Judgement calls

Deakin U researchers Aydogan Ulker and Nejat Anbarci, study gender difference in professional tennis including analysing 1500 player line calls in tournaments. They find men are “more reckless and overconfident”. Who would have thought?


There’s more in the Mail

Today in Features, ATSE President Hugh Bradlow talks to David Myton about the enormous implications of the digital-tech revolution

Commenting not campaigning in medical research

Medical researchers could be labelled as lobbyists under proposed electoral reforms, a peak agency warns.

The Association of Australian Medical Research Institutes says its members could be caught by legislation intended to identify organisations funding, or campaigning for causes during election campaigns. AMRI argues that the existing wording of the bill could catch researchers commenting on health issues, including, the impact of climate change, immunisation, alcohol and e-cigarette use and combating obesity, all of which it says have come up in recent elections.

Passage of the bill is could accordingly lead to MRIs abandoning public policy development lest they be labelled political campaigners or for fear of breaching legislation which carries a ten year prison penalty.

AMRI urges parliament’s joint standing committee on electoral matters recommend amendments to exempt health promotion and public expression of views by a registered charity, “in accordance with charitable objectives.”

This is the second time in in a month that legislation intended to improve political accountability has created concerns among researchers. Last week Universities Australia and the Group of Eight warned a bill to register local agents of foreign powers could catch researchers (CMM January 23).

CMM partners with best practice awards

Tertiary education practitioners will meet to honour high-performing colleagues at the seventh annual Best Practice Awards in Tertiary Education Management. The awards will be announced at the Tertiary Education Management Conference in Perth, September 9-13. CMM is delighted to be an awards partner –reporting the art and science of tertiary education management is a core business. Nominations open April 1 and CMM will keep you posted.

Another stall in the research marketplace

The National Health and Medical Research Council is “committed” to “creating stronger pathways to capture the economic value of research discoveries” and so it has created an (pause for applause)  innovation webpage! Apparently the council is keen to help researchers with “commercialisation,” which is, “the process by which a new product or service is introduced to market.”

Good-o, but isn’t funding research with market potential a core function of the Medical Research Future Fund? The MRFF Act specifies it exists for “the application and commercialisation of medical research for the purpose of improving the health and wellbeing of Australians.”

Coop Bookshop AGM

The University Cooperative Bookshop AGM is on Tuesday at Southern Cross University’s Lismore campus, (Workshop Room, Level 3, A). This is excellently suited for Coop members at SCU, who want to vote on the resolution to set directors fees at $275 000. There is also a proposal to reduce the number of elected directors from six to four. “The proposed reduction in the maximum number of directors is reflective of contemporary governance practices which provide for smaller, more agile boards,” an explanatory memorandum to the notice of AGM states.

UniSA sets up in Suzhou

University of South Australia is setting up shop in the enormous Suzhou Technology Park, near Shanghai. In 25 years the park has grown to host thousands of companies, international universities including, Monash and the University of Sydney. However UniSA says its technology transfer office will be the first such Australian facility there. Vice Chancellor David Lloyd says the new venture, “will be our front door in China” and “introduce SA start-ups to Chinese partners and investors, conduct technology and commercialisation workshops, promote UniSA degree programs and engage with our international alumni.”

Game, set and cash

Last week radio harrumpher Steve Price came over all outraged about university sport sponsorships in an interview with Education Minister Simon Birmingham. “Why do universities need to stick their names on sporting teams and sporting ovals, he asked?”

This struck the minister as a “damn fine question” but as to how many universities sponsor how many teams, who knows?

The Department of Education and Training doesn’t. In a Senate committee hearing late last year then backbench senator Bridget McKenzie asked officials about university sponsorships. Officers did not have any details but mentioned examples they could think of and left it at that. When CMM asked the Department last week it had done no research. Perhaps it should, if only provide sceptics with evidence of the many benefits affiliations with sports provide universities and the students and taxpayers who fund them. Maybe Senator McKenzie, now elevated to cabinet, with a portfolio that includes sport might ask her officials to find out.

