There’s always hope

The Academy of the Humanities tweets on the budget, yesterday

“It’s discouraging to see little recognition … of the importance of fundamental research for social and cultural good, and support more broadly for the nation’s cultural resilience and wellbeing through investment in infrastructure & institutions.

“We call on the next government to harness the power of the humanities, cultural and arts sectors to contribute to a thriving society and economy, a workforce for the future & to nourish the nation at a time of great need.”

There’s more in the Mail

In Features this morning

Sean Brawley (Uni Wollongong) on metrics for HASS research assessment. “Data from the 2018 (ERA) exercise clearly demonstrates the advantage of being in a metric driven rather than a peer review driven discipline,” he suggests.

plus the successful switch to on-line teaching and learning during COVID was not luck – it depended on the skills of third-space practitioners,  the learning designers, academic developers and educational technologists who had built the foundations for the transformation. Sally Kift and Colin Simpson set the scene for a discussion of a new book in how it happened.

with Merlin Crossley (UNSW) on knowing there will always be unknowns and why it’s better than believing anybody has all the answers.

and  Tim Winkler (Tim Winkler) worries uni websites look like they did in 2019 – which is a big opportunity lost.

Westward ho for Victor Chang

The cardiac research institute formalises its relationship with UWA

Its VCCRI’s second university affiliation, after the long standing relationship with UNSW. Not that UWA and the Institute are new to each other, partnering on research since 2013 and launching a joint centre, led by Livia Hool last year (CMM September 13). She is now joined by Lee Nedkoff, who leads a second lab for the partners.

Senate report: another scathing assessment of uni managements

The Senate Economic References Committee reports on “unlawful underpayment of employees’ remuneration

The report, published yesterday reinforces claims re universities made in evidence and submissions to this and other Senate committees, (for example, CMM February 23, October 21, March 10 2021, ),

This report sums everything up;

“evidence received by the committee suggested that, in general, universities are unwilling—or at best slow—to take action to reduce underpayments and improve the working conditions of staff, making a mockery of platitudes offered by university management.”

This is more bad news for HE managements whose reputations are hammered by years of reports of underpaying staff.

What is worse are some of the Committee’s recommendations, which are intended to apply across the economy, would have a specific impact on universities. Like criminalising “wage theft” to include loadings and penalty rates, areas where universities have got payments wrong. And looking at allowing “employee representatives that hold ‘right of entry’ permits, “inspect and investigate potential underpayments across workplaces.”

Getting OA a bad name

Are article processing charges still a thing?

APCs came up this week when an academic reported a journal wanting $2500 from him to publish a four-page letter. They are a way for publishers to make money from research they don’t pay to publish when they can’t charge people to read it

It’s enough to get open access a bad name but APCs don’t apply for people who work at members of the Council of Australian University of Librarians.

CAUL has reached a range of agreements with publishers large and small so that the costs of reading and publishing are covered by a university’s subscriptions.

Now with red cyber spice

There’s $9.9bn in the budget for the low-profile, high-impact Australian Signals Directorate to spend on “Resilience, Effects, Defence, Space, Intelligence, Cyber and Enablers,”  excellently acronymed as REDSPICE

Apparently the money over ten years means “significant opportunities” for industry and will “support new employment pathways through partnerships with educational institutions.”

“What”, a learned reader asks, like the $230m Cyber Security Strategy, launched in 2016?  This included $1.9m over four years for  “academic centres of cyber security excellence programme” at Uni Melbourne and Edith Cowan U, (which also won hosting-rights for the Cyber-Security CRC in 2018).

The academic centres programme expired last year, so REDSPICE is hot stuff. Uni Melbourne’s Christopher Leckie says “an active stream of students in cyber security” is currently completing masters. Maybe DSD will want more.

Uni Melbourne wraps “Believe”

The campaign closes with $1bn banked

The fund raiser started in 2008 and went public in 2013. It follows Uni Sydney which reached $1bn with its “Inspired” campaign in 2019.

Great timing for CRCs

A not bad budget for the cooperative research centre programme

It’s set for $970m across the forward estimates which observers say is ok.

It could have been way worse. Discussions around the development of the government’s research accelerator plan last year did not include regular ringing references to the CRCS – the work of which is about as applied as research gets. And the accelerator itself is big on funding university-based researchers and connecting them to business development experts, working for a board reporting to the education minister (CMM February 3).

This is a-ways away from the stand-alone, left to get on with it CRC approach and there were fears the research accelerator would eat the CRC programme’s budget lunch.

It hasn’t – which should please the CRC community no end – Cooperative Research Australia’s 30th anniversary dinner was on last tonight.

Curtain up on play for a Charles Darwin U med school

Scott Bowman has his policy ducks in a row – politics follows

Charles Darwin U is pleased indeed that the budget funds medical students to train in remote communities, but laments there are none in the Northern Territory.

“It’s quite strange and remarkable that the NT, which is six times the size of the UK and has unique and pressing medical challenges, is the only state or territory with no Commonwealth-funded medical places in the country,” VC Scott Bowman says.

It’s another step in his carefully choreographed campaign for a CDU medical school, which started last year, (CMM October 5 2021).

Since then Professor Bowman has made appointments, announced advisors  and created structures to demonstrate CDU is ready to run a medical school. And he is now starting to mount the arguments as to why it not only can happen but must.

Except his timing is out – he wants it to open in 2023 but a CDU med school would make a great ministerial announcement for the 2025 election.