Drink up

ANU archives has an exhibit on Sydney brewer Tooth and Co. The company not only made the beer but made sure pubs it owned or controlled sold its own brews until deregulation. Social history and what happens without a  free-market, CMM will have a middy please.

ARC’s weakest links are with entrepreneurs

The ARC’s Linkage Grants programme is designed to connect researchers to industry – and it works for many businesses, just not regularly.

Paul Dalby and Noni Creasey from In Fusion Consulting dig into the detail to discover that while private companies make up 50 per cent of Linkage partners, some 70 per cent of them only participate in the programme once.

Part of the problem is time, universities like three-year Linkage grants, they give young researchers job security and the space to work on ideas, public sector organisations are not bothered and big corporations can afford to wait for quality outcomes. But for people who worry about making payrolls every month, three years is an eternity. “Is the Linkage Programme agile enough to be attractive to fast-moving, innovative start-up companies?”, the authors ask.

LT U doubles ACU

Yesterday ACU graduated its 100 000 student, nurse Ianee Plaza who migrated from the Philippines as a teen. Not to be out down, today La Trobe U says it has just reached 200 000 graduates, with Harsha Iruvaram, from Hyderabad, receiving his business masters.

Leiden lights-up research publishing performance

The rankings metric mavens’ read are out, with publication of Leiden University’s measures of research publishing. The university’s Centre for Science and Technology Studies (“meaningful metrics”) uses Web of Science data to crunch research impact of publications, adjusted for the number and proportion that are highly cited. Yes there are anomalies and opportunities for endless analysis of the data, but that way madness lies and at least the Leiden results are not based on surveys of people’s perceptions.

This year’s figures cover 2013-16 and 25 Australian universities make the top 1000 for total publications, (collaborative papers are allocated fractionally – no CMM does not not know how, refer to above remark about the path to madness).


Impact rating for all publications

Last year’s ANZ universities that made the world ranking were: UniSyd 29, UniMelb 31, UoQ 35, Monash 64, UNSW 68, UWA 153, UniAdelaide 182, ANU 191, UniAuckland 201, UniOtago 275, Griffith 351, Curtin U 355, QUT 364, Uni Newcastle 371, Deakin U 383, Uni Wollongong 405, Macquarie U 423, UniSA 478, UTas 507, UTS 510, RMIT 520, Flinders 524, James Cook U 536, Massey U 574, La Trobe U 588, Western Sydney U 612, Canterbury U 691, Victoria U of Wellington 711, Swinburne U 772 and Murdoch U 900.


This year’s are : UniSyd 30, UniMeb 33, UoQ 37, UNSW 58, Monash U 64, UWA 151, UniAdelaide 169, UniAuckland 199, ANU 201, UniOtago 284, Curtin U 316, Griffith U 325, QUT 349, Deakin U 358, UniNewcastle 361, UniWollongong 369, Macquarie U 419, UniSA 471, UniTas 473,  UTS 476, RMIT 480, Flinders U 516, James Cook U 549, La Trobe U 575, Massey U 590, Western Sydney U 609, UniCanterbury 735, Victoria U of Wellington 736, Swinburne U 739, Murdoch U 876 and UNE 936


ANZ top ten impact ratings for all publications, with no minimum number (world ranking this year, world ranking last) by discipline group 


Biomedical sciences

UniSyd (24, 24), UniMelb (26, 21), UoQ (53, 50), Monash U (63, 61), UNSW (87, 87), UWA (166, 178), UniAdelaide (169, 170), UniAuckland (200,200), UniOtago (207, 202), UniNewcastle (278, 281)


Life and earth sciences

UoQ (8, 8), UniMelb (39, 43), UniSydney (55, 47), UWA (60, 59), UNSW (70, 88), UniAdelaide (74, 83), ANU (84, 80), James Cook U (87, 85), Monash U (113, 111), UniTas (127, 133)


Maths and computer sciences

UNSW (52, 65), UniSydney (135, 140), UniMelb (142, 127), Monash U (195, 183), UoQ (203, 211),  UTS (209, 244), ANU (211, 200), Uni Auckland (217, 202),  UniWollongong (242, 322), QUT (298, 312)


Physical sciences and engineering

UNSW (76, 94 ), UoQ (115, 108, ), Monash U (116, 112),  UniSydney (163, 148), ANU (200, 185), UniMelb (218, 208), UniWollongong (274, 309), Curtin U (308, 343), U Adelaide (321, 352) UWA (324, 316)


Social sciences and humanities

UoQ (14, 16), UniSyd (23, 23) UniMelb (25,31), Monash U (36, 38),  UNSW (41, 44), ANU (54, 60), Griffith U (60, 65), UniAuckland (88, 97), Macquarie U (109, 123), Deakin U (113, 125)

UniMelb exports education expertise

Saudi Arabia will introduce a new school curriculum created by the Graduate School of Education at the University of Melbourne.

