What next?

“Get breakfast and a free loaf of bread now,” University of Canterbury promotes an event via Twitter yesterday. Is there no end to Kiwi profligacy? They will be wanting smashed avo on their toast next.

Deakin U export achiever again

Deakin University has won the education category of the Governor of Victoria’s export awards. This is Deakin’s fourth win in a row (CMM October 11 2916)

Prime Minister’s Sciences Prizes: all the winners

Jenny Graves from LaTrobe U is winner of the Prime Minister’s Prize for Science. Professor Graves uses, “marsupials and monotremes, birds and lizards, to understand the complexity of the human genome.”

“Australia’s pouched and egg-laying mammals are a fantastic source of genetic variation because they last shared a common ancestor with placental mammals so long ago. They are truly independent experiments in mammalian evolution.”

Eric Reynolds from the University of Melbourne and the Oral Health CRC is the PM’s Innovation Prize winner. Professor Reynolds discovered a protein in milk now widely used to strengthen teeth. He now works on a vaccine for gum disease.

Jian Yang, University of Queensland is Frank Fenner Life Scientist of the Year for his work on genetic factors in complex diseases.

Dayong Jin (UTS) takes the Malcolm McIntosh Physical Scientist award for bringing “a physicist’s perspective to the challenge of biology.” He uses photonic technology in microscopes to identify individual diseased cells among a million healthy ones.

In a big win for the Illawarra Neil Bramsen (Mount Ousley Public School) is the PM’s prize winner for excellence in primary teaching. Brett McKay from Kirrawee High takes the prize for secondary teaching.

CSL supports med research

Two medical researchers have $1.25m CSL Centenary Fellowships. Sarah-Jane Dawson (Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre) works on “liquid biopsies” for “gentler, more thorough cancer testing.” Andrew Murphy from the Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute researches why “high blood pressure, high cholesterol, lack of exercise and smoking” generate over-production of white blood cells that can lead to heart attacks and strokes.

Flash new Monash programme to help students get jobs

After decades of assuring students that degrees deliver jobs astute universities are gearing up for a time when graduates of the demand driven system might be so numerous that some struggle for the employment to which they aspire. Deakin U has long led the way with a suite of job skill products – including interview training, using practise videos (CMM March 31). Griffith U runs its own job placement agency for students. It may not prepare them from interviews at the UN but it is hard to beat as a way of demonstrating to students that the university has their backs when they want work.

And now Monash U is celebrating a very Monash work-prep product, a shiny matching service that analyses students playing video games designed to identify “50 key cognitive and emotional traits,” “revealing their key strengths that recruiters and hiring managers want to know.”

Monash Talent’s digital platform and matching technology is based on research by Mercer Australia that uses big data and cognitive and behavioural analysis to align workers with workforce needs.”


Flinders needs the Musk treatment

Flinders U is thrilled that “students from across Adelaide will find it even easier to get to Flinders University thanks to an $85 million rail extension.” Um, that will be the link to the Tonsley Station that the state and commonwealth governments agreed was a good idea in December 2015 and that the prime minister promised in May last year. And now the SA parliament’s public works committee has approved the project. This is a commendable efficiency in recycling announcements but maybe somebody should ask Elon Musk if he could knock up a hyperloop to Flinders when he finishes fixing the state’s power problems.

From TAFE to Toowoomba

The University of Southern Queensland has appointed a DVC Enterprise Services. Michael Thomas will join from TAFE Queensland, where he is chief operating officer.

New Computer Science and Engineering rankings and no the Group of Eight does not rule every rating

Todays rankings are from Times Higher which reports on universities with high-performing engineering and computer science departments.

No ANZ institutions make the world top 50 engineering schools. Monash leads at 57, followed by most of the Group of Eight, UniMelbourne =63, ANU 66, UNSW 69, UofQueensland 73 and University of Sydney at 76. The only other ANZ entrant on the top 100 is UniWollongong at =96. The Go8 outliers are UniAdelaide, in the 101-125 band and UWA in the 126-150 group.

Other ANZ universities to make the top 400 are:

101-125: UTS

126-150: Griffith, Newcastle, UWA

151-175: UniAuckland, UniSA, Victoria U

176-200: RMIT

201-250: Curtin, Flinders, QUT, Swinburne

251-300: CQU, James Cook U, U Waikato

301-400: Massey U, USQ

401-500: UniCanterbury, Murdoch U, WSU.

The University of Melbourne ranks 39th in the world on the THE computer science list. But as with engineering, it is not the usual ranking of the Group of Eight and then daylight. Other top 100 ANZ universities are, ANU and UTS =83, QUT=98.

Others ranked institutions are:

101-125: UNSW, UoQ, UniSydney

126-150: UniAdelaide

151-175: Victoria U

176-200: UniSA, UWA

201-250: UniAuckland, VU of Wellington

251-300: Deakin U, Griffith U, LaTrobe U, Monash U, RMIT, UniWollongong.

Ranking results are always contested with universities pleased praising them (understandably) and those that aren’t either ignoring them or questioning the methodology (reasonably).

Which will surely occur now with VU ahead of two Group of Eight and two ATN universities. And Australian engineering deans might not be keen to talk about universities in Singapore and Beijing being way ahead of any here.

The global top tens are:

engineering: Stanford U, CatTech, UniOxford, MIT, UniCambridge, Princeton U, Peking U, National University of Singapore, ETH Zurich, Imperial College, London

computer science: Stanford U, MIT, UofOxford, ETH Zurich, UofCambridge, CalTech =six with Carnegie Mellon, Georgia Inst Tech, Imperial College, London and Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne

Hensher steams ahead

The University of Sydney is claiming an Australian research record for transport/logistics economist David Hensher, who Google reports now has 40 000 Google Scholar citations, with an H Index of 89. In 1991 he established the university’s Institute for Transport and Logistics Studies which the Academic Ranking of World Universities puts in the top ten for centres studying transport and logistics.

Northern exposure in seven new CRC Ps

northern Australia CRC Project grants are announced.

Seven new northern Australia CRC Project grants are announced.

Sustainable cropping systems for cotton, grains, fodder: total project value $11.6m. Partners include, UWA, University of Sydney and CSIRO

Improved pastures: TPV $8.2m, with CSIRO and James Cook U among partners

Resistance to pearl oyster mortality: TPV $10m, James Cook U involved

Preventing viruses devaluing crocodile skins: TPV $4.8m. Partners include, University of Queensland, La Trobe U, ANU and James Cook U

Biosecurity and cattle quality: TPV $5.7m, James Cook U a partner

Banana crop productivity: TPV $3.3m, University of the Sunshine Coast will participate

Probio TICK initiative (sorry, no idea): TPV $6.9m, includes Macquarie U.