That was quick

Tanya Monro signed off as DVC R at the University of South Australia, Friday. Her move to Chief Defence Scientist was only announced January 24.

There’s more in the Mail

In features this morning UWA’s new policy institute head Shamit Saggar on the five books that influence his work.

Medical research lobby’s (relatively) modest budget ask

A major medical research lobby has a modest budget bid, at least by industry standards.

The Association of Australian Medical Research Institutes asks the Morrison Government to maintain the promised $7.8bn cash commitment to the Medical Research Future Fund, so it reaches the long-established target of $20.2bn  in 2020-21.

AAMRI also argues the Department of Health has promised to “support” institutions undertaking MRFF research projects with money for systemic costs incurred, “commercialisation services, IT, legal expenses, HR and building running costs.” It asks “a support mechanism be established as soon as possible.”  This is on top of existing infrastructure support from the National Health and Medical Research Council which it wants increased from a present 20 cents to 30 cents on the NHMRC dollar by 2022-23.

The institute also calls for the index for funding for the NHMRC to be increased from 1.5 per cent, to an amount in the present budget to the Reserve Bank’s forecast inflation range – 2 per cent to 2.25 per cent. This AAMRI, suggests would cost just $4m more.

Modest amounts to be sure and it is hard to believe the association will be that upset if most are not delivered – as long as the scheduled deposit in the MRFF happens.

They want what they want when they want it

Rating compiler QS is very keen to get a learned reader’s opinion, asking him to complete its annual survey of university performance. A follow-up, “there’s not much time left” email was sent a minute after the original.  So did the LR get cracking? “For the first time, this year I am not going to bother – fed up providing labour free to for-profit organisations – you could call it the journal syndrome.”

Unionists hold the phone to oppose Victoria U offer

On Thursday unionists at Victoria U voted to oppose management’s new offer on wages and conditions and by Friday the National Tertiary Education Union was in full campaign mode.

NTEU employees and members are undertaking a volunteer “telephone callout,” urging VU staff to vote against management’s offer for a new enterprise agreement. The union says management is deficient on pay increases and reduces workplace protections. “We are disappointed that they have chosen to go down this path rather than to continue negotiating, and in our view to do undermines collective bargaining,” assistant national secretary Gabe Gooding says.

Voting is expected to start at the end of the week in a must-win ballot for management, which decisively lost last year when it put a previous offer to staff, without NTEU agreement.

Macquarie U new curriculum on track for 2020

The new curriculum for Macquarie U appears on track for a 2020 start. Senate signed off on the model in August and academics had until November to develop courses for approval – which appears to have happened. The last 155 courses, specialisations and majors were ticked before Christmas. “Now for the hard bit – transferring students to the new degrees. … but I am generally optimistic about this project, which (although way too rushed) was well led and well executed.” a learned reader remarks.

Open access expert Kingsley coming home

Danny Kingsley is coming home and will settle in Brisbane. The ex ANU staffer is leaving Cambridge University after four years as libraries deputy director for scholarly communication & research services. “This has been a very difficult decision to make, but it became clear some time ago that as a family we were unable to remain in the UK, and this is a good time to move in terms of the stages that my children are at in their schooling,” she tells friends.

Learned readers suggest this is a win for open access in Australian research, nowhere near as advanced as in the EU, where Plan S prescribes all scholarly publications which result from public funding must be published in OA journals or OA platforms from 2020.

Dr Kingsley is an expert in the costs and benefits of OA digital delivery, with the policy knowledge and governance skills to help agencies and institutions towards expanding OA.

Translating the tax office

The Australian Tax Office is funding universities to trial tax clinics, where people without their own professional advice can receive assistance from tax students, supervised by academic staff. The trial follows a Curtin U initiative, where the university, supported by industry partners helps people who have problems understanding what the ATO is telling them. Assistant Treasurer Stuart Robert says ten unis are in the trial, ANU, Charles Darwin U, Curtin U, Griffith U, James Cook U, Uni Adelaide, Uni Melbourne, UNSW, U Tas and Western Sydney U.

UWA public policy institute hire leads appointments, achievements

Shamit Saggar is the inaugural director of UWA’s Public Policy Institute. Professor Saggar joins from the University of Essex, where he Associate PVC R, working on policy engagement, research impact and doctoral education. He is a former policy advisor to Tony Blair and most recently head of the UK Academy of Social Sciences advocacy group.

The Institute’s focus is on WA and the nation in the Indo-Pacific. It will report on policy, teach short courses and provide professional development programmes.

Former federal Labor defence and foreign minister Stephen Smith chairs in the Institute’s board.

In features this morning: Shamit Saggar on the five books that influence his work.

Megan Smith is new science dean at Charles Sturt U. She is an internal appointment, replacing Tim Wess, who moved to the University of the Sunshine Coast to become DVC A.

Chris Stoltz becomes a professor of practise in engineering at La Trobe U.  The La Trobe U graduate is founder and MD of specialist engineering and geospatial IT company Spatial Partners and a former Victorian president of Engineers Australia and mayor of Bendigo.

ANU will today award an hon doc to alumni Peter Garrett (as in Labor federal cabinet minister and Midnight Oils singer). The university honours him as “one of Australia’s most well-respected and effective campaigners for principled public policy.”