Great gliding marsupials!

There are more than experts thought

Researchers at ANU, Uni Canberra, James Cook U and CSIRO have examined the DNA of Greater Gliders (a possum-sized marsupial that, well, glides) to discover that there is not one but three species inhabiting the Great Divide, from FNQ to Victoria.  This means overall numbers are not so great when split three ways.

What CMM wants to know is the market rate for glider naming rights – probably pay for a bunch of conservation.

There’s more in the Mail

In Features this morning

Rola Ajjawi (Deakin U) on helping, not blaming, students for academic failure. This week’s selection by Commissioning Editor Sally Kift on what is needed now in teaching and learning

Merlin Crossley (UNSW) on who’ll be on the post COVID-19 campus.

David Kellermann (UNSW) on creating a serious solution for on-line lecturing. Curated content from Microsoft.

Big ideas to start the week  

Our ReMaking HE on-line conference starts this morning

At 11am you can join Lucy Montgomery (Curtin U), Brian Schmidt (ANU) and Ashley Farley (Gates Institute) for a discussion of research, who funds it, owns it and decides what gets done.

And at noon Innes Willox (Australian Industry Group) and Kerri-Lee Krause (Uni Melbourne) talk about what employers want from graduates, what universities provide and what needs to change.

You can join register for $31.19 a session  here (and have a look at what’s on for the rest of the week).

Uni foreign affairs set for scrutiny

The Senate is set to consider on a bill universities oppose

The government’s bill giving the Commonwealth oversight of state and territory agreements with foreign powers was approved by a Senate committee on Thursday, despite detailed arguments from universities why it should not apply to them. Universities Australia pointed to the “thousands and thousands” of agreements that will be covered, (CMM November 6).

But while Labor and Greens senators on the committee pointed out problems with the bill, there are no, at least not yet, amendments proposed – the bill is scheduled for the Senate on Wednesday.

If senators waive the bill through it will not augur well for universities. The parliament’s intelligence committee is starting an inquiry into foreign interference on campus and if it reports anything alarming there are Coalition MPs and senators who would love the government to increase oversight of universities, additional to the oversight about to be added.

Partnerships of the day

Uni SA and Optus

The university and telco have a new JV, the Cyber Security Research and Collaboration Hub.

There will be research and teaching and the partners will jointly appoint a chair in cyber security and data science.

Accountants and Deakin U

The feds are funding the Institute of Public Accountants and Deakin U’s SME Research Centre to help accountants recognise and support clients, staff and themselves dealing with mental health issues. There’s $2.24m for 2022.

ATN finds thinks to like about Linkages

The Australian Technology Network thinks positive on new industry fund

The Australian Technology Network’s response to the proposed new uni-industry linkage fund is a model of clarity and courtesy.  The National Priorities and Industry Linkage Fund will allocate block grants to universities for work on integrated learning and industry connections.

The ATN finds things to like in the NPILF prop, for example, that “it sends an important signal to universities and industry about the importance of collaboration and partnerships.” But ATN also points out, “while there are benefits from ensuring the businesses engage with a similar and structured approach across the sector, it is by encouraging universities to develop new ideas that we can improve our industry engagement.”

ATN also comments on the proposed funding metrics. “The wide range of indicators allows universities not to be overly worried about meeting simplistic and compliance focused metrics, but it does have the potential to introduce more complexity.”

ATN chair Attila Brungs (UTS VC) chaired the VC group appointed by Education Minister Dan Tehan to advise on the fund’s design.

Murdoch U management does not muck around

The university has abolished a college PVC role

Last month the university proposed ending the present two-college model, rolling all academic units into one structure (CMM October 28). And now after consulting “with directly affected employees” Provost Romy Lawson announces it is done. Grant O’Neill who has been PVC of both colleges now gets to run all schools.

Medical research funding: how much and where

Apart from it’s not being enough according to lobby groups – how much does Australia actually spend on medical research?

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare  reports spending for 2018-19.

All public and private spending measured in constant dollars was $6.297bn – up from $5,794bn in -18-19 and well ahead of the previous peak of $6.11bn in 2013-14.

The growth over two decades is substantial, 1998-’99 the all-sources constant dollar figure was $1.38bn.

Public spending was $5.88bn in ’18-19, up on $5.78bn in ’13-’14.

Non-government funding was $412m, marginally down on the previous year and not that much higher than the previous peak of $395m in 2009-09.

In terms of state shares of total funding, it is NSW and Victoria and then daylight.

NSW researchers had $2.07bn and Victorians $1.81bn in ’18-’19 with Queensland third at $1bn. The ACT is fourth at $554m. Queensland is the big improver, with research spending growing from $177m in ’96-’97 to $1bn.

Apart from a one-off spike in NSW in ’07-’08 researchers in Victoria received the biggest share of non-government funding until 2010-11, when NSW established a continuing lead. The most recent figures are Victoria $128m and NSW $178m.

Charles Sturt U making all the friends it can

CSU’s political offensive charm-offensive continues, hosting federal comms minister Paul Fletcher and Senator Perin Davey (Nats-NSW) at the Wagga Wagga campus

The pair were there for briefing on CSU’s digital ag tech.. It follows a campus visit by NSW higher education minister Geoff Lee and local MPs Wes Fang and Joe McGirr (CMM November 2).

Making friends in political places is needed indeed, considering federal regional education minister Andrew Gee is a vocal critic of CSU’s refusal to release an independent report on its finances (CMM October 26). Mr Gee’s electorate includes two CSU campus towns. And the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency tells CMM that education portfolio minister Dan Tehan has asked it to look at CSU’s financial status (CMM November 5).

Appointments, achievements

The Australian Business Deans Council announces the winners of its inaugural awards

Professional management: Hayley Harkin, and “additional team members”, Benji Zorella, Elisa Cassin (Swinburne U)

International education: Andrew Paltridge and Ashleigh Burns (QUT)

Teaching and learning: Prashan Shayanka Mendis Karunaratne (Macquarie U)

Research: Helen Nguyen (Uni Sydney) with Sharon Parker (Curtin U), Markus Groth (UNSW), Anya Johnson (Uni Sydney), Karyn Wang (Uni Sydney) and Shanta Dey (Uni Sydney)

The Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association announces the 2020 Sidney Sax Medal for development/improvement of healthcare. Joint winners are the ANU’s Bushfire Impact Working Group and Patricia Turner, from the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation.

Thomas King leaves Griffith U, where he is deputy chief digital officer. He moves to Microsoft to be industry executive for HE.

Helen Milroy (UWA) and Gordon Parker (UNSW) are joint winners of the Australian Mental Health Prize for 2020.

John Wardle Architects is a winner in the education category of the National Architecture Awards for Uni Melbourne’s Ian Potter Southbank Centre. So is Lyons, with Silver Thomas Hanley, for Curtin U’s Midland campus project.