Over it all and out

Those hurrying steps you hear is CMM making for the exit. Back, if the fates allow, 23rd of January. Thanks for reading.

Big pitch to the ARC review

“We urge the Review Panel and the minister not to miss their moment in history … “

“the single most imperative issue that Australia must fix is the chronic job insecurity we inflict on too many of our nation’s brilliant scientists and researchers” Science and Technology Australia  submission to the Sheil review of the Australian Research Council, (scroll down).

There’s more in the Mail

In Features this morning

Invigilated exams are not all that Merlin Crossley cracks them up to be argue Raoul Mulder and Sarah French, (Uni Melbourne, Centre for the Study of Higher Education). They make the contra case, HERE.

Thanks to them and all the other contributors to CMM this year – it’s been way better for you writing

Enjoy the win while it lasts at Western Sydney U

WSU announces its Graduate Certificate in Researcher Engagement wins a top teaching excellence award. Delay not your heaps of huzzahs

Because the course is for the chop.

WSU advises the GCRE will be taught-out in ’23, with the university moving to a micro credential in researcher development and training for all HDR candidates in ’24. This, the university advises, is “consistent with sector-wide best practice.”

“It’s never wise to attract attention by winning awards” a learned reader observes. “Innovation is all well and good but somebody will always complain that it is not core teaching.”

UTS and unions close to a big deal

Management and unions “have largely reached in-principle agreement on most provisions in the draft agreement” Provost Vicki Chen told staff last night

Terms include improvements in staff conditions, notably the creation of 110 continuing positions for academic casuals under a new enterprise agreement.

The university also offers three headline pay rises totalling 11 per cent over ’23-25. However UTS observers suggest that when administrative pay rises already awarded are included the total increase over the notional period of the new agreement is over 14 per cent.

But even the to-come increase is a significant increase which other big-city universities will have little choice but to meet.

Professor Chen says “there is more work to complete” before there is a proposal to put to staff and the unions (National Tertiary Education Union and Community and Public Sector U) are said to still have demands. However the Provost told the UTS community last night she “appreciated the constructive engagement from both unions,” which rather sounds like the serious arguing is over.


Ways through the research policy weeds

The Group of Eight’s submission to the Sheil Review of the Australian Research Council calls (among a bunch of other things) for,

* The ARC Act to “explicitly articulate” it’s role in “supporting basic research” specifically, “provide for the funding of research programmes that support pure basic research, strategic basic research and applied research. Plus provide an “explicit commitment” to basic research by legislating the funding balance between it and applied research

* as a minimum, a legislated requirement on ministerial use of a veto on research grants

* individual projects funded following evaluation by experts, “and not directly by a government department or minister”

* an end to Excellence for Research in Australia, “it provides a rating of excellence without reporting the volume of research being undertaken at that excellence rating.” Research capability mapping and quality assessment “sit more properly” with the Universities Accord, now underway.

* “a greater variety of expertise” in the ARC to cover important and emerging fields.

Science and Technology Australia has 33 recommendations, including

* enshrining basic research, with a mandated 60 per cent of funding for the Discovery programme

* Discovery grants to cover all costs, with five years standard

* “enshrine the importance of expert peer review in legislation”

* reviewers serve for up to four years and are “compensated fairly”

* comms training so grant recipients can “deepen the impact and visibility of ARC-funded research”

* success parity between men and women extends “to more granular discipline levels”

* ARC to report “additional diversity measures for fellows and chief investigators,” including, “ethnicity,” “geography and regionality” and career interruptions

* ARC to create “a significantly less burdensome research excellence process


More rooms someone else owns for internationals in WA

The state government has a media campaign encouraging homeowners to host international students

“Providing safe and affordable housing for international students is essential to the growth of the sector,” the government states.

Presumably the government had thought of the need for beds when they decided to give education agents $10m to promote the state (CMM September 16).

New PhDs to push the economic pace

There’s a new (as in original and with new money, programme) – with 1300 places over the decade

It comes from the previous government’s research commercialisation plan, which Labor in opposition indicated it would adopt and is now delivering in detail (CMM December 2).

The PhD part has two streams, for university-based researchers who do industry placements and for others who combine work and part-time study.

Both are about research that translates “into commercial outcomes”.  Which universities and officials may not notice under a neon sign, flashing, “patentable profit this way.”  And so the government has passed the project to expert providers.

Research commercialisation consultants Campus Plus (it “assists universities across the research commercialisation lifecycle”) leads the project. Cruxes Innovation provides training for researchers to connect with industry.

And Science and Technology Australia, deliver comms and outreach, “drawing on its deep connections across the research sector.”

The programme is a win for STA, which has campaigned for a “bench to boardroom training programme.”