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People get research helps us all – the pandemic proved that

But popularity does not set policy and researchers face new challenges of purpose and priorities. Join policy experts and opinion shapers at CMM-Twig Marketing’s on-line conference next week, “What’s next for the people who can save the world.”  Details HERE.

There’s more in the Mail

There’s more in the Mail

In Features this morning

Merlin Crossley (UNSW) asks the question, “do you really need a committee on volcanoes?

plus The National Health and Medical Research Council is considering a change to the risk-benefit section of its human research statement. Adrian Barnett (QUT) explains why he is alarmed, HERE.

with Frank Larkins (Uni Melbourne) explaining that the good times have already rolled for NSW university finances HERE  and James Guthrie on what their annual reports do and don’t reveal HERE

and Verity Firth (UTS) on the Carnegie Commission’s community service standards expanding in Australia, HERE.

More to review at the ARC

Minister Clare announces a review of the Australian Research Council “with a particular focus on the governance framework and reporting mechanisms”. Perhaps  citould review ARCs own reviews  

Labor is committed to fixed dates for funding announcements and Education Minister Jason Clare says, “Labor governments have never interfered to veto grants. The only exception I could ever imagine to that would be on the grounds of national security.” So apart from timeliness and process, what’s left to review?

How about the way the ARC assesses research performance through Excellence in Research for Australia and Engagement and Impact.

The ARC’s recent review of the schemes generated complex arguments over methodology and metrics but there are also suggestions that perhaps their time has passed.

As John Byron put it in CMM (HERE), “would it harm research if we simply gave ERA a rest, and let researchers get on with, you know, researching?” Ditto in spades for EI. Kim Carr called it half-baked from the start (CMM April 1 2019) and there have been always questions about cost effectiveness.

It is too late to do anything about the next ERA, Clarivate was out announcing yesterday it is selected to manage metrics for the 2023 iteration. But EI is still a way off.

Double green for UTS

The International Green Gowns (for sustainability) awards are announced

Winners include, * Deakin U’s Centre for Refugee Employment, Advocacy, Training and Education * UTS -twice for “first plastic-free food court) and an undergraduate industry innovation project,  and * U Tas for its sustainability Integration programme for students

Terrific timing by the Audit Office

All of sudden low SES access to education really counts

 Education Minister Jason Clare wants to see 20 per cent HE participation (it’s around 15 per cent now) by young people from low SES backgrounds (one characteristic of which is rural/remote residence).

Which makes pertinent a potential project for 2022-’23 by the Australian National Audit Office.

In June 2020 the previous government announced $400m over five years for financial and travel support for HE study by rural/remote students. The ANAO is considering having a look at the Department of Education’s “design and implementation” of measures to improve graduation rates.

Judged by independent peers

The Euro open access Plan S coalition has yet another idea to undermine the power of publishers
It’s standard peer-reviewing that is not tied to a journal. Plan S points to six services that already provide.

“High-quality peer review services that are separate and distinct from publication services provide independence from the traditional journal format. They allow for more equitable access to research results by offering a solution to openness for all researchers,” is the argument,

Alan Tudge tries two traps

The former, now shadow, education minister spoke at the Universities Australia conference yesterday

It was a tough platform for Mr Tudge given the new government has not had time to stuff anything up and the last government did not bother to disguise its disdain for universities.

So he looked forward politically by appealing to the past, urging Minister Clare to keep the previous government’s  Job Ready Graduates funding model and its research commercialisation plan.

It may not have been entirely well-intentioned advice.

JRG is a riddle with teeth, trapped in an explosive enigma. Dismantling existing student HECs categories and consequentially varying what the government pays to support a range of UG places would be immensely complex. Without much more money, defusing it could convert existing winners, students and deans both, into losers and the other way around. Mr Clare has said JRG will be considered in the process for the universities accord. The politically easiest outcome there would be for the government to leave things as is and keep blaming the opposition.

As for research commercialisation – the new government may differ on details but Labor ministers appear interested in applied research that generates jobs, much like their predecessors.

But since the election, university leaders are starting to speak up on the importance of pure research. Universities Australia John Dewar raised at the UA conference Wednesday. The challenge for the government is to keep talking about jobs, just not for researchers whose work will not find a ready market.

Appointments, achievements

Of the day

Christen Hill starts as comms manager at Exercise and Sports Science Australia. She moves from Griffith U

Matthew Nicholson becomes interim PVC and interim CEO of Monash U Malaysia. They are internal appointments

Jamie Rossjohn (Monash U) is elected an associate member of the European Molecular Biology Organisation.

Of the week

ANU will “trial a different leadership direction” when Paul Duldig finishes as COO at the end of the month. DVC International Strategy Sally Wheeler will be interim COO. CFO Anna Tsikouris will manage financial ops for the facilities and services division.

Nick Birbilis will become Deakin U’s executive dean of Science, Engineering and Built Environment in September. He is now interim dean of Engineering and Computer Science at ANU, which he leaves in September.

Former Commonwealth chief scientist Ian Chubb heads an independent review of the national carbon credit scheme.

Natalie Edwards tweets she is leaving Uni Adelaide to become head of modern languages at the University of Bristol

Bronwyn Fredericks (PVC Indigenous Education, Uni Queensland) wins the 2022 National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee award for education.

Angie Hendrick (Uni New England) becomes public officer of the Council of Australasian University Directors of Information Technology and remains the Australian member.

Uni Adelaide announces Ashley Hurrell as inaugural ED of the university’s integrity unit. She moves from Victoria’s Department of Education and Training

The International Science Council announce 66 new fellows, including Ruth Fincher (Uni Melbourne) and Marlene Kanga (former chair, World Federation of Engineering Organisations, fellow of the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering).

David Lamb (Food Agility CRC) receives the International Society of Precision Agriculture’s  Precision Agriculture Award.

Charles Lee is leaving Flinders U to become executive dean  of the newly established School of Policy and Global Affairs at City, University of London.

Clifford Lewis (Charles Sturt U) is named a “research hero” by the Market Research Society of the UK. According to MRS “His research focuses on inclusive marketing and research practice focusing on LGBTQIA+ people.”

The Statistical Society of Australia celebrates its Diamond Jubilee with four $5000 fellowships for EMC researchers, Clara Grazian (Uni Sydney) Alysha De Livera (RMIT, Luca Maestrini (ANU) and Nicole De La Mata (Uni Sydney).

Studiosity announces the short list for its 2022 Tracey Bretag Prize for academic integrity initiatives, * Danielle Logan-Fleming and Popi Sotiriadou (Griffith U) * Rick Somers, Sam Cunningham, Sarah Dart, Sheona Thomson, Caslon Chua, Edmund Pickering, (QUT) * Jasmine Thomas with Rian Roux, Renee Desmarchellier, Luke Drury and Daniel Chalker (Uni Southern Queensland) *

Swinburne U announces two new deans. Jim Ogloff is appointed dean of Health Sciences. James Verdon is dean Social Sciences, Media, Film and Education. Both have acted in the roles during selection processes.

Andrew Turpin is the inaugural Lions Curtin Chair in Ophthalmic Big Data at Curtin U. Professor Turpin will move from Uni Melbourne in November.

Uni SA reports Peter Stevens moves from MBA director to director of the new Enterprise Hub.Ruchi Sinha becomes interim MB director.

 Jo White (science director at Sydney’s Royal Botanic Gardens) is new chair of the NSW Smart Sensing Network. She replaces foundation chair Susan Pond.

Rorden Wilkinson is appointed Macquarie U’s DVC Academic. He moves from UNSW where he is PVC Education and Student Experience