Sandra Milligan from the MGSE will direct the introduction of competency-based learning.  The kingdom’s state school system teaches some 40 per of the 7m Saudis aged 14 years and under.

This is great, just great, pointing to a new export industry in education expertise. Maybe it will encourage the VET community to talk less about training VET teachers in India and China and sell more services.

When signs don’t explain

For people who do not identify as exclusively male or female,elemental aspects of life are not just complex, they take courage to confront. Marnie Hughes Warrington demonstrates one such challenge in the new essay in her series on building the new ANU. People who do not fit into M or F need toilets where they are not embarrassed, facilities, not prescribed by the “customary icon of a male and female figures divided by a line.”

And so the construction team built unisex toilets and members of the university community discussed how to identify them. They talked it through and worked it out because people felt comfortable and spoke up. “Inclusive bathrooms are a simple element in a wider landscape of words, wood and stone that welcomes. They remind us that the freest of speech comes when we choose to stop talking, to listen, and then act,” Professor Hughes Warrington writes.

The week that was

For those who trust in God but require all others to bring data, the week got off to a great start with the Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research releasing its analysis of university systems. Yes, the US is number one but drilling into the data revealed the Europeans lead for overall resources and community connections, (CMM Monday). The week finishes just as well for data fiends, with the Leiden rankings on research performance (above) – just in time to ruin research office weekends as staff prepare reports for DVC Rs on Monday.

And then the QILT was uncovered, the Quality Indicators for Learning and Teaching, which reveal what tens of thousands of surveyed students think about the job their university (or private provider) is doing. Bond U, U Notre Dame and the (Melbourne based) University of Divinity are in the top three spots, same as last year. Some universities preferred to ignore the whole thing, which is understandable given the way institutions that bang-on about the UG experience turn out not be wildly popular with their own students (CMM Wednesday). Some but not all kept heads down. UNSW had a shocker of a score, same as last year – so DVC Academic Merlin Crossley stepped up to explain what the university is doing about it, (CMM yesterday). Always game to have a go is the learned Crossley.

And then there were losses that really hurt.

The  big story at RMIT is academics fearing they will lose their offices in a building move, a fear the university did not exactly refute in a long statement. University teaching experts are also upset to learn that this year’s awards are way behind schedule and have no budget for prizes (CMM, Monday).

And humanities and social science researchers are appalled that they will get access to three fifths of sod-all of the government’s long-term budget for research infrastructure (CMM Wednesday.)  It took a while for some to realise how little capex they get the use of – but that’s the thing about delivered data, the devil is always in the detail.

Appointments and achievements

Composer and classical music composer and explainer (ABC Radio) Andrew Ford has a 12-month H C Coombs Creative Arts Fellowship at ANU.

Petroleum engineer Stefan Igauer joins Edith Cowan U as a professorial research fellow.

CSIRO astronomer Ron Ekers and David Penny, a bioscientist at Massey U are elected foreign associates of the US National Academy of Sciences.

Prolific political commentator Peter van Onselen is joining Griffith University’s business school as a part-time academic in politics and policy. He continues as a professor of politics at UWA.

Blake Repine, an associate VC at CQU (not DVC as CMM previously reported) is appointed to the Queensland Government’scentral west hospital and health service board. Smart move. CQU has, and will need for years, state government support if it has any hope of getting its proposed medical school funded by the feds.

Anne Kelso has a second term as chair of the National Health and Medical Research Council. She has a further five years in the job, announced just three into her first term. Professor Kelso is widely considered to have done well overseeing and selling a new system for choosing research grants.

Leanne Holt is appointed PVC Indigenous at Macquarie University. She joined MU in 2016 as director of indigenous strategy.

Patrick Parkinson is leaving the University of Sydney for UoQ, where he will become head and academic dean of the school of law.

Even less than first thought

The Deans of Arts Social Sciences and Humanities are anxious the world knows that the amount of this week’s research infrastructure funding their disciplines will benefit from is less than the $8.3m for scoping studies on research platforms. DASH reports that there is $3.2m for eight studies, less than 1 per cent of the infra spend.