To Adelaide and beyond!

The new space agency will be based in Adelaide, but definitely not in the electorate of Mayo. According to the prime minister, Adelaide is the obvious place because, “South Australia is a key hub for innovation and the technology industry, making it the ideal home for the new agency.” CMM awaits an announcement that Adelaide is to host an ARC centre for the study of red bikes and ponies.

Where the doctorates are

Some 76 per cent of academics with full-time/ fractional FT appointments have PhDs, according to the 2018 staff statistics from the Department of Education and Training, up from 63 per cent in 2008.

Universities with over 80 per cent PhDs on their academic FT-FFT staff include, ANU (90 per cent), UoQ (87 per cent), Uni Wollongong (85 per cent), and Monash U and UNSW (84 per cent).

(A learned reader suggests that the headline per cent age understates reality in that it includes staff for whom there is no information on qualifications.

Have yourself a mathy little Christmas

“Got someone in your life who’s hard to buy for? Donate a Data Science lesson plan in their name for Christmas!”, Australian Data Science Education Institute  fundraiser, yesterday. Because nothing says Christmas like statistics.

Popular reads: the year’s most mentioned research articles

Research data analyst Altmetrics has crunched 25 million mentions of 2.8 million “research outputs” for this year to identify the top 100 articles, “which have truly captured the public imagination.”

The top five sources of articles by institutional affiliation of all authors are the US (72), UK (29), Australia (17), Germany (12) and China (11).

The local heroes are led by Will Steffen and colleagues from the ANU and the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research for “Trajectories of the Earth System in the Anthropocene,” “without major interventions to curb emissions, global warming will soon be stuck in a frightening feedback loop” (4th). The world number nine was Terry Hughes (James Cook U) and colleagues, “Global warming transforms coral reef assemblages.”

There is an emphasis on environmental science and medicine in the other Australians participating articles, although one exception is a multi-author study that concluded humans were out of Africa earlier than thought, which was 63rd.

Monash and Melbourne unis break $100m in NHMRC competitive grants

The National Health and Medical Research Council announced $526m in new funding yesterday rounding out a big year for the usual research institutions.

Yesterday’s grants bring total competitive grant funding for the year to $734m out of a $783m total, (and that’s without separately allocated Medical Research Future Fund money).

The year’s big winners were pretty much the usual big winners. UniMelb and Monash U secure $103m each in project grants, followed by UNSW ($82m), Uni Queensland ($57m) and Uni Sydney ($52m).

It was also a good year for the University of Newcastle, winning $23m, which compared strongly to Uni Adelaide’s and $ UWA’s $21m each.

In the Institute sector Murdoch Children’s received $34m and Walter and Eliza Hall $30m.

The success rates for competitive grants across the year was 19.5 per cent. Big institutions, making 50 or more applications that did well are Deakin U (67 applications 23.9 per cent successful), Monash U (673 and 21.5 per cent), Murdoch Children’s Institute (132 and 31 per cent), UNSW (388 and 23.2 per cent), Uni Queensland (433 and 20.6 per cent), Uni SA (100 and 20 per cent) and Walter and Eliza Hall (126 and 31 per cent).

Overall year success rates for projects with female chief investigators (19.4 per cent) and male Cis (19.7 per cent) were in-line but the gender skew in applications ensures that 110 more projects led by blokes got up (532 to 423).

You can count on Chris

Maths evangelist Chris Tisdell has a new book, Partial Differential Equations, which is free to download here. Just the thing if the cricket goes quiet on Boxing Day. Professor Tisdell is director of the Scientia Education Academy at UNSW. His YouTube maths channel has 65 000 subscribers.

UniNewcastle saves its super stuff-up

Back in July the University of Newcastle told staff that it seemed to have stuffed-up some of their super but details were scant because no-one knew who was effected and for how much. The university promised consultants Deloitte would find out (CMM July 27). Which they did, analysing eight million payroll transactions between 2009 and October this year to discover 6316 present and former staff effected. In-line with the University of Wollongong, that had the same problem, (CMM, April 6 2017) Uni Newcastle will write off over-payments and will pay principal and interest to people short-changed on super. Vice Chancellor Alex Zelinsky says $13.37m is budgeted to make-good.

Appointments, achievements

Simon Bronitt will become dean of law at the University of Sydney in July. He will join from the University of Queensland, where he is deputy dean of law.

John Dornbusch has a new five-year term as chancellor of the University of Southern Queensland, through to 2024. He became chancellor in 2014.

Nathan Doyle is UniSports coach of the year. He coaches the University of the Sunshine Coast Spartan’s para swim squad.