Just in at the no harm in asking desk

“Government investment in the medical research endowment account since 2019 has increased 1.8 per cent, yet average Ideas Grant size has gone up 17 per cent. Time to double the National Health and Medical Research Council budget or things can only get worse.” The Australian Society for Medical Research, via Twitter yesterday.

There’s more in the Mail

In Features this morning

James Guthrie (Macquarie U) sets out the seven gaps between university managements’ rhetoric on the state of finances and the very different realities

Plus, Robert Vanderburg and Michael Cowling (both CQU) on what to expect if there are no lectures, “apathetic students staring at screens or refusing to attend on-line classes lacking humans, a reduction of the hidden curriculum developed by human interactive learning experiences: respecting authority, respect for other students’ opinions, punctuality, aspiring to achieve, and having a work ethic.” This week’s selection by Commissioning Editor Sally Kift for her celebrated series, Needed now in teaching and learning.

And Merlin Crossley (UNSW), makes the case for science comms and the good that comes from getting the word out

Pay day data delayed reveals how grads did

A new analysis of graduate income data is less a lagging than late indicator

A report on graduate earnings, released Friday, is based on Australian Tax Office records for the higher education loan programme from 2017-18 and examining records one, five and nine years prior.

It appears the timing is due to 2018 data being the latest the ATO would release to education department officers.

This means the big experience shaper for graduates tracked was the GFC, making the numbers interesting but not especially helpful for HE planners working on what t do (hopefully) post pandemic.

Although, the data is from times-past much seems likely to remain relevant, if unsurprising, to contemporary experience, such as;

* graduates with the highest earnings one-two years out were in medicine, dentistry, teaching, engineering and nursing

* lowest earnings were in science and maths (most likely to still be studying)

* combined generalist degrees are positive for earnings, but vocational degrees aren’t

* graduates with lower initial incomes catch-up

And in a repeat of regular news for institutions which use straight out of uni income figures in promotion, the new report states, that distance providers do well, because many of their students, “typically have an ongoing relationship with an employer while studying which confers a ‘head start’ in the labour market upon graduation resulting in higher incomes immediately following graduation.” In contrast graduates with lowest early incomes are often undertaking further study.”

La Trobe U nutrition slims down

The Department of Dietetics, Human Nutrition and Sport is losing people

On Friday Dean of Allied Health Russell Hoye, “reluctantly accepted” the resignation of nutrition and dietetics lead Adrienne Forsyth, who is moving to ACU. It follows the resignations of four senior teaching and research staff (three PhD qualified) in late October. That’s a quarter of the teaching-research staff gone or going.

Uni Newcastle extends access

There will be new pathways to degrees next year

The university will teach pre-degree diplomas, with completion guaranteeing entry into “a selection” of UG degrees, with credit.

Starting next year there will be diplomas in arts-social sciences, biz, engineering, built environment, science and environmental science, IT and education.

The diplomas include first year subjects and “supported pathway courses.” They are offered in combinations of in-person on-campus, on-line and blended study.

The university states there are entry requirements, but “required selection ranks” are lower than for degrees and there are alternatives to the ATAR.

The diplomas are on-load, qualify for HELP and will be taught by Uni Newcastle staff.

They add to the university’s suite of pathway programmes, presumably to meet a need for access to HE for people uncomfortable with the prospect of diving straight into a degree. Uni Newcastle has long been big in enabling programmes, access and equity.

Hot new courses

Got a nuclear engineering syllabus encased in concrete? The government wants you to get it out

“We need to really start growing our human capability … our education sector is a critical part of getting our country ready for nuclear submarines. We are not just talking about nuclear submarines. There is a lot of intellectual property that is going to be shared with us, which has implications not just for the military but for industry the education sector, even our health sector … This brings very significant opportunities for young Australians. Assistant Health Minister Andrew Hastie, Sky News, Friday night.  Assuming many young Australians will sign-up for courses.

Peak lobby’s smart sell for science and tech

Science and Technology Australia occupies the policy high-ground on applied research investment ahead of a report to the federal government on translational funding

In the lead-up to next year’s federal election the lobby calls on political parties to commit to investing in a $2.4bn research translation fund.

The ask also includes:

* “boosting investment in the major grant agencies to “catapult breakthroughs” (that’s “catapult” as in the UK research translation programme)

* index funding for national science agencies by CPI

* government addressing “the broken system of insecure work” that occurs with employment tied to competitive research grants.

Great timing, start politics: STA’s proposal sets a context for the report on a research translation strategy, commissioned a year back by former education minister Dan Tehan. His successor Alan Tudge, a minister who likes to shake policies up, may welcome new ideas from STA if the translation plan does not come with anything bold.

STA also continues to capitalise on community support for science in pandemic-time. As Chief Executive Misha Shubert put it, in STA’s budget-bid, “with the crucial role of science front and centre in the public mind, it’s time to secure the science capabilities we need to face the crisis after COVID – and the ones after that.”

“As we come out of the pandemic, we have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to enable science and technology to boost our economy, secure Australia’s intellectual property rights, and prepare us for whatever crisis comes next,” (CMM February 23).

It’s a message that STA is well placed to deliver to the present government, what with science and technology being considered as job-generators and the lobby being independent of universities – which are not exactly top or even bottom, of the pops with the Morrison Government.

Close to good new for international education in Perth

The WA Government says the state could open to double vaxxed foreigners (and people from overseas as well) in February

The news was greeted warmly among the state’s international education industry, finally giving them something to sell. Like StudyPerth, which followed the government announcement with a pitch as much on employment as education, pointing to the state’s strong economy, “so, international students arriving in Perth in 2022 will enjoy unprecedented opportunities to gain meaningful employment while studying and then great prospects for their career or business.”

It should be good news for UWA, which has a pathway college launching in second semester, in partnership with private provider INTO (CMM October 5). The prospect of international students on campus from February give the partners something to sell.


Appointment, Achievements

The Australasian Research Management Society announces its 2021 awards, * Gayle Morris (Australian Institute of Business) – distinguished service * Lisa van den Berg (QUT) – research management * Daniel Barr (RMIT) – research management

The Autism Cooperative Research Centre research awards go to, * Sandra Jones (Australian Catholic U) – research into practice. * Trevor Clark (Autism Spectrum Australia) * Samuel Arnold and Julianne Higgins (both UNSW) – inclusive research practice.

Hilary Charlesworth (ANU) is elected a judge of the International Court of Justice.

 The Hunter Medical Research Institute announces its researchers of the year * research excellence: Michael Breakspear * early career: Nicole Nathan * mid-career: Vanessa McDonald

 James Cook U remote pharmacy academic Selina Taylor is the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia’s Queensland pharmacist of the year.