of discretionary income.”

and it’s not over yet: “change processes during the next 12‐18 months cannot be ruled out due to JCU’s financial position and ongoing impacts from exogenous factors, such as national economic conditions’ influence on domestic student enrolments,” the change proposal states. “Processes may also be necessitated by process and system improvements. Where possible, staff reductions will be through natural attrition; however, further redundancies can’t be discounted.”

to which the union replies: “JCU staff have been here before,” says Bronwen Foster, from the National Tertiary Education Union. “The continual rounds of redundancies, both voluntary and forced, have not improved the ability of James Cook University to attract students.”

indeed, they have not: In 2018 there were job losses and course cuts, ““to ensure the university is more responsive to changing student demand and isfinancially sustainable.”

“We know that the context in which JCU is operating is changing, impacted by increased competition, reduced student numbers, loss of external income sources including reduced Commonwealth funding, and a highly volatile and uncertain public policy environment. JCU needs to respond to these challenges,” Provost Chris Cocklin said, (CMM July 9 2018.)


Appointments, achievements

Of the day

The Australian Awarded University Teachers Network announces its awards committee, Denise Jackson (Edith Cowan U), Blake McKimmie (Uni Queensland) Pip Pattison (Uni Sydney emeritus), Grady Venville (ANU) and  Sherman Young (RMIT).

Of the week

The Australasian Research Management Society’s 2022 awards include: Moira Clay (Moira Clay Consulting) for Distinguished Service. Connie Killey (Deakin U) becomes an ARMS Fellow. Research Management awards go to Uni Melbourne’s Faculty Research Support Team  and Research Outputs TeamUni Sydney’s Faculty of Medicine and Health R&D Team and Narmon Tulsi (Flinders U).

 Vicky Balabanski, is appointed a professor of the University of Divinity. She is Director of Biblical Studies at Uniting College for Leadership and Theology in South Australia.

Virginia Barbour is appointed editor-in-chief of the Medical Journal of Australia,starting February. She is now director of Open Access Australasia.

Deborah Bunker starts as Chief Science Officer at the Natural Hazards Research Australia. She moves from Uni Sydney.

Timothy Carey is the new chair of Country Health Research and Innovation at Curtin U. He was previously at the University of Global Health Equity in Rwanda.

Political scientist Andrea Carson is elected to a three-year term representing staff on La Trobe University’s Council.

Lesley Hughes (ex Macquarie U as of end August) and Virginia Marshall (ANU) are appointed to the board of the Commonwealth’s Climate Change Authority.

Google 2022 PhD Fellowship recipients include * machine learning: Yixin Liu (Monash U), Xiaobo Xia (Uni Sydney) * machine perception, speech tech, computer vision: Jianyuan Guo (Uni Sydney), Shuo Yang (UTS) *natural language processing: Shuyi Wang (Uni Queensland) . They receive $15 000 for research and related in a year.

South Australia’s Hospital Research Foundation Group announces seven research grants to (by university affiliation) * Dhani Dharmaprani (Flinders U) – irregular heartbeats * Adrian Elliott (Uni Adelaide) – exercise to restore regular hearbeat * Mergen Ghayesh (Uni Adelaide) – preventing heart attacks * Clementine Labrosciano (Uni Adelaide) – reducing hospital readmission after heart attacks * Sivabaskari Pasupathy (Uni Adelaide)- treating chest pain * Peter Psaltis (Uni Adelaide) – preventing heart attacks * Johan Vernans (Uni Adelaide – managing patients.

Janet McCalman (Uni Melbourne) wins the Education Publishers Association’s scholarly non-fiction award for – Vandemonians: The repressed history of colonial Victoria (Melbourne University Publishing).

Helen  Milroy (UWA School of Health and Medical Sciences) is one of ten community representatives invited to the funeral of Queen Elizabeth.

Pascal Perez becomes director of the Australian Urban Research Infrastructure. He moves from Uni Wollongong.

Kevin Rudd (yes that one) receives his DPhil the University of Oxford for a thesis on (PRC president) Xi Jinping’s world-view.

Karen Lamb and Sabine Braat are co-leads of the biostatistics node at Uni Melbourne’s Methods and Implementation Support for Clinical and Health Research Hub.

Justin Yerbury (Uni Wollongong) will receive the Keys to the City of Wollongong. Professor Yerbury researches Motor Neuron Disease.