The university convenes teams to tackle wicked policy problems

More for Merlin: UNSW DVC Crossley expands portfolio

Still not in a row: the R&D policy change ducks not lined up to Sinodoninos’ satisfaction

Bad manners

“There’s nothing wrong with queue jumping,” the Macquarie Graduate School of Management promotes its MBA yesterday, via Facebook. CMM wonders if MGSM marketers have quite got the hang of the way markets work if they think it is about Trumpesque shoving. As Ludwig von Mise (who did) put it; “he who best serves consumers profits most and accumulates riches”.

Big visions

Scratch a vice chancellor and reveal an entrepreneur

In Perth universities aspire to build research parks and apartments on their broad-acre campuses. Curtin U has a huge project underway and now parliament has changed their incorporating acts other public unis can follow. But in Sydney they dream bigger.

The University of Wollongong has moved into western Sydney, where there is talk of the University of Sydney expanding on its already substantial presence at Westmead. And now UNSW is engaging with the ACT government about a new 10 000 student there. So will the University of Canberra respond by planning a move into Sydney’s east? Not if they have seen the property prices.

More for Merlin

A reshuffle at UNSW expands DVC Crossley’s authority

With senior DVC Les Field stepping down at year end to “focus on his role as professor of chemistry” UNSW VC Ian Jacobs has reallocated responsibilities. DVC E Merlin Crossley picks up academic promotions and appointments. He will also take charge of new “integrity issues”. External Relations chief Fiona Docherty now has the Institute for Global Development in her portfolio. And DVC Enterprise Brian Boyle has new responsibility for the PLuS Alliance (with Kings College London and Arizona State U).

Wisdom of crowds

UniSydney assembles experts in the marketplace of ideas

The University of Sydney opens a policy bazaar today, where researchers from a range of disciplines will assemble on the policy common. The university is funding 14 teams of academics and external experts to trial this Sydney Policy Lab, with a fellowship scheme to begin next year.

Projects include the future for cybersecurity, sourcing advice from domestic violence workers for a national policy and consumer data sharing in health apps. One multi-disciple problem especially demonstrates how policy cannot be made in silos ethics and anti-microbial resistance. A team led by Angus Dawson from the UniSydney medical school will produce a paper for the World Health Organisation addressing issues such as “should we phase out the use of antimicrobials in some areas such as food production to ‘save’ them for when we are sick? What obligations, if any, do we have to future generations to preserve such drugs to help them?”

Still no word on R&D review

But Minister Sinodinos is working on it

At the rate Industry, Innovation and Science minister Arthur Sinodinos is moving, the decision on what to do about the research and development tax incentive will be lost in coverage of the Day of Judgement. In July, he described the Ferris-Finkel-Fraser review of the scheme  “as a bit of an examination,” which rather understated the recommendation to cap tax offset refunds at $2m (CMM July 21). This is popular with publicly funded researchers who see the offset as a waste of money they could spend better but is disliked by entrepreneurs and their accountants. Back then Senator Sinodinos said he had commissioned “further work” so the deduction is “sustainable”. Whatever that will mean is made no clearer by the minister’s new announcement of a process “to develop advice that helps business understand when they can and cannot access the scheme.” Perhaps this mean the offset will stay, with earnest injunctions against rorting, or maybe it means the amount it provides will be reduced, with a campaign explaining why it is still a big help for business. Whatever is coming the decision will upset a vocal lobby and Senator Sinodinos appears anxious to be ready.

Artist of the Pozible

Research crowdfunding pioneer leaves Deakin

Deb Verhoeven, is leaving Deakin U for UTS, where she starts next month as associate dean of engagement and innovation in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. One of her Deakin achievements was working on a crowdfunding model for research projects via Pozible. She tweets at “bestqualitycrab”, (sorry, no idea).

Nothing doing

Enterprise bargaining at James Cook U is less slow than stopped and last weekend union members banned working on the Townsville campus Open Day. This weekend they will do, or rather not do, the same for OD events at Cairns.

Desirable property

The Chief Scientist’s STARPortal, a database on STEM events and resources for school students and teachers, is live. At yesterday’s launch it was described as “the tool for STEM outreach.” Presumably this means the web address now costs twice what it did when acquired.

If you can’t beat em buy em

For-profit journal giant Elsevier is taking no chances

The biggest research publisher is less disliked than loathed by the open access movement, in part for the way big research funders will not take it on. While major agencies in North America, Europe and Australia specify articles in Elsevier’s pay-to-read journals must be open access after a year, this is all the publisher needs to ensure subscriptions stay strong.

But OA activists are having enough of an impact to unsettle Elsevier – the company is now stalled in negotiations for a new agreement with German universities. So, Elsevier is entrenching into research infrastructure to make itself indispensable by acquiring information providers.

The company has just bought out the founders of Digital Commons, an open access publishing platform and repository. Digital Commons will now be integrated into Elsevier’s vast research analytics and search system. It follows the company’s purchase last year of social sciences and law research preprint provider SSRN and research and data aggregator Mendeley.

Elsevier provided parent RELX with an 11 per cent return on turnover of just under $A2bn in the first half of the year.