Everybody out

Design college Raffles is closing due to “logistics” according to an announcement of an auction of “all items” – which presumably does not include the 80 effected students. TEQSA approved the college’s application to close before Christmas.

Boasting rights

With Year 12 uni offers out there in NSW the Universities Admissions Centre releases its top ten courses. The University of Sydney leads with three, followed by UNSW and UTS with two each and ANU, Newcastle U and Macquarie U having one each.  The top three degrees in demand are medicine (Uni Syd), business (UTS) and law (Uni Syd).

MOOC of the morning

It’s official! We have launched our free Human Reproduction online course,” the Uni of Adelaide announces.  Mario Ricci and a cast of thousands (well nine) University of Adelaide colleagues have launched their MOOC, via edX. “Join us on a journey of discovery as we answer all those questions that you were too embarrassed to ask, and those questions that you never even knew you had about human reproduction.” Good-o, but what’s the official bit?

ARC performance audit

The Australian National Audit Office is having a look at the Australian Research Council. The ANAO is examining its administration of the National Competitive Grants Programme (that’s Discovery and Linkage funding). No, this is not an opportunity to complain about research that is, or isn’t funded. Submissions due end March.

Stiff drink

University of Canberra researchers are looking for healthy males to participate in a study of prickly pear juice consumption.  Caroline Gouws is the contact. Maybe it tastes ok with gin.

How on-line student support supports students

UNSW and study-support provider, Studiosity (a CMM advertiser) are jointly funding research on on-line, on-demand academic assistance for students. Studiosity’s Chief Academic Officer Judyth Sachs and UNSW maths education maven, Chris Tisdell will lead.

“If learning with technology and ‘being digital’ through on-demand feedback and support is going to be a central pillar to the pedagogical mission of universities, then there must be compelling research and evidence that it can form a workable strategy for the student experience,” the project brief states.


A first date for Ramsay Civ Centre and UoQ

So when did the University of Queensland and the Ramsay Centre for Western Civilisation start dating? The University’s announcement negotiations for the latter to fund degrees at the former on Monday mentioned an October meeting but a learned reader suggests an earlier introduction.

It seems in September Ramsay Centre CEO Simon Haines visited the university’s Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities for a symposium on the future of the liberal arts. A future which could be characterised by cash, and lots of it, if Ramsay and the university come to terms.

No issue Monday

CMM is taking the public holiday off – back Tuesday.

Alternatives to Elsevier

The University of California’s contract with for-profit journal giant Elsevier is out, but system-staff have agreed access to month’s end while the two-side try to do a deal. “UC is seeking to constrain the excessive costs of journal subscriptions and to make it easier and more affordable for UC authors to publish their research open access,” UC-Berkeley executive VC Paul Alivisatos told staff at Christmas.

Whether this washes with U Cal academics who want to publish in top-rated Elsevier journals, the European experience is that university managements are willing to take the publisher on. German universities have not agreed on terms with Elsevier and Swedish university and research libraries cancelled on the company last June. Their peak body now has a survey asking library users how they are getting on with restricted access to Elsevier, and how they going with alternative ways of sourcing content.

Appointments: Tanya Monro becomes Defence Chief Scientist

Tanya Monro is the new Chief Defence Scientist. Professor Monro is now DVC R at the University of South Australia. She replaces Alex Zelinsky who moved in November to be VC of the University of Newcastle. Prior to UniSA, Professor Monro was director of the 165-staff ARC biophotonics research centre at the University of Adelaide.

“We need a spectrum of research activity that allows people to bring together really fundamental curiosity-driven research alongside the applied because the two fertilise each other – sometimes pure becomes applied, and vice versa, ” she told David Myton in a 2018 CMM profile, here.

Professor Monro is a poster person for women in STEM In 2017 she marked International Women’s Day with a personal donation of $80 000 over two years to assist women managing research commitments and a new baby (CMM March 17 2017). ““I want the money to be used in ways that release the pressure on women researchers and helps them to keep momentum during their leave or shortly after their return to work without feeling they’ve had to sacrifice time with their baby,” she said.

Other Appointments

UTS VC Attila Brungs is the 2019 chair of the Australian Technology Network. The post rotates annually among the four university members, (QUT left in September).

Roberto Barrero joins QUT as bioinformatics solutions architect in the Office of eResearch.  He recently worked to develop a plant diagnostic toolkit for viruses at the previous Plant Biosecurity CRC.

At UoQ, Louise Hickson moves up to associate dean  – external engagement for the Faculty of Health and Behavioural Sciences. She has been head of the universitys School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences.

Former race discrimination commissioner Tim Soutphommasane has joined the University of Sydney as a professor of practice in sociology and political theory.

The Australian Research Data Commons has two new independent directors. Anne-Marie Lansdown (Universities Australia) and Toni Moate (CSIRO).

Yves Bréchet is joining Monash U’s engineering faculty part-time, following six years as France’s high commissioner for atomic energy and alternative energies.

Two new appointments at Swinburne U. Richard Bolt is VP strategy and innovation, leading strategy, commercial, business analytics, campus spaces, audit and risk teams, plus government, legal and integrity. VP and chief financial officer Nancy Collins heads finance, information technology, and facilities and services.

Rosie Hicks will become CEO of the Australian Research Data Commons in April. She moves from the Australian National Fabrication Facility, (micro and nano materials research) after 11 years plus as chief executive

The Academy of Science panel to advise Opposition Leader Bill Shorten on fish kill in the Murray Darling basinTim Flannery, Uni Melbourne. Lee Godden, Uni Melbourne. Quentin Grafton, ANU.  Lesley Head, Uni Melbourne. Richard Kingsford, UNSW. John Williams, ANU.  Sue Jackson, Griffith U. Jenny Davis, Charles Darwin U and Linda Blackall, Uni Melbourne.