VCs invited into the Tehan policy tent

The education minister announces VC membership of two working groups on new research policies

National Priorities and Linkage Fund: The $900m resource is for block grants to universities to increase student internships, increase STEM graduates and employment outcomes and “reward,” “formal research relationships with industries. It will also support “advanced apprenticeships with industry.” CMM wonders if this will build on “higher apprenticeships” pilots in 2016 and the Industry 4.0 apprenticeships offered by the Australian Industry Group and Siemens with Swinburne U (CMM April 11 2019).

Members are:  Attila Brungs (UTS) – chair, with Alex Zelinsky (Uni Newcastle), Brian Schmidt (ANU), Helen Bartlett (now Federation U, about to be Uni Sunshine Coast), David Lloyd (Uni SA), Barney Glover (Western Sydney U), Eeva Leinonen (Murdoch U) and, Deborah Terry (now Curtin U, about to be Uni Queensland).

Research Sustainability:  This is the one that will matter most to uni leaders who would sell the souls of research office staff for a bump up the Leiden Ranking.

The group’s brief is to, “to frame the issue and take initial soundings of possible directions,” for “a sustainable pipeline of funding for research.”

Members are: Deborah Terry (chair), Margaret Sheil (QUT), Duncan Maskell (Uni Melbourne), Ian Jacobs (UNSW), Rufus Black (U Tas), Simon Maddocks (Charles Darwin U), Margaret Gardner (Monash U), Attila Brungs (UTS)

Why them:  Professor Terry gets guernseys on both as chair of Universities Australia. Professor Brungs is chair of the Australian Technology Network.

All five established and continuing Group of Eight VCs are involved, Michael Spence (Uni Sydney) leaves for the UK at year end, Mike Brooks (Uni Adelaide) is acting and Amit Chakma (UWA) starts this month.

In addition to Professor Brungs, the ATN is represented by David Lloyd.

Members of the Innovative Research Universities group are Barney Glover, Eeva Leinonen and Simon Maddocks. Professor Bartlett is from the Regional Universities Network.

CMM suspects independents Margaret Sheil and Rufus Black are there as policy astute representatives of HE as a whole.

What Dan’s doing:  Mr Tehan’s MO is to get university leaders into the policy tent. ““Every review, every piece of work which is being done currently is being led by the sector. And I want to make sure that continues because if we can build that partnership I believe we will be able to make the necessary reforms that we need to set higher education for the 2020s,” he said last year.

And he also said then what he is asking VCs to work on now, “greater linkages between universities and industry research and employment.”

And if these are achieved, well; “if I can put a compelling case to my colleagues that we are absolutely instrumental in driving productivity in this nation for the next decade then I think that we can get the support that we need to grow the sector,” (CMM September 2 2019).