Return to Wuthering Heights

A UNSW team led by Christine Alexander has a $300 000 Linkage Grant to publish Charlotte Bronte’s novels as she wrote them, with her original punctuation before publishers edited it for first editions. The original texts are, stranger, more unsettling and more artistically and socially challenging than the available editions lead readers to believe.” Back to the studio, Kate Bush.

There’s more in the Mail

In Features today, David Myton looks at the UK’s big debate over whether higher education represents value for money.

Peak agencies create a code to deal with research misconduct

The research establishment has stepped up on research misconduct.

This is a vast change from recent practice, where the Australian Research Council declined to define it (CMM June 19 2017). But peak bodies, the ARC, National Health and Medical Research Council and Universities Australia have combined to create a new Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research.

They have combined to present eight principles of “responsible research conduct,” which may not survive a cross-examining QC, but set out obligations that all members of the research community will understand. There are also separate sets of responsibilities of institutions and individuals.

The Big Three has also produced a separate guide to managing and investigating “potential breaches” of the new code, which provides plain-language definitions of what they are.

The Australian research community now has what the three organisations say are, “processes for managing and investigating potential breaches of the 2018 Code that can be applied to the range of research contexts in Australia—from small medical research institutions to large universities and across all research disciplines.  It aims to ensure procedural fairness to all parties.”

This is a necessary improvement from last year when an ARC/NHMRC  working group, including people who worked on the new code declined to define research misconduct, in part because, “there is no internationally agreed definition of research misconduct.” Wrong then, right now.



My eQuals to expand

The My eQuals roll-out is nearly complete, with 46 ANZ universities expected to be on-line by August. The system connects university student record systems to a node which students/graduates can access to acquire a PDF of their academic recordCMM March 23 2017). So far, the 30 universities on-line have issued 600 000 digital documents to graduates/students.

Higher Education Services, which drives the project, says My eQuals will expand, “with various new ANZ and international education providers expected to join.”

New round of Linkage Grants announced

Some 66 research teams will share $26m in Australia Research Council funding with another round of Linkage Grants announced this morning. The institutional split and CMM’s pick of intriguing projects is:


ANU: two projects

Antonio Tricoli and colleagues will work on self-cleaning lenses and Joseph Coventry and team will research absorber coatings for concentrated solar power.


Macquarie U: three projects

Southern Cross U: two projects

UNSW: nine projects

UniSydney: three projects

UniWollongong: three projects

UTS: two projects

At UNSW Bill Randolph’s team will look at high-rise residential building defects and how to address them. Guandong Xu from UTS and colleagues will use data analytics to identify determinants of successful superannuation investment,


CQU: one project

Griffith Uni: one project

QUT: one project

UniQueensland: 12 projects

Brijesh Verma and Sam Atabak from CQU will partner with the state DOT to develop an automated system to analyse road safety. Joel Carpenter with colleagues at UoQ, will develop next-gen laser systems for fibre-optic comms.

South Australia

Flinders U: two projects

University of Adelaide: one projects

University of South Australia: one

Jennifer Clark’s team at the University of Adelaide will create an oral and archival history of GMH workers’ experience. Adrian Linacre and Kenneth Kirkbride from Flinders U will work on a proof of concept to visualise (no less!) invisible DNA.

UniTasmania: four projects

Jason Lavroff and crew will develop a remote monitoring system to measure ship motions, loads and ride control. Rodrigo Hamede with colleagues will look at the response of Tasmanian Devils to the facial tumour disease that bedevils them to examine immune capabilities in wild.


Monash U: two projects

Deakin U: four projects

RMIT: one project

UniMelbourne: eight projects

Swinburne U: one project

Victoria U: one project

Andrew Western, Dongryeoi Ryu and Quan Wang from the University of Melbourne will work on a water ordering system for farmers, based on data, forecasts and observations. Yang Xiang and Swinburne colleagues will create a means to identify fake internet reviews.

Western Australia

Curtin U: one project

Murdoch U: one project

UWA: one project

Una Ryan and a Murdoch team will develop a “gut on a chip” to monitor pathogens in urban water supplies. Muhammad Hossain and UWA colleagues will work on ways to keep cryogenic pipelines stable on the seabed. This will cut costs in moving LNG from shore to tankers.

More of McNally

While the education union’s new national leadership is still not set, there is continuity in Queensland, with Michael McNally stepping up for a new term as National Tertiary Education Union state secretary.  They will be dancing in chancellery corridors at James Cook University, where Mr McNally and management enjoy a robust relationship.

Regional unis want their own advocate in government

The Regional Universities Network calls for a national commissioner to oversight the national education strategy for regions it wants. “In the national interest, we call on the government to take action to support the growth of regional university campuses,” RUN chair and University of the Sunshine Coast VC Greg Hill says.

John Halsey suggests a commissioner in his  recent report on regional, rural and remote education as one way to “create an entity that endures and provides a high and influential level of impact on the challenges and opportunities of RRR education.”