“Science,” it’s Australian for character

The science community had a huge win with the Australia Day Honours. Quantum physicist Michelle Simmons from UNSW is Australian of the Year and ANU biophysicist Graham Farquhar Senior Australian of the Year. Of 16 ACs, ten are honoured for work in some form of science. And then there is the usual long list of medical practitioners and scientists in the other categories.

These awards strongly signal STEM and medicine’s standing in the community and it demonstrates that Malcolm Turnbull is still on to something with his innovation agenda – he just has to sell it better. Australians who fear technology will take their children’s jobs switch off when they are told we must innovate or expire economically. But they have great faith in science, especially medical science.

Professor Simmons’ appointment will appeal to everybody who wants to see many more women in science having the opportunity, by right, to make the most of their ability and who love the idea that the Australian character suits science; “our distaste for authority means we think for ourselves. Best of all, we are prepared to give those hard challenges a go. I firmly believe there is nowhere else in the world better to do scientific research and challenge what’s possible,” she said on Thursday night.

As a message to sell science to the community that pays for it this is very hard improve on.

Union having a bob each way at Macquarie U

Enterprise bargaining is on at Macquarie University, although you wouldn’t know it given the absence of the usual rhetoric and rituals of wage negotiations. This is because management and the National Tertiary Education have signed-on to the Fair Work Commission’s New Approaches programme. This can involve FWC brokering meetings between parties to talk through issues and objectives and look for common-solutions rather than start with antagonism and escalate bargaining from there. At Macquarie FWC Deputy President Anna Booth has facilitated meetings on a new enterprise agreement for academics, with discussion of workplace conditions now set to start. However the union is sticking with the traditional approach for the separate general staff agreement.

All the university honours

New Order of Australia recipients with a present higher and further education or research role are below (with apologies to any CMM missed).


Gregory Clark, physicist, ANU

Rhys Jones, aerospace engineering, Monash U

David Kissane, psychiatry, Monash U

Janet McCalman, history, University of Melbourne

Trevor McDougall, oceanography, UNSW

Lewis Mander, organic chemistry, ANU

Jennifer Martin, biochemistry, Griffith U

Ezio Rizzardo, CRC for Polymers

Jeffrey Rosenfeld, neurosurgery, Monash U

Nicholas Talley, gastroenterology, Uni Newcastle

Maree Teeson, substance abuse, UNSW

Roy Thompson, philanthropy, Uni Sunshine Coast


David Ames, psychiatry, Uni of Melbourne

Martin Banwell, synthetic organic chemistry, ANU

Michael Barber, mathematical physics, National Computational Infrastructure

Mark Burry, architecture, Swinburne U

Michael Coper, legal education, Australian Academy of Law

David Coventry, agriculture, Uni of Adelaide

Hugh Davies, geology, Uni of PNG

Creswell Eastman, medicine, Uni of Sydney

Caroline Finch, sports medicine, Federation U

Suzanne Garland, microbiology, Uni of Melbourne

David Handelsman, medicine, Uni of Sydney

Paul Hemming, higher education administration, Federation U

Anthony Holmes, plastic surgery, Uni of Melbourne

Jonathan Kalman, cardio electrophysiology, Uni of Melbourne

Neville King, cognitive and behaviour therapy, Monash U

Marilyn Lake, social sciences, Uni of Melbourne

Russell Lansbury, industrial relations education, Uni of Sydney

Ronald Mitchell, ophthalmology, Uni of Sydney

Ingrid Moses, higher education, Uni of Canberra

Diana O’Halloran, general practice policy, Uni of Sydney, Western Sydney U

David Sinclair, biology of ageing, Uni of NSW

Scott Sloan, geotechnical engineering, Uni of Newcastle

John Turnidge, infectious diseases, Uni of Adelaide

Laurence Walsh, dentistry, UofQ



Catherine Baxter, education administration, TAFE NSW Robin Bedding, etymology, CSIRO, Michael Bellemore, orthopaedic surgery, Uni of Notre Dame Australia, Sydney, Fiona Blyth, pain management, Uni of Sydney, George Braitberg, emergency medicine, Uni of Melbourne, David Branagan, geology, Uni of Sydney, Stephen Burdon, IT, Uni of Sydney, Shelley Burgin, environmental science, Bond U

