A new analysis of university-industry research links shows Australia way up on OECD performance

Coronet on Campus: the Duke of York’s royal innovation tour

Low (the lowest) cost marketing research as the University of Adelaide asks the twitteratti’s opinion

and code red for enterprise bargaining blues


Another Aussie

University of South Australia VC David Lloyd became an Australian citizen on Friday. Aussie, Aussie, Aussie, to be sure, to be sure.

Uni-industry links stronger than we thought

While patent applications by Australians are stable at best, university and industry collaboration is much stronger than assumed according to. a new analysis by the federal government’s IP Agency

Just six per cent of patent applications were made by locals, similar to previous years, Intellectual Property Australia states in its annual report. But the agency states that a new analysis of university-industry collaboration data reveals; “that in contrast to previous studies, Australia’s performance is reasonably good when compared to other countries.”

IPA argues “the general consensus that Australia has a problem with collaboration between business and the research sectors” is based on a 2013 Bureau of Statistics survey which asked innovating firms how often they worked with research organisations. “It may be that, in a country with a small number of universities and a relatively large number of firms, asking those firms how often they collaborated with a university is likely to under-estimate the totals.  … We have sought to turn this question around, and ask the universities how often they collaborate,” IPA explains.

The agency used the Commonwealth’s IP Open Government resource to look at jointly filed IP applications. The data reveals “a remarkably active collaborative ecosystem in Australia,” which includes links to industry, research agencies and other universities, both at home and away.

The analysis also points to distinct strategies, with some universities focusing on exclusive relationships with firms while others partner with businesses that have connect to multiple universities. The University of Queensland does both, IPA explains, “with links to entities as diverse as GlaxoSmithKline Biologicals, Queensland Rail and Veolia Water Solutions, most of which have multiple collaboration partners in the Eastern part of the network.”

In terms of overall applications under the international Patent Cooperation Treaty, Australia ranks 13th overall in the OECD, “a different story from the standard one” and in the top ten of countries by applications lodged under the PCT.

This matters, the IPA suggests, because; “if it were to be the case that Australian universities are actively collaborating, then additional pressure to do more is likely to have disappointing returns: the universities may have already reached capacity.”

It’s a question the Australian Research Council may consider as it addresses how to measure impact and engagement for its new research performance metrics.


Celebrating staff

UWA has announced its innovators at its first annual IQ awards

Jo McDonald is Innovation Champion for her work on heritage management and preserving rock art in the Pilbara. The Research Innovation and Enterprise Award goes to Tim Inglis and colleagues for a screening test for antibiotic resistance which is 20 hours faster than the international standard. Tom Maclaurin’s student startup of the year is his “affordableunmanned aerial vehicle, which apparently appeals to the cattle industry.

Murdoch University has held its staff-only staff awards

But the university will not reveal who won. “As this was an internal event, the university has no plans to promote the awards to an external audience,” a spokesman for the fortress of solitude advised CMM.

Graham Farquhar from ANU has won one a 2017 Kyoto Prize

The prizes are awarded to researchers in fields where there is no Nobel. Dr Farquhar works in plant biophysics and photosynthesis and is the first Australian to win a Kyoto Prize, which are awarded by Japan’s Inamori Foundation. Among an armoury of honours Dr Farquhar received the 2015 prime minister’s prize for scientist of the year. The Kyoto Prize includes a cash award of just under $A600 000.

Paul Ramadge is the foundation director of the PLuS Alliance, an initiative of Arizona State U, Kings College London and UNSW

PLuS is created, “to solve global challenges around health, social justice, sustainability, technology and innovation.” Mr Ramadge was editor of Melbourne’s The Age newspaper from 2008 to 2012.  He went on to found Monash U’s Australia-Indonesia Centre, standing down at the end of last year.

Coronet on campus

The Duke of York is visiting universities in the colonies, sorry commonwealth

His Royal Highness will hold his Pitch@Palace in September at Bond, Macquarie, RMIT and Wollongong, universities. Apparently, the event, “is designed to support, enhance and add value to start-up and scale-up companies by providing a platform for entrepreneurs and audiences to meet, network and hear the great ideas that are being commercialised and built by the next generation of entrepreneurs.”

This royal tour follows last year’s visit by the Duchess of York to Macquarie U where she was guest of honour at a business school tea (CMM March 15 2016).

The Australian winners of the Duke’s competition will go to the December finals at St James Palace in London.

UWA modest earnings

The WA Auditor General reports that Murdoch U earned $18m last year teaching offshore and Curtin U nearly $12m the University of WA picked up $3.377m.

