Cyber tricks: an oldie but a baddie threatens ANU

 ANU’s CyberSense Team advises the university “is still a target for phishing.”  “Over the past week, we have had many members of our community targeted by cyber threat actors.” The team points to scams asking people to log-on their details to view what are presented as university documents.

Surely this could only work on staff and students who joined after the great ANU hack, which used a similar approach, was discovered two years back (CMM June 5 2019).

Maybe not. A year back researchers found ANU students were most likely to open phishing emails which were presented as being about exam timetables (CMM February 18 2020).

Teaching: what works on and off campus is different

In Features this morning, two different takes on teaching in the COVID-19 present and future

Lyndon Megaritty makes the case for keeping the live, in-person lecture. “Learning is better and more effective when everybody is ‘present’ in the room, feels part of the one group, and the teacher can respond to the moods, preferences and questions from the class.”

And Rhiannon Lee White (Western Sydney U) reports on the opportunities COVID-19 created. “the way we teach on campus and the way we teach on-line are not the same. Instead, we need flexibility; flexibility to create the best learning experiences, whatever they may be, however long they go for, and via whatever mode or platform works best for each activity.”

The search for signs in the research translation skies

The government has legislation in the parliament to change the name of  advisory board, Innovation and Science Australia to Industry, Innovation and Science Australia – it matters (CMM Friday).

“This change reflects the Morrison government’s acknowledgement of the critical role of innovation and, more importantly science and it reminds us what science is truly about: knowing more, so that innovation can prevail in the products that can be consumed by the general populace that increase efficiency and quality of life for all. For this, there must be clear links between science, innovation and industry, and this bill allows and, in fact, encourages and fosters those links,” Katie Allen (Lib-Vic) told the House of Reps.

She went on to say nice things about the “highly successful” Cooperative Research Centre programme, which will have cheered its supporters up.

But friends of the (sort of similar) Industry Growth Centres will have had fears in circulation added to by comments from Ed Husic (Labor NSW) who suggested that the government will not release a favourable report on the programme, “because it runs counter to their ambition, or should I say their game plan, for those growth centres. They want to kill those growth centres off.” Mr Husic suggested that the government wants to take money from the IGS and, “put it into a grant programme so they can then spend in a way that they think works for their political interest.”

CMM has no clue about this – but Mr Husic is right that the government is sitting on the ACIL Allens report into the IGCs (CMM May 10).

All this matters, because the government’s big innovation idea is a programme to fund translating research into products and services on the market (CMM March 2) which will need funding. Jeff Connolly (Siemens) chairs a working party developing possible mechanisms to do it – which could be good, or bad, for existing industry-related research programmes, like the IGS and the CRCs and perhaps Australian Research Council schemes.

As the ARC reminds researchers in the new “action plan” for its Engagement and Impact metric, the first objective is, “to promote better practice engagement with, and translation of research into benefits for, end-users and the Australian community more broadly.”

NHMRC provides more of not much for women chief investigators

Senior women researchers have had a better year to date than men in National Health and Medical Research Council grants – but that is not saying much

NHMRC stats show women Chief Investigators have a funding rate of 14.4 per cent for competitive grants, compared to 7.9 per cent for men so far this year. The overall success rate is 10.6 per cent.

All up, the NHMRC has provided $95.8m for 51 competitive grant projects, from 480 applications.

This is before the big Discovery programme is announced, which may change things, but probably only around the edges. Last year women Chief Investigators had a 13 per cent success rate for all competitive grants ($310m).

The price of research open access

For-profit journal publisher Emerald announces a seminar to consider whether “research output fit for the future”

“For research to drive change, it needs to be accessible and engaging for those both inside and outside of academia,” the blurb observes, setting the question “what are the challenges that could stand in the way of change within the research ecosystem?”

“The $US 3370 Emerald charges for green open access to an article in one of its journals comes to mind,” a learned reader suggests.

Journal giant Taylor and Francis also wants to help researchers report their work, by publishing open access

“OA makes published academic research freely and permanently available on-line., it explains.  The publisher’s article processing charges range from US$600 to US$4800.

Dolt of the day


Friday’s email edition described RMIT’s Dionne Higgins as RMIT’s CFO. She is COO.

Appointments, achievements

Sarah Holland-Batt (QUT) is the 2021 Writer in Residence at Uni Sydney’s Charles Perkins Centre (“committed to improving global health”).

At Uni Melbourne Karen Farquharson moves from head of school at Social and Political Sciences to VP Academic Board

Cecily Rawlinson is appointed head of the WA Australian Cyber Innovation Hub, based at Edith Cowan U. She joins from Curtin U.