No faulting CQU for optimism

“Applications are now open for the A$15,000 Destination Australia Scholarship plus you’ll be eligible for a further 25 per cent International Student Scholarship, CQU tweets, yesterday. They are for study at the Rockhampton and Cairns campuses, which are less hard than impossible for international students to reach just now. Applications close Monday week.

There’s more in the Mail

Merlin Crossley is delighted President Biden is taking science seriously.

Last month Michael Tomlinson set out the rationale for the new Higher Education Category Standards (CMM December 6), “The names of the roses.”  Now he explains what the standards mean for applicants.

Andrea Simpson and Kim Alley (both La Trobe U) warn that cultural safety for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island students can be over-looked in the rush to take education on-line. It’s the first 2021 contribution to Contributing Editor Sally Kift’s long-running series on what is needed now in teaching and learning.

Keeping unis safe from spying needs a national effort (that, and more money)

Australia’s on-line enemies are “increasingly sophisticated, well-resourced and constantly changing their tactics, the Council of Australasian University Directors of IT warns

In a submission to the parliamentary committee on intel inquiry into foreign interference in universities CAUDIT calls for a united national effort, “only through strength in unity, scale and efficiency do we have a chance to mature the Australian cybersecurity landscape to address the challenges.”

However, CAUDIT warns that while “a significant momentum shift” has occurred over the last two years, COVID-19 caused costs and revenue loss “present challenges in continuing to invest in cybersecurity.” The council recommends the government “incentive investment in cyber across the HE sector to underpin cybersecurity obligations.”

ANU advises from experience

While ANU addresses the danger of human actors, its submission also addresses how it deals with cyber-security risk – acknowledging it knows a bit about this, following the “data breaches” of 2018, (CMM June 5 2019).

In common with other university submissions, ANU recommends government “support and invest” in the University Foreign Interference Taskforce, “to maintain and evolve Australia’s higher education and research response to foreign interference.” And it warns that in combination, various security laws applying to universities, “may duplicate effort, unduly tie up resources and ultimately not deliver the desired outcome.”

The research that really rated in 2020

Eddie Holmes (Uni Sydney) co-authored an article with a mass, a mass, of media coverage in 2020

Data analyst Altmetrics tracked coverage of journal articles across social and legacy media in 2020 to identify the research that attracted attention outside the lab.

Seven of the top ten papers were about the pandemic, including the New England Journal of Medicine, calling the Trump Administration “dangerously incompetent,” for its handling of COVID-19.

The other three are an article on the possibility of microbial life on Venus (sixth), a toilet that analyses excreta for signs of disease (seventh), a retracted article on the outcome of women scientists mentoring younger women colleagues (ninth).

The number one article, by five researchers, including Professor Holmes, was published in Nature Medicine in March. The authors analysed genomic data to conclude COVID-19, “is not a laboratory construct or a purposefully manipulated virus.”

Dirk Mulder on pandemic pricing for off-shore enrolments


Universities normally don’t like to discount course fees – but nothing is normal now

The international education community struggled all last year with the question of whether universities should, let alone, could, charge international students studying off-shore the rate for an on-campus degree.

But for some universities, the question now seems settled with several introducing big scholarship schemes, apparently to help build on-line commencements while the borders stay shut.

Murdoch University has announced a 40 per cent fee reduction, via its Online International Welcome Scholarship – for those who study on-line, off-shore. Once the borders open and students are on campus the scholarship will convert to an on-campus offer, which may also include subsidies for on-site living expenses.

Griffith University also has a scholarship suite. The most lucrative being a 50 per cent fee reduction, however it is conditional on a GPA requirement.

Macquarie University presents a more tailored approach to scholarships via a searchable database using criteria of country of residence, area of study and level of study. From what CMM can ascertain, it appears there are a series of blanket scholarships depending on where in the world the student is from. The most lucrative offer is the “South Asia Scholarship” valued at A$10k per year.

Universities, as a learned reader points out, have form on discounting. While universities want to stick to their guns on headline pricing, several that do, offer degrees via on-line partners such as Open Universities Australia for a much lower fee.

Whether the new COVID-19 price cuts prove popular and are picked up by other institutions will depend on how long universities expect Australia’s borders stay closed. And how long they are prepared to hold their nerve on pre-pandemic pricing.

Dirk Mulder is CMM’s international education correspondent


Appointments, achievements

Of the day

 Béatrice Bijon and Martin Thomas (both ANU) are appointed co-directors of the Menzies Australia Institute at Kings College London

 The Forrest Research Foundation announces PhD research scholarships for; Thalles Araujo (oceanography) and Matthew Heydenrych (using DNA biomarkers with wild species) at UWA. Nish Tyagi is funded to develop rehabilitation after spinal cord injuries, at Edith Cowan U. At Curtin U, Liyuwork Mitiku Dana will work on food insecurity and Tyrone O’Doherty will study black holes in the Milky Way.

Jamie Craig and Owen Siggs (both Flinders U) win the 2012 Epstein Award from the (US) Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology.  They will use the US $100 00 prize for their basic genetic test for glaucoma.

Chris Tisdell (UNSW) becomes VP, Education at the Australian Mathematical Society.

Of the week

Kylie Boltin is the Uni Queensland Library 2021 creative writing fellow.

Nina Fotinatos is now dean for learning and teaching at Federation U.

The Journal of Proteome Research (proteins in an organism – CMM looked it up) announces its take on the field’s rising stars.  Among the 40 are, Nicola Gray (Murdoch U), Benjamin Parker (Uni Melbourne), Nichollas Scott (Uni Melbourne) and Luke Whiley (Murdoch U).

Amala Groom and Sidney McMahon are the inaugural UTS artists in residence.

MS Research Australia announces 2021 grants to, * Jacqueline Orian (La Trobe U) * Jonathon Baell (Monash U) * Brad Sutherland (Uni Tas) * Mastura Monif (La Trobe U) * Yvonne Learmonth (Murdoch U) * Phu Hoang (Neuroscience Research Aus) * Anne Bruestle (ANU) * Lucinda Black (Curtin U) * Anthony Don (Uni Sydney) * Charles Malpas (Uni Melbourne) * Vivienne Guan (Uni Wollongong) * Claudia Marck (Uni Melbourne) * Lisa Grech (Monash U) * Malini Visweswaran (St Vincent’s Centre of Applied MR, (NSW) ), Rodney Scott (Uni Newcastle) * Ali Afrasiabi (Uni Sydney) * Marzena Pedrini (Murdoch U) * Kalina Makowiecki (Menzies Institute for MR (Tas) * Anneke Van Der Walt (Monash U) * Laurence Macia (Uni Sydney)

Melissa Roughley moves from UNSW to be director of student administration services at Uni Sydney.

Kelly Smith is appointed PVC International at Murdoch U, “after an internal recruitment process.” He has acted in the role since last April.