Interchangeable advertising

The University of Adelaide is asking for advice about its advertising.

A survey on Twitter presents a range of options to describe the university including “South Australia’s fastest growing/leading research/leading university” and “ranked in the top one per cent of universities worldwide.” The survey also asks what a range of slogans mean, including; “where leaders begin” and “careers are built on reputation.”

“The audience engagement is designed to assemble a panel of people who could potentially give feedback on creative campaigns in the future. It includes a couple of existing campaign messages, not new ones, as well as some current university positioning statements used in the local market.” a UniAdelaide representative says.

The university’s last major recruitment campaign “seek light” launched in 2013, with an update last year.

The University of Queensland is also updating its advertising shooting a new recruitment TVC. It’s the first since the account moved from Clemenger BBDO to Ogilvy Brisbane in March, but the “create change” message remains ( CMM March 30).

If UoQ and UniAdelaide ever want a low-cost change they could mix their messages. “Seek change” and “create light” mean as much as the existing ones.

Jane who never dies

Adelaide hosts a major Austen conference

Navy officers get a good wrap in Jane Austen so it’s quite right that Flinders University (named for Matthew Flinders RN) is hosting an Austen conference to commemorate the bicentenary of her death, with scholarly papers, regency music and general janefandom. Conference title is “Immortal Austen” which probably made the scheduled screening of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies inevitable.

What a shock

The higher education regulator has cancelled the Australian School of Management’s registration

TEQSA announced the move late Friday, reporting the school had failed to meet threshold standards. Translated from TEQSA speak this meant the regulator required the provider to actually be in business and meeting performance requirenents. ASM’s parent company VET provider Careers Australia is already in voluntary administration.

Low speed legislation

Australians like the idea of self-driving vehicles but it can take time to get the rules right

Simone Pettigrew from Curtin U (where they are testing an autonomous shuttlebus says a survey shows Australians in general are positive about self-drive vehicles.

“The greatest benefit that people could see from autonomous vehicles was the increased independence of people who currently cannot drive. The also saw benefits in terms of fuel efficiency and productive use of travel time. Where they did anticipate barriers, they were typically around being concerned about the security issues and job losses,” Professor Pettigrew told a House of Representatives committee inquiry last week.

But if popular opinion isn’t a problem bureaucracy can be. Damith Herath from the University of Canberra told the committee about work on an autonomous vehicle a decade back, which legislation prevented being tested in Australia. “They actually had to ship the car they were testing to the US to test it.”

Crossing live to the 18th century

British humanities academics still like books, as in printed pages bound together, preferably ones from proper publishers

In a report for the Arts and Humanities Research Council and British Library Academic Book of the Future Project, Marilyn Deegan reports the book is “greatly valued” in the academy for reasons including “its central place in career progression in the arts and humanities.” But there are books and books. Professor Deegan reports nearly half the titles submitted to the UK Research Excellence Framework were from just ten publishers, starting with Oxford University Press, Palgrave Macmillan and Cambridge UP. Academics, she says, still consider the monograph, “the gold standard of research output.” Lord knows what they will when somebody suggests the in-person lecture is not the only way to teach.”

Enterprise bargaining blues news


To make it easier for staff to complain about pay during enterprise bargaining the National Tertiary Education Union has published pay scales for academic and professional staff at all public universities. For HEW six pay workers, Victoria U pays least, $12000 less than the most generous $84 000 Notre Dame Australia in Sydney offers. The University of Sydney pays bottom scale Level C academics $124 900 while at Victoria U they earn $108 900.


At James Cook U the NTEU is asking staff whether industrial action is in order over management’s enterprise agreement offer. The union says the university is refusing to budge on six per cent over five years pay offer, wanting an end to rules governing academic workloads, ending the existing gift of three paid days off at Christmas and forcing academics into teaching-only roles.


At La Trobe the NTEU is worried management wants to keep people on fixed term appointments who should be converting to continuing employment. The union adds management wants to end internal review and appeal procedures for staff and prevent the union raising disputes for members.


The comrades are cross with Monash U management, over the time it is taking not to respond to the union’s log of claims (to the standard union pattern). The NTEU says it lodged on June 2 but even after the Queen’s Birthday long weekend still had not received acknowledgement. The union’s Victorian secretary Colin Long is “surprised and somewhat disappointed” by this that he has copied files to date to Vice Chancellor Margaret Gardner, “to assist you in activating your considerable resources towards this matter.”