Equal (absence of) opportunity

The National Health and Medical Research Council’s annual report for 2019-20 states there were 3394 grant applications from women chief investigator (A) and 4080 from men. But the success rate was gender neutral-dismal 12.9 per cent for women, 13.2 per cent for men.

There’s more in the Mail

In Features this morning

Coursera and Google, “have taken industry-integrated education to a new level”. Beverley Oliver explains what it’s about

The pandemic creates new risk management and critical incident reporting requirements for HE providers. Michael Tomlinson and Jane Fernandez set out what to do.

Juliana Ryan and Nadine Zacharias make the case for income support for equity students.

Merlin Crossley (UNSW) on expertise and the opportunities it creates for meaningful work.

NU’s 2019 annual report is finally out. Garry Carnegie (RMIT) and James Guthrie (Macquarie U) argue that this is way too late and we need six-monthly financial reports from all universities.

David Kellermann (UNSW) on creating a serious solution for on-line lecturing. Curated content from Microsoft.

Still standing, getting moving: what’s next for higher education

Join Margaret Sheil (VC QUT), David Lloyd (VC Uni SA) and Natalie McDonald (VP strategy La Trobe U) on Remaking HE

Take an hour out of your day to hear them consider one of the big HE questions; is there a future for the young academics who should be the future of higher education.

ReMaking HE: ideas for the post (or continuing) pandemic university. Dates and details for the on-line conference here.

Med researchers ask, “is there a lobbyist in the house?”

The Medical Research Future Fund is now fully capitalised, with $20bn in the kitty. Joy is not entirely unconfined

The medical research community has long grumbled about aspects of MRFF funding allocations. The Association of Australian Medical Research Institutes is using a Department of Health stakeholder survey on the grants process to call for “greater clarity … on how review processes and funding decisions are made.”

AAMRI’s suggestions include, more information for applicants on the rationale for funding calls, more information on success rates, composition of assessment panels, monthly updates on outcomes and stats on success rates by gender, career stage, state and research organisation.

Overall AAMRI warns, “A number of leading researchers and research organisations are taking the view that the best way to achieve funding success in the MRFF is to engage a government relations advisor or lobbyist, with a view to influencing research funding areas and to try and get advance notice of what funding rounds are on the horizon.”

Macquarie U goes the whole ho ho ho

As we approach December, it is traditional to consider how we celebrate the year and recognise the contributions of our community,” VC S Bruce Dowton tells staff

But the VC has done more than consider, he has announced that everybody gets Christmas Eve as a paid university holiday, “in recognition of the extraordinary efforts of staff throughout the year.”  That makes four concessional days between December 26 and January 1.

With Christmas and News Year Day both on Fridays staff will get a week off without using leave.

Zero sum game for ARC funding: Linkage up, Discovery down

Dan Tehan is a big fan of applied research – there’s $30m million more that proves it

The education minister has allocated an extra $30m of Australian Research Council money to its Linkage Programme, “which funds research into areas of national priority and applies advanced knowledge to problems.”

The transferred funds are to, “to drive innovation and support Australia’s COVID-19 recovery.”

The funds come from ARC’s Discovery Programme, which is now $42m down this calendar year.  In January Mr Tehan cut $12m from Discovery to fund a research programme for Australian society, history and culture (CMM January 28). The 2020-21 budget allocation for Discovery is $484m.


Mixed reviews for research metrics

The Deans of Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities have strong, some sceptical, views of ARC research metrics

DASSH’s submission to the Australian Research Council’s review of Excellence for Research in Australia, and Engagement and Impact points to;

problems in ERA peer review: “Our members have found that many fields are reliant on narrow pools of reviewers, which casts doubts on whether meaningful conclusions can be drawn from the exercises.”

why EI: “University researchers who collaborate with industry already had strong engagement with a pathway to impact. The EI exercise simply encouraged better documentation of the activities, and there are likely better incentives for researchers to increase their collaboration with end-users rather than a stocktaking exercise.”

Overall: “Members generally doubt that the evaluations are well understood by government, industry and community. There does not appear to be much interest in research quality in policymaking, only in short term instrumentalist research. In any case, many members feel the year to year changes and trajectories implied by these are confusing and often artefacts of the process, so the exercise does not provide assurance of maintenance of growth in quality.”

There is way more here.

The Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering suggests the metrics are a solid base to build on

“ERA has largely succeeded at achieving its objectives, and is now an accepted benchmark for understanding and measuring Australia’s research achievement at the discipline level … EI is an important compliment to the ERA, in capturing the impact of research and enggement with industry,” the AATE submission states.

The Academy proposes four enhancements

* ensuring end-users, “can effectively use and interrogate ERA and EI data”

*  using the metrics’ data “to further promote impact and engagement

* consider AI to automate collecting research outputs (including data) and making them open access

* Open science to promote transparency of ERA and EI and improve measurement of impact and engagement. (“The rapid digitisation of science, technology and innovation is also driving change, leading to the emergence of the new ‘Open Science’ paradigm.”)

The AATE submission is here.

Get the word out early

The ARC plans to release submissions to the review after it is out, which seems a bit late for a debate. So, CMM will report and/or link to, as many submissions as it can – send them in people.

QUT endorsed by EFMD, again

The European Foundation for Management Development has reaccredited QUT for five years to its EQUIS biz school assessment scheme.  

In January QUT was the first Australian business school to have an on-line course accredited by EFMD, “Leadership coaching through turbulent time,” (via Future Learn).

Images worth 100 000 words

The 2020 Visualise Your Thesis winners are announced

Graduate students from Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, South Africa and the UK presented their theses as 60 second a/v presentations for a lay audience.

It’s an idea created by Uni Melbourne research managers, with the competition starting last year, (CMM November 8 2019).

Kelly Wilson-Stewart (QUT) wins for Protecting nurses from radiation exposure

Ané van der Walt, (Monash U) is second for The narrative atlas: creative prototyping and multivocality in archaeology

Third prize goes to Maleen Jayasuriya, (UTS), for One small step for a PhD student, one giant leap for mobility scooters

Because there were two more too good to ignore there are commendations for,

Nicole RiversEverything not saved will be lost  (on assisted reproduction for Australian fish species) and Gwendolyn Foo (UNSW), Using robots to solve the world’s fastest growing problem (which is waste electronics)

Appointment, achievement

Elizabeth Bardwell joins Swinburne U as comms director. She moves from comms consultancy Allegro.

Grace Yee (Creative Fellow, State Library of Victoria) win the University of Melbourne’s Peter Steele poetry award.