Picking winners

Innovation and Science Australia proposes government adopt National Missions, “a powerful means to inspire innovators, develop solutions to big problems and generate national passion and pride in innovation and science achievements.” The agency points to the Snowy Mountains Scheme and the Square Kilometre Array as models. Strangely, the NBN isn’t mentioned. Full report downpage.

Nobel Prize for parking

Back in 2015 a parking space at UNSW next to Ian Jacobs’ spot had a sign, “reserved for the Nobel Laureate,” (CMM December 17 2015). Vice Chancellor Jacobs is as good as his word. Nobel Laureate in chemistry Sir Fraser Stoddart reports finding the spot ready for when he takes up his part-time appointment next year.

Slightly more open access from the NHMRC

CMM’s incremental gains correspondent writes the senior medical research funding agency has strengthened open access requirements, just not in a way which will worry big commercial publishers.

The National Health and Medical Research Council  advises it, “now strongly encourages researchers to take reasonable steps to share research data and associated metadata arising from NHMRC supported research.” But otherwise there is nothing new to upset for-profit journal publishers and researchers who like to appear in high-status journals.

Requirements that publications must be open-access within 12 months of release, and related metadata in three months remain unchanged. If a publisher’s “version of record” can’t be used, because of copyright and licensing then peer reviewed and accepted for publication copy passes.

But if an article “is not able to be made openly accessible,” not to worry, “current NHMRC peer-review scoring and eligibility criteria do not take open access levels into account.”

“I’ll see your grad school and raise you an arts faculty”

MIT offers an open access course, “How to win at Texas Hold’em Poker.” A great opportunity for VCs worried how to make do during the feds’ funding freeze

VET lobby backs Business Council options

The peak lobby for private VET is backing the Business Council of Australia proposal for an independent agency to oversee, pricing, funding and providers across all of post compulsory education. “(It) will face considerable ‘push-back’. It is a “courageous” proposal. However, I for one can’t see another way. Federalism seems to be failing us,” Rod Camm from the Australian Council for Private Education and Training says.

ACPET has strongly supported the need to get rid of the government funding silos that distort the decisions students make about their program of study. The current tangle of state, territory and commonwealth funding makes it almost impossible for students to navigate and make good, informed decisions.”

And with state and federal governments focused on costs rather than reform the BCA is in the only policy game in town; “perhaps it is time to build on the Bradley review and develop an agreed way forward. The BCA paper provides a constructive, thoughtful contribution,” Mr Camm suggests.

But it isn’t just government which will need dragging to the table, higher education lobbies see much in the BCA report as a threat to their patch (CMM January 24).

New DVC at UTS

Kate McGrath will become DVC R at UTS in May. Professor McGrath joins from Victoria University of Wellington, where she is vice provost, research.

Coda for Canberra community music

It’s curtains for the ANU’s Music Engagement Programme, which sent School of Music staff out into the community to perform for schools and community groups. The university says it picked up the shortfall last year after the ACT government stopped funding the scheme in July. But the campus branch of the National Tertiary Education Union reports staff are now told that the loss of government money means their jobs will now go. But as to how many, management says, “it does not comment on individual staffing matters.”

UNSW and Melbourne bus schools show the flag on FT top 100 ranking

The Australian Graduate School of Management at UNSW leads the locals in the new Financial Times global MBA ranking, in 63rd place, (up four from 2017). The Melbourne Business School follows at 66 (up from 78). They are the only ANZ schools to make the cut. In contrast, French-Singaporean Insead is second in the world, the China Europe International Business School in Shanghai rates eighth, Hong King University of Science and Technology is 14th, the National University of Singapore is 18th and that country’s Nanyang U is 22nd. The India School of Business is 28th. Another nine Asian business schools rate higher than AGSM.

On the map

Flinders U dean of education Iain Hay has won the American Association of Geographers, Gilbert Grosvenor Honours in Geographic Education. “Dr Hay’s scholarly production has shaped undergraduate geography education and faculty training around the world,” the AAG states.

Super-powers of study

“Want to be the next Oprah Winfrey or Richard Branson? Here are five areas of study that will help make your entrepreneurial dreams a reality,” the University of Sydney, via Twitter, yesterday. The five are; accounting, communications, software engineering, business administration and marketing. They could probably be also useful for people who want to be Wonder Woman or Spider Man.

Better bang for ten billion bucks in innovation investment

Innovation and Science Australia’s strategy for Australia in the “global innovation race” to 2030 recommends addressing emerging workplace needs by tying higher education HELP course costs to employment outcomes and creating VET measures of course relevance and employment by 2022, with the price of courses set to “market demand for skills.”

Among a plethora of other proposals ISA also advocates change in the $3.126bn research and development tax incentive, the largest public innovation outlay in the $10bn innovation spend. ISA states there, “is emerging evidence” that questions the impact of such incentives on productivity growth. The review backs the approach of the 2016 Review of the Three Fs on the tax incentive. ISA calls for a $4m pa cap and a $40m total for R&D tax incentives and it proposes requiring companies to spend 1 per cent of total outlays on R&D before they can use the incentive. Bill Ferris, chair of ISA and Chief Scientist Alan Finkel, who is deputy chair, were two of the three original R&D reviewers.

In other core recommendations ISA calls for a “collaboration premium in the R&DTI, dedicated funding for research-industry research translation, long-term investment in research (notably computational) infrastructure, and a continuing commitment to greater gender diversity” in STEM.

The report also calls for government to commit to “national missions,” “designed to address audacious challenges.” ISA suggests, genomics and precision medicine, followed by preserving the Great Barrier Reef beyond 2030 and “decarbonising an Australian city” by switching an entire gas supply from natural gas to “clean hydrogen”.

Right at home

Pip Nicholson starts as dean of the University of Melbourne law school this week. It shouldn’t take her long to settle in – she took undergraduate and a PhD at the university and has long served in various law school management roles.