The university discovers the cricket equivalent of dark matter


plus Victoria U lays the foundations of VET success


Murray Darling Med School: if they build it Dwyer will come


and Murdoch U honours its own

“This is your doctor speaking”

The University of Sydney and QANTAS are collaborating on air travel research

The university’s Charles Perkins Centre will research the health and comfort of passengers on long haul flights with the airline implementing findings.  Vice Chancellor of the former Michael Spence and CEO of the latter Alan Joyce will announce the partnership today. Nothing that upgrades to first class can’t cure.

If they build it he will come

At the virtual Murray Darling Medical School the promotoscope is running flat out

The Murray Darling Medical School has appointed John Dwyer foundation professor of medicine and surgery. At least it will, if ever established. Sponsors of the school, Charles Sturt and La Trobe universities, are running the promotoscope flat out as they push the feds to back the MDMS with the Dwyer news just one of a stream of announcements and events. Not that Professor Dwyer wouldn’t be good – he led the UNSW med school for 20 years but for the present it is his support the MDMS needs. Existing medical faculties, which would likely lose federally funded places if the new school got the nod, have fought the proposal for years and are not stopping now. But CSU and La Trobe say they expect to win. “(Dwyer’s) appointment reflects the confidence of our universities that the Murray Darling Medical School will soon be a reality,” the pair said yesterday.

App of the day

In the cricket equivalent of identifying dark matter Swinburne researchers have discovered 12 new spin bowling deliveries

At Swinburne University, Franz Konstantin Fuss, Batdelger Doljin, “with assistance from” Rene Ferdinand have created a smart cricket ball which sends data on spin-rate, precision, torque, efficiency and the centre of ball pressure of a delivery. Data analysis demonstrates many more spin deliveries exist than the established eight, certainly 20, perhaps as many than 25.

The ball has three embedded gyroscopes and uses a wireless app to report data. According to Professor Fuss, the ultimate goal is a ball that relays types of deliveries bowled live in a game.  A case of more spin than a warehouse of Warnies.

Learnng why few CRCs survive

Cooperative Research Centres do the applied research the government is keen on but  few survive when federal funding runs out

CRC governance veteran and IP expert Laurie Hammond wants to find out how just 15 of the 180 CRCs since the scheme started in 1991 continued one way or another.  Good question, while CRCs are designed to have limited lifespans the end of a centre inevitably involves a loss. “Significant assets, in the form of human and social capital, may have been written off in the absence of systemic commitment and effort to realise their value,” Mr Hammond suggests.

In cooperation with Emma Potter-Hay of QUT’s business school he is asking people involved with centres that continued after they ceased to be CRCs how they changed to survive. The pair are interested in differences between centres’ successors including; business and revenue models, governance structures, operating scale and beneficiaries of the business.

“Information from these ex-CRCs may provide ‘lessons’ to assist participants in existing CRCs to plan successful transitions to operations after they exit the CRC Programme.  The imperative to do so is now much higher since no CRC can be re-funded,” Mr Hammond says.

Uni lays foundations of VET success

Victoria U continues its rebuild with new trade-degree pathways

The dual-sector university is expanding its higher education programmes in trade-spaces with three  new construction-related degrees. The bachelors of building in construction management, surveying and design will be offered in partnership with registered training organisation, Builders Academy Australia, which also includes home-building Simonds Group. Students can first complete a diploma before moving to a degree, meaning, “they will spend less time and money upgrading their skills and gaining a university qualification,” VU states.

This is brilliant brand-building by VU, targeting the market for traditional trade skills and adding the status of a degree as a way to take share from VET providers. It demonstrates why the TAFE sector is right to worry about entrepreneurial universities getting into the VET market.

Money, what money?

Government welcomes agriculture research report but no mention of the call for $100m in new funding

Nationals MP and assistant minister to Deputy PM Barnaby Joyce, Luke Hartsuyker has welcomed the Academy of Sciences decadal plan for agricultural R&D (CMM yesterday), saying “embracing new ideas in innovation, science and research will drive the next age of agricultural prosperity in this country.” Funnily enough he did not mention the plan’s proposal for a new $100m research, translation and commercialisation fund.

New AIMS head

Paul Hardisty is the new head of the Australian Institute of Marine Science. He was previously head of CSIRO Land and Water and the organisation’s Climate Adaption Flagship.

Murdoch U honours its own

Murdoch University has honoured staff “for outstanding contributions”

The late Susan Moore is remembered with the Senate Medal, for outstanding service. Librarian Helen Bronleigh has received the VC’s Award for Excellence. Research awards got to Jatin Kala (atmospheric science), Aleks Nikolosku (chemicals process in hydrometallurgy), John Howieson (sustainable agriculture), Sofie de Meyer (commercialising legume research),  Sandra Wilson (Japanese history) Richard Bell (land management) and Chengdao Li (barley genome). The university also recognises teaching achievements by Martin Hopkins and Caroline Nilson for skills development in nursing courses,  as well Hopkins (again) and Pru Andrus for student learning. Barbara Bowen, Peter Le Breton and their colleagues in the indigenous enabling programme are also honoured. Among long-service citations Malcolm Tull stands out for his 40 years at Murdoch.

What students want

UK students are generally happy with their courses, with only some of those at new institutions seeing themselves as customers getting a bad deal

The research for Universities UK reports that when students are upset it is because they think their university is not teaching enough.  “The top reason for students feeling that their degree course does not offer good value for money is not having enough contact hours,” the report states.

Overall, students want to believe their university cares about them and they do not want see enrolment as a consumer connection.

“Students view their relationship with their university as unique, and emphasise personal engagement and their personal and educational development both during and beyond the course as priorities. When compared with other customer relationships, students expect a different type of relationship with their university; it is distinct from the more traditional, transactional relationship they might have when paying for other types of goods or services.”

It’s surely the same here – so all universities have to do to kill it on the next QILT is deliver the benefits their advertising promises. That, and hope students notice the share of their fees that goes to fund research.