Karen Andrews goes for the marine archaeology vote

Full fathom five ambition lies

CSIRO has found the wreck of an ore carrier, sunk by a Japanese submarine in Bass Strait in 1942. To which Karen Andrews, Morrison Government minister for industry, science and technology, including CSIRO responded yesterday (via Twitter), “I’m proud to be part of a government that’s helped make this discovery responsible.” No breach of caretaker conventions there – just as there wasn’t when Ms Andrews spoke at the announcement of two new CRCs last week, undoubtedly approved before the election was called.

Labor commits to cash for coral

The Opposition promises $100m for marine and reef science

 A Labor government will establish a new $35m Australian Research Council “special research initiative” as part of the package. The Townsville, Perth and Darwin based Australian Institute of Marine Science would also pick up $26m and the Townsville based Reef HQ “education and research facility” would receive $30m for refurbishment.  CMM understands this is all new money.

Kim Carr and Labor colleagues announced the funding yesterday, “to inspire the next generation.”  This is a big commitment to the research establishment, with Labor supporters happy to contrast it the coalition funding the private Great Barrier Reef Foundation. “Easy to miss among the election antics – a pretty big marine sciences announcement,” a close observer of research funding says.

Group of Eight’s independent achievement

Secession is not an option, if only

If the Group of Eight was a country it would rank 15th in the world as a national research partner with the US, behind Israel and ahead of Israel, India and Sweden, the G08 reports in its new report on links with US universities and research agencies. The way the government irritated the Go8 last year it would surely secede if I could.

Mapping past and present

Humanities and social science research are often ignored in allocating digital research infrastructure – they shouldn’t be  

At the University of Newcastle researchers are working on software for a “time-layered cultural map.” It links time and location based data sets and archival records and makes them searchable to identity patterns and records not combined. One project takes data from the Longitudinal Study of Women’s Health to create maps and times of domestic violence reports.

The university’s Centre for 21st Century Humanities is partnering with consultants and the universities of Melbourne, Sydney and South Australia, plus Curtin U, Edith Cowan U and UTS. The TLCM launches in a year.

Med research applicants’ question time should have already started

If you have to ask it may be too late

The National Health and Medical Research Council advises its research help desk, “is experiencing a significant number of inquiries close to the closing dates of grant applications.” Funny that.

The council suggests applicants talk to their research administration officer in the first instance about synergy grants but if they do ask the help desk to allow 72 hours for an answer. With a May 1 deadline and a weekend and ANZAC Day in the way new questions better not be grant-breakers.

The skills employers want

Generic skills are very good indeed but employers want people who also know how to do stuff

Consultants Nous combined with labour analytics provider Burning Glass to scan the required attributes that turn-up in job advertisements for 672 occupations. They  found employers want “enterprise skills … 21st century skills, employability skills, soft skills, baseline skills or transferable skills” but more often cite industry-specific skills. Makes sense to CMM, no point a plumber having good comms skills if they use them to explain that they do not know how to do change a washer. What is interesting is that this is another use of Burning Glass, which can mine data for industry intel.

Last year the estimable National Centre for Vocational Education Research used Burning Glass to identify in-demand occupations, (CMM July 13 2018)


Southern Cross U announces three senior appointments for July;

Nicholas Ashbolt will become dean of environment, science and engineering. Professor Ashbolt joins from the University of Alberta – he was previously at UNSW.

Yang Liu, also from Uni Alberta, will take up a one-year research professorship in black water.

Peter Wilson moves from the University of Tasmania to work in the VC’s office, where he will work on SCU’s Japan Strategy.

Elsevier does a deal on open access

Journal publisher Elsevier reaches an open access arrangement with Norway

The biggest journal publisher has been holding on to its increasingly unpopular pay-to-read model, which charges institutions subscriptions and a fee per article for other readers. This is increasingly unpopular with universities and governments in Europe and the University of California did not renew its contract for Elsevier journals when talks broke-down over, in part, open access at the start of the year. Now however it appears that Norwegian universities and Elsevier have reached agreement, which will provide the publisher’s scholarly journals to university libraries and make individual articles free to read.

What’s in it for Elsevier was not reported last night, but it will likely be a pay to publish arrangement, where Norwegian universities pay a fee when articles by their academics appear in one of the company’s journals.