Physicists warn: new funding model penalises unis that invest more in student education

The Australian Institute of Physics warns the government’s proposed funding undergraduate funding model is bad for teaching and research

Its submission to the draft bill is supported by the Astronomical Society of Australia and includes specific concerns with funding allocations, including:

* physics departments “will not be able to absorb” a 16 per cent decrease in funding per EFT, “without a substantial loss of quality of physics education”

*  funding for teaching and research should not be separated; “students taught by active researchers are intimately connected and thus inspired by the forefront of the scientific discoveries. Researchers who teach are grounded by the daily reality of the student experience and motivated to make their research more accessible.”

*  The Institute also argues the Deloitte study of teaching costs is not fit for the purpose of establishing funding for student places in physics. “It is currently not clear that the cost of degrees which have been averaged are really like-for-like. We risk penalising institutions that currently invest more in student education. … in our view, the study does not address in sufficient depth the degree to which a research environment is, in physics, crucial for the success of the teaching environment (and hence needs to be co-funded) and the notion of  “efficiency” does not appear to be informed by pedagogical evidence in relation to the educational efficacy of the various education delivery modes.”

Consultants Deloitte Access surveyed teaching costs at 32 universities for 2019. While the report acknowledges limitations in its findings, the report was used by government to established proposed new funding rates for teaching. (Vin Massaro critically considered it for CMM on July 15,/here ).