It’s not an idea all university lobbies like.  The Group of Eight’s Vicki Thomson says, “we very strongly support the need for a regional education strategy which encompasses regional delivery across post-secondary education and we have been working with relevant MPs on this.” However, she adds while she  hasn’t seen the detail of what RUN wants, she wonders what a regional education commissioner would accomplish.

But the Eight likes the idea of independent experts advising government on higher education as a whole. “Recent history has evidenced the complexity of higher education reform. It also demonstrates the consequences of allowing higher education policy to be developed and implemented in the absence of a structure that provides high level and independent expert advice to government,” Ms Thomson says.

MOOC of the morning

Curtin U’s Subas Dhakal has a new  MOOC (via edX) on globalisation and sustainable development. And no, the former does not preclude the latter. “This course offers theoretical and real-world insights into why and how globalisation can be used as a conduit for sustainable development.”

The unqualified failings of the Australian qualifications framework 

PhillipsKPA filed a research paper on the international context for the review of the Australian Qualifications Framework on Anzac Day, but the voc ed feds have only now got around to releasing it – probably because it took them that long to read the mass of detail on world-practise.

Hopefully they read the best-bits very slowly which are the scathing indictment (at least by PhillipsKPA’s understated standards) of the voced establishment’s inertia.

“Virtually all of the substantive comments made in submissions to the 2009 – 2011 AQF review are still at the forefront of respondents’ concerns in 2018. … The 2013 revised draft of the AQF, while addressing some concerns, does not appear to have dealt with the major issues that continue to create problems in interpretation and implementation of the AQF.  Further issues were also identified in the light of developments since 2012.”

And if there is one bit that officials should establish a working party to consider highlighting it is PhillipsKPA’s take on what the market wants;

Flexible and multi-directional pathways rather than simple hierarchical ones (as the AQF is perceived to be) are regarded as better suited to lifelong learning and rapid retraining to meet new technological challenges. Internationally, qualifications frameworks are being designed with a view to encouraging cross-sectoral collaboration and the engagement of employers and businesses in both designing and delivering ‘on-time’ and ‘in place’ learning experiences that can be recognised formally as part of a qualification.  While the AQF allows this possibility, the complexity of the regulatory and sectoral contexts within which it sits is perceived by many stakeholders to impede this level of responsiveness.”

Australian vocational education is in a mountain of a mess – and the mountain is Everest.

Dolt of the day

Is CMM. In Tuesday’s report of the Nature journal article rankings CMM left UNSW off the all research organisations, all disciplines list. It is 3rd in Australia and 130th globally.

Appointments, achievements of the week


Mark Gustowski is the new head of QUT’s Creative Enterprise Australia.

 Former Labor premier of Victoria John Brumby will become chancellor of La Trobe U next March. He will replace present chancellor, and former Monash U VC, Richard Larkins.

Brian Walker (ANU and CSIRO) receives an Asahi Glass Foundation 2018 Blue Planet prize for his research on environmental sustainability and resilience. The 50m Yen award translates to $A600 000.

Two Hunter region researchers have won awards from the European Respiratory Society. Peter Gibson, (John Hunter Hospital and University of Newcastle) wins the society’s gold medal, and A$77 000 for his asthma research.  Jodie Simpson (University of Newcastle) receives a $50 000 research award for her work on airway diseases.

 Daniel Pellicci from the University of Melbourne is awarded the Commonwealth health minister’s Award for Excellence in Health and Medical ResearchDr Pellicci researches immune T cells.

Theoretical physicist Susan Coppersmith will join UNSW next year, moving from the University of Wisconsin.

The WA state government has joined with Edith Cowan U and Murdoch U to fund visiting phenomics fellowsElaine Holmes (Imperial College London) and Ruey Leng Loo(Medway School of Pharmacy) will work in WA for four years.

Microbiologist Bill Ashraf is Macquarie University’s first principal fellow of the organisation formerly known as the Higher Education Academy. (It’s now AdvanceHE).

Curtin U’s new head of the school of public health will be Rosa Alati. She will move from the University of Queensland later in the year.

a Trobe U has appointed Simon Evans as PVC of the College of Arts, Social Sciences and Commerce. He moves from the University of Melbourne.

Juliet Gerrard is appointed the New Zealand PM’s chief science advisorProfessor Gerrard is a biochemist at the University of Auckland.

The University of Canterbury has a new vice chancellor, Cheryl de la Rey, now VC at the University of Pretoria. She replaces Rod Carr, who retires after ten years.

Elizabeth de Somer is confirmed as CEO of Medicines Australia, after acting in the job since April. She steps up from five years as the lobby’s policy and research director. Medicines Australia, “represents the discovery-driven pharmaceutical industry in Australia.”

The Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering awards are announced;

Clunies Ross entrepreneur of the year: Erol Harvey, (Swinburne U)

Clunies Ross award for knowledge commercialisation – David Huang, Peter Czabotar, Andrew Roberts and Guillaume Lessene, (Walter and Eliza Hall Institute)

Clunies Ross award for innovationJim Aylward (owner, Oncolin Pty Ltd) Batterham

Medal for engineering excellenceMadhu Bhaskaran (RMIT)

ICM Agrifood awardAngela van der Wouw and Shu Kee Lam (University of Melbourne)