Oh, good

“Did you know there’s calcium in broccoli?” Uni Melbourne promotes a research story on micro-nutrients in plant-based diets, via Twitter yesterday

Sweet and Fitzpatrick Fellowships announced

Belinda Medlyn (Western Sydney U) receives the 2019 ARC Georgina Sweet Australian Laureate Fellowship and Lynette Russell (Monash U) the Kathleen Fitzpatrick Laureate Fellowship. The roles provide $100 000 over five years for recipients to “undertake an ambassadorial role to promote women in research.”

The awards follow both women’s research laureate fellowships announced last month (CMM September 13).

There’s more in the Mail

In Features this morning, Erica Southgate (Uni Newcastle) on the coming assessment challenge from AI that can produce credit-level original essays. It’s a new essay in contributing editor Sally Kift’s series on what is needed now in teaching and learning.

And next week James Smith (Menzies School of Health Research-Darwin) on the need for a performance framework for Indigenous HE outcomes.

Minister to ARC: get moving on gender equity

Tehan announces the Australian Research Council to, “consult with the sector regarding three key aims”

The Education Minister says he wants;

*  women to submit 50 per cent of applications from each participating institution for 2023’s Discovery Early Career Researcher Award

* gender parity in the ARC College of Experts by 2023 and on selection advisory committees by 2025

* a public report of the proportion of women included in applications for ARC funding at each institution. (No start date announced).

Mr Tehan says the ARC will produce a discussion paper and consult with the sector. His announcement headlined yesterday’s release of an ARC report on women researchers in the 2015 and 2018 Excellence for Research in Australia (below)

Researchers call for codes of their own  

Submissions to the ANZ research code review (CMM March 25 and June 12) are published

There are 218 public submissions many of which focus on new disciplines that need codes of their own or to end research fields wrongly classified.

One example, which appears to enjoy wide – the widest – support is for at least one two-digit and more four-digit fields of research codes for Australia and New Zealand First Nations research.

No end to the ERA of blokes with top jobs

In 2015 men made up 57 per cent of the research workforce recorded by ERA. It was one per cent less in ERA ‘18

The gender-split is set out in a new Australian Research Council report.

In ERA 18 women accounted for more than half of the workforce in five fields of research and men in 17. The five where women were more numerous were;

* medical and health (52 per cent), * human society (54 per cent), * psychology (58 per cent), * language, comms, culture (58 per cent) and * education (65 per cent).

The top five fields for buckets of blokes were;
* physical sciences and engineering (both 81 per cent), * maths (79 per cent), * computer science (76 per cent) and * earth sciences (74 per cent).

Close to gender balanced fields were; * creative arts-writing and * legal studies.

Demonstrating how women do not reach senior positions, in 2018 there were nearly 9 000 females employed at academic level B and 8 500 men (on head count). However, there were 9 000 male professors and 3000 females. Two-thirds (3 600) of non-academic workers in research are women.

Men also dominate the research-only employment category, with 54 per cent in 2015 and ’18.

Monash scores two new research centres

The government completes a week of research centres announcements with two more

Monash U will host a new ARC Industrial Transformation Training Centre, for cell and tissue engineering technologies in regenerative medicine. Breakthroughs optimistically assumed, will improve medical treatments, “as well as providing new business opportunities” Education Minister Dan Tehan says.

The feds will stump up $5m, with participating organisations kicking-in another $13.2m in cash and kind.

Monash U will also be the base for another ARC training centre, researching green chemistry in manufacturing, which, Mr Tehan thinks, “means another advantage for Australia’s manufacturing industry,” The Commonwealth commits $3.6m with another $7.7, in value from partners.

Tehan’s smart strategy: deliver for researchers

An ally for research: Last month the education minister told a meeting of vice chancellors that he planned to partner with them, to present research, and what it can accomplish, to his cabinet colleagues and the community, “We have the best researchers in the world … yet when it comes to how the general population understands that we have a significant amount of work to do,” (CMM September 2).

He expanded the point a couple of weeks later in the Reps, “researchers in universities around the country carry out research every day on different matters affecting the everyday lives of us all, not only in Australia but also right around the world. Cutting edge research is changing our world dramatically, but the incremental progress of long-term research programs is also vital for many industries, where commercial success comes from being just a cut above the rest,” (September 19).

He was out selling research this week with three (or was it four) announcements of new ARC research centres which he pitched as improving people’s live and making money for all Australians.

If the voters hear him the cabinet will listen when he asks for resources.

Supporting more women in researcher:  In the previous parliament, Mr Tehan commissioned an inquiry into the standing and circumstances of rank and file school teachers (CMM November 16) and this year he was the only state or federal minister CMM knows of who spoke up on Principals Day. As a way of showing he backs the people doing the work it is hard to beat.

He did it again yesterday, saying he wants gender equity on three key ARC outcomes by 2023 and 2025. Certainly, there is a lot more systemic discrimination in research than this will fix – but putting his name to attempts to improve things is a powerful message.

Appointments, achievements

Of the day

 Sandy Evans (UNSW) is inducted into the Graeme Bell Hall of Fame (named for an Australian jazz great, honouring Australian jazz greats). You can hear why when she plays Thursday at Venue 505, Cleveland St, Surry Hills in Sydney. (What, CMM a jazz-head – where did you get that idea?).

Daniel Thomas and Kamala Thriemer are each awarded a $1.25m CSL Centenary Fellowship. Dr Thriemer will “develop and optimise” treatments for virax malaria in South East Asia and Africa. She works at the Menzies School of Health Research in Darwin. Aspro Thomas will use the fellowship to research personalised cancer treatments, at the South Australia Health and Medical Research Institute and Uni Adelaide.

Mining engineer and company director Xiaoling Liu will become QUT’s chancellor next year. Dr Liu will replace Tim Fairfax who stands-down after seven years.

Of the week

The Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences announced 42 new fellows yesterday, the full list is in Thursday’s CMM.

Caroline Duell joins MTP Connect (the federally-funded medtech and pharma growth centre). She is the new comms-events director.

Southern Cross U announces coral reef researcher Dr Daniel Harrison joins its National Marine Science Centre in Coffs Harbour. That’s, Daniel, not Peter, Harrison. Professor Peter is a coral reef researcher at SCU’s Lismore campus. No, they are not related, yes, they plan to collaborate.

Liz Johnson is confirmed as DVC E at Deakin U – she has been acting in the role for 12 months.

Robin Doss (Deakin U) is the Australian Information Security Association’s Cyber Security Researcher of the Year.

John McGrath (Uni Queensland) is awarded the (US) Brain and Behaviour Research Foundation’s Lieber Prize for schizophrenia research.

Jackie Leach Scully joins UNSW as director of its Disability Innovation Institute. She has moved from Newcastle University in the UK.

At Uni Newcastle, Tina Crawford, previously director, people and workforce strategy becomes inaugural director, diversity and inclusion.  

The Australian Academy of Science Medal is awarded to Space Agency head Megan Clark and Peter Yates, chair of the Australian Science Media Centre and the Royal Institution of Australia.

Nic Smith is to be the new provost of QUT, commencing March. He joins from the University of Auckland where he is dean of engineering.

Jane Visvader and Geoffrey Lindeman (Walter and Eliza Hall) win the Brinker award for basic science in breast cancer research from Dallas based, Susan G Korman, “the world’s leading breast cancer organisation.”