Source on open textbooks

In California there’s a programme for community colleges to create free textbooks – so what’s happening here?

Samara Rowling (Uni Southern Queensland) is finding out, writing a thesis on open textbooks in Australia . She has a survey asking who is doing what where here.


There’s more in the Mail

In Features this morning

“It is a prime national interest – of all nations – that politicians, the masters of the here and now, avoid interfering with research,” Ofer Gal (Uni Sydney) on the dangers of the government’s National Interest Test.

Plus Margaret Lloyd (QUT) on how she became one of “those” mature-age students. This week’s selection by Commissioning Editor Sally Kift’s celebrated series, Needed now in teaching and learning

New research system “a culture change” for universities

The new model is about command, control and cash

“Universities will be directly challenged to respond to research opportunities that are specific, measurable, focused on industry needs and driven by explicit national goals, the University Research Commercialisation Plan, released yesterday, states.

The long-awaited document adds, the challenge “will drive a culture change within the higher education sector, through a focus on translation and outcomes rather than the dominant model of ‘publish or perish’.”

While the research translation process to be introduced under the $1.6bn Australia’s Economic Accelerator has dominated discussion, the new system includes changes for the way universities manage research.

Early-stage projects funded by Accelerator will have a priority manager expert in the relevant National Research Priority (resources and critical minerals, food and beverage, medical products, recycling and clean energy, defence, plus space).

They will report to an eight-member board advising the education minister.

The advisors and board will “foster and formalise connections with industry partners” and “provide coaching support to researchers who might benefit from an improved understanding of the commercial environment.”

The new model also requires changes to existing research funding and governance.

“Reforms to the core funding for university research and the grants process managed by the Australian Research Council will boost incentives for university–industry collaboration and drive a new focus on the national interest,” the plan states.

They include;

* “adjust $2 billion in existing university research funding to better incentivise commercialisation”

* encourage universities to align researcher remuneration and promotion to research commercialisation outcomes.

* “reforms to the core funding for university research and the grants process managed by the Australian Research Council will boost incentives for university–industry collaboration and drive a new focus on the national interest,”

* ARC funding will be focused by measures announced by Acting Education Minister Stuart Robert in December, notably, “application of a strong national interest test and assessment process to all research grants,” industry representation on the ARC College of Experts, 70 per cent of Linkage Grants allocated to National Manufacturing Priorities projects and “robust assessment of the quality and impact of research” in the ARC’s two research performance reviews

*  “refinements” to the Research Block Grants process to “support incentives for industry engagement”.

The plan acknowledges, “basic research is an essential part of the knowledge spectrum on which commercialised or translated products and outputs depend” but wants it to serve an applied purpose, “there is scope to drive a greater share of research funding to the translational phases of the technology readiness level scale to support research with

Live and in-person at Uni Adelaide

The university announced late yesterday O-week (starting Feb 21) will be on campus and First Semester classes which follow will  be “face to face”

The decisions were made, “under advice from SA Health and our own public health experts.”

“Support will continue for students who are not in Adelaide or unable to attend in person due to health reasons.”

The university calls for people on campus “to observe social distancing” use QR codes and wear masks. There was no mention of mandatory vax yesterday.

Slow start to standardising IP

This research translation stuff can be harder than it appears in strategy docs

In July the feds convened intellectual property experts to advise on a standard IP framework for collaborating universities and business, (CMM July 5, September 22). But what the experts arrived at did not go down well with peak research lobbies (CMM October 22) and so the brief for the trailblazer research programme included a requirement for “innovative IP arrangements.,” (CMM November 26).

But now there is a Higher Education Research Commercialisation IP Framework, in the government’s new model, which sounds bigger than it is, “The framework provides standardised IP licensing and contractual agreements as well as education and guidance materials to establish a common and clear starting point to negotiations.

And it’s not going anywhere fast. According to the research accelerator plan, the IP Framework, “will initially be applied for a limited set of publicly funded research grants and programs with future expansion to be considered over time.”

Appointments, achievements

Australian Institute of Physics awards go to, * Walter Boas Medal (research), Howard Wiseman-Griffith U * Bragg Medal (PhD thesis), Timothy Gray-ANU * Laby Medal (masters/hons thesis)-Ethan Payne (Monash U) * Outstanding service, Bruce McKellar (Uni Melbourne), Marc Duldig (Uni Tas).  Katarina Miljkovic (Curtin U) is the 2022 women in physics lecturer.

The Australian Pancreatic Cancer Foundation announces $500 000 total grants to research teams led by Claudine Bonder (SA Pathology and Uni SA’s Centre for Cancer Biology), Marco Falasca Curtin U), Chamini Perera (UNSW), John Rasko (Uni Sydney) and Anubhav Mittal (Uni Sydney)

Natalie Ellisdon is confirmed as La Trobe U’s Chief Marketing Officer. She has been acting since last March. Prior to that she was RMIT marketing director.

As of April Vicki Flood will lead Uni Sydney’s Northern Rivers Rural Clinical School, replacing Ross Bailie who moves to research. Professor Flood is an internal appointment.

IDP announces Matt Toohey is its new Chief Information Officer. He joins from all digital ME Bank. Jeremy Mocek becomes head of technology and innovation for the company’s International English Language Testing System business. His is an internal appointment.

The Royal Australasian College of Physicians presents its Susman Prize (internal medicine) to Flavia Cicuttini and Stephen Nicholls (both Monash U).