Neville Carter, legal education, College of Law, Charlotte Champion de Crespigny, drug and alcohol care, Uni of Adelaide, Colin Chilvers, anaesthesia, Uni of Tasmania, Denis Crane, biochemistry and molecular biology, Griffith U, Maya Cranitch, ESL, Catholic Uni of Australia, Colin Creighton, environmental science, Uni of James Cook

Ian Dunn, legal standards and education, La Trobe U

Susan Elliott, academic administration and gastroenterology, Monash U

David Flanagan, chancellor, Murdoch U

Angelos Frangopoulos, broadcast media and higher education, Charles Sturt U

John Grant-Thomson, bio-medical engineering, Uni of Southern Queensland

Peter Haertsch, plastic surgery, Uni of Sydney, Ian Hammond, gynaecological oncology, UWA, Mary Harris, medical education, Australasian College of Health Service Management, Donald Henry, wildlife preservation, Uni of Melbourne, Patricia Hoffie, visual arts, Griffith U

Peshotan Katrak, rehabilitation medicine, UNSW, John Kelly, treatment of melanoma, Monash U, Leonard Kempler, charitable, education and children’s medical foundations, Questacon, Sharad Kumar, cancer and cell biology, UniSA, Noeline Kyle, higher education, QUT

Jennifer Lang, international student recruitment, UNSW

Peter McNicol, anaesthesiology, ANZ College of Anaesthetists, Henrietta Marrie, indigenous cultural heritage, CQU

Frank Oberklaid, paediatrics, Uni of Melbourne, Hayden Opie, sports law, Uni of Melbourne

Morton Rawlin, medical education, Uni of Sydney, Margaret Rose, animal welfare and science research ethics, UNSW, Jennifer Rosevear, music education, Uni of Adelaide, Christopher Russell, agricultural science, Agriculture Institute of Australia

Norman Saunders, neuroscience, Uni of Melbourne, Russell Scott, chemical engineering professional education, Asia-Pacific Confederation of Chemical Engineering, Andrew Shobbrook, chiropractic education, Council on Chiropractic Education Australasia, David Singleton, sustainable urban infrastructure, Swinburne U, Michael Stanford, heath and tertiary education, Curtin U

Jennifer Thomson, medical education, ANU, Grant Townsend, dentistry, Uni Adelaide, Kelvin Trimper, horticulture, Uni SA, Hugh Tyndale-Biscoe, marsupial reproduction, Australian Academy of Science

Mark Umstad, obstetrics, Uni of Melbourne

Robert Vink, neurotrauma, UniSA

Elsina Wainright, international affairs, Uni of Sydney, Anthony Weiss, biotechnology, Uni of Sydney, Barbara Workman, geriatric medicine, Monash U,  Keith Wortley, criminology, Griffith U


William Adam, rural health, Uni of Melbourne, Anthony Avsec, building and construction, QUT, Agnes Baker, genetics, Monash U, Robert Breen, services to indigenous community and military history, Deakin U, Marjorie Cross, doctors in rural areas, ANU, Mark Davies, neurosurgery, UNSW, Sharyn Eaton, chiropractic medicine, CQU, David Green, emergency medicine, Griffith U, David Hunt, maths education, UNSW, Andrew Luck, colorectal surgery, Uni of Adelaide, Tazuko McLaren, education and Australia-Japan relations, Southern Cross U, John Mitchell, philanthropist, ANU, Essie Mutton, education, University of the Third Age, Julia Raid, ophthalmology and overseas aid, Uni of Melbourne, Garry Traynor adult education, Sydney Community College