Apollos excepted

“Regional Queensland has become the nation’s version of Cape Canaveral,” Uni Southern Queensland promotes space manufacturing research, yesterday. Apart, of course from the absence of piloted moon-missions.

USQ’s space-tech pitch is short-listed for a $50mTrailblazer research commercialisation grant (CMM January 22).

There’s more in the Mail

In Features this morning

On Closing the Gap Day, Maree Meredith (Flinders U’s Poche Centre) reports on new approaches to improving health for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

plus James Guthrie (Macquarie U) and Basil Tucker (Uni SA) on the “accountingisation” of research assessment. “Calculative practices and numbers become powerful forces determining the reputation of individuals, disciplines and the universities themselves and the progression of academics within them,” they argue.

with Frank Larkins (Melbourne Centre for the Study of Higher Education) looks at COVID-related job losses across the states and reports staff at NSW universities had the worst of it – with managements there appearing to anticipate more declines in student demand.

and Linda Corrin (Swinburne U) on cooking up a learning analytics storm. The ingredients are just the start. Commissioning Editor Sally Kift’s new selection for her celebrated series, Needed know in teaching and learning.


Right letters wrong message

So how should the Australian Technology Network and the Innovative Research Universities acronym themselves when they partner on policy (CMM yesterday)?

A learned reader suggests TRAINU. Nice try, it gets the initials in but member institution might well suggest training is what VET does.

Uni lobbies deliver on cyber security bill

The Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security heard evidence yesterday on the second bill to protect critical infrastructure from cyber attack

And pretty much pleased university representatives were, “this has been a terrific process” Catriona Jackson from Universities Australia said. Which was not the view of witnesses from other industries, who seemed surprised they were covered.

But university lobbies have known from the start that they were included under the legislation in  its current and past forms (CMM December 1 2020, February 15, September 30 2021). They argued long and hard against the original, and are much happier with the new version, if not entirely relaxed with way the bill impacts HE. – Vicki Thomson from the Group of Eight was deep in the policy weeds yesterday as to what the legislation means by “system of national significance.”

Luke Sheehy (Australian Technology Network) summed it up, telling the committee, “we think this level of engagement is the model moving forward.”

This is why universities should be pleased to pay membership fees to their lobbies. If legislated, the original bill would have subjected all university operations, (not just the bits that need high-security) to mandatory risk management by officials  and placed institutions under “enhanced cyber security obligations.”

But their lobbies engaged with officials, presented well before the elite PJCIS, and were always on message about protecting national security without disrupting their members. The result would have been way worse without them.

TEQSA on the case

Tomorrow is census day at Macleay College, after which FEE HELP charges apply

So what should journalism students do if they are not close to completing? The college wants to drop their course after this trimester (CMM March 14)

Regulator TEQSA states, “it has communicated with those students who have raised concerns with us to advise that this matter is a priority … that we are seeking further information from Macleay College about changes to their courses, and the support that is being offered to students to complete their studies.”

The agency adds, “We have met with Macleay College and are continuing to engage with them on their obligations.”  TEQSA cites three acts of parliament that apply.


Managing grants slowly at NHMRC

The National Health and Medical Research Council advises “it is aware” that there are overdue milestones for some grants in the Sapphire management system

But not to worry it’s a system error, which will be fixed and not impact on new grant applications.

There is also a backlog of grantee variations, due in part to “development work” on Sapphire, which seems to be taking a while to get going. Back in 2019, Senate Estimates heard the system was originally budgeted to cost $5.8m but by then $16.2m had been allocated to, “a beast that is evolving,” (CMM October 30 2019).


Eric Tan (Swinburne U) is elected a junior member of the board of the Schizophrenia Research International Society.

Michele Trenti (Uni Melbourne) is head of the new Melbourne Space Laboratory.

Uni Sydney announces two Challis chairs, Chris Hilliard in history and Paul Griffiths in philosophy.  Both are internal appointments