MOUs in space

The Australian Space Agency is a year old and keen to beam its achievements

It has produced a civil space strategy, updated space legislation, signed “statements of strategic intent” and MOUs with French, Canadian, UK and United Arab Emirates space agencies. The agency is also developing the International Space Investment initiative, and the Space Infrastructure Fund. As Space Ranger Lightyear would put it, “to officialdom and beyond.”

NAIDOC honours UTS academic

Michael McDaniel is NAIDOC scholar of the year

Professor McDaniel is PVC (Indigenous leadership and engagement) at UTS. The NAIDOC citation states he is a proud member of the Kalari Clan of the Wiradjuri Nation, who “has led a distinguished career in Indigenous higher education and has a record of service to the arts, culture and community which spans more than 30 years.”

Unis Aus makes case for more UG places

Can warnings of “unmet demand” be far away?

Dreams of the demand driven system returning ended with Labor’s defeat but Universities Australia is still pushing for student growth funding. CEO Catriona Jackson argues that her members will need more money to make room for a spike in aspiring students starting in a couple of years. There will be 55 000 more 18 years at the end of the next decade than now, she says.

And the government’s proposed funding increases in-line with population growth, depending on performance targets for each university, will not be enough. “Even if universities hit all the performance targets, the funding won’t keep up with inflation and enable universities to meet demand in regions with faster growing populations.”

Even before the performance targets, expected in the Welling’s Review, are announced UA is working out the next argument. It’s been 20-odd years since “unmet demand” was on the agenda – but CMM suspects it will be back.

MOOC of the morning

Curtin U is marking NAIDOC week and the UN’s International Year of Indigenous Languages with a re-run of its 2018 MOOC (via edX),  Noongar Language and Culture. The six-week course covers conversational Noongar and recent history and culture. The Noongar people are the original inhabitants of southwest WA.

Centenary medical innovation awards

The Centenary Medical Research Institute’s 2019 medical innovation awards are open

They are for post docs who are, “taking risks and tackling the big questions of medical research.” There’s $52 000 in four awards, with an open vote for the way-least of them, $2000. (Details at Thinkable).

Some 34 researchers have entered, including, Madara Ratnadiwakara who works on treatment for people “currently without treatment options” for bowel cancer, Lining Arnold  Ju, for biomechanical nano-tools against blood clots and Hossein Mokhtarzadeh’s who is using cell phones to predict people falling.

Uni Adelaide invests in research infrastructure

The university announces funding for four NCRIS facilities

The university is contributing $7.2m, to back-up state and federal funding, for:

The Adelaide node of Microscopy Australia, which will receive $2.3m in state government money.

The Australian Plant Phenomics Facility at the Waite campus gets $2.2m from SA .

Optofab Adelaide, part of the Australian National Fabrication Facility scores $1.5m from the state.

And the Adelaide operation of the Terrestrial Ecosystem Research Network (TERN) receives $600,000 from the SA Government.

With federal National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy funding, the facilities will receive $32m.

The state budget also included money for other SA based NCRIS facilities, Bioplatforms Australia and the National Imaging Facility.

NZ starts slow on microcredentials (but it’s started)

It’s nearly a year since New Zealand Qualifications Authority started registering new types of training

“NZQA expects that micro-credentials will augment the formal qualification system, but also anticipates that over time employers and learners may well become increasingly comfortable valuing shorter modules of learning,” the agency stated then (CMM August 10).

There are around 50 microcredentials registered in all sorts of industries, from biosecurity to beauty therapy, shearing to methamphetamine sampling and screening. It’s a slow start, but it’s a start and one the Noonan Review of the Australian Qualifications Framework might be looking at, (CMM April 1)


La Trobe U announces Russell Hoye is the new dean and head of school of allied health, human services and sport. He moves from PVC research and development and Director of Sport at the university.

The Gonski Institute of Education at UNSW announces two new fellows. Amy Graham joins from Charles Darwin U. Fatemah Aminpour moves from  UNSW’s built environments faculty.

Biz ed accreditor the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business names Geoff Perry chief officer, Asia Pacific. Professor Perry is DVC at the Auckland University of Technology.

Mark Lamont is the new chair of EduGrowth (“Australia’s education technology and innovation industry hub”). Mr Lamont “directs a portfolio of EdTech companies as co-founder or investor.”