The union lists 43 academic units it claims lack proper work-level agreements  


plus: VU aces tennis tactics: with a three million data-point analysis

New National Computational Infrastructure chief announced

and: best of SA – scientist of the year shortlists announced

From Parkville to the Stars

The University of Melbourne is building its own satellite with a hoped launch in 2021. The one-metre wingspan 24kg SkyHopper cubesat will have a telescope to search for earth-like planets, presumably where VC Glyn Davis can establish a branch campus when he steps down at the end of 2018.

Tuckwells announced  

ANU announces the 2018 Tuckwell scholars

The  25 students will receive $21 000 a year for up to five years while studying at the university. The programme started in 2013 and is funded by philanthropists Graham and Louise Tuckwell.

The Tuckwells have since extended their support for ANU to include funding for new halls of residence, with a total commitment of $200m over 30 years.

This year’s scholars divide all but evenly on gender and private/public schooling.

Open Day of the Day

At Griffith U’s OD you can learn “how to knit yourself healthy” with occupational therapy courses (via Twitter, yesterday). Wait till the Medical Research Future Fund hears about this.

New head of NCI

Sean Smith to lead the National Computational Infrastructure

University of New South Wales computational chemist Sean Smith will become director of the National Computational Infrastructure in January.

The ANU based NCI provides computing services to government research agencies, universities and medical research institutes.  It has the country’s fastest supercomputer which rates 70th in the world with 1.67 petaflops (the Chinese National Supercomputing Centre has a 93 petaflop capacity).

Professor Smith is now founding director of UNSW’s Integrated Materials Design Centre. He is a former director the US research centre for nanophase material science at the Oakridge National Laboratory in Tennessee.

ELICOS standards review

New rules are proposed for the English language learner sector

The federal government has issued a consultation draft of national ELICOS standards, which enjoys peak-body support. Patrick Pheasant from the National ELT Accreditation Scheme tells CMM that NEASendorses the federal government’s new draft of ELICOS standards as minimum standards for English Language courses delivered to international students and will continue to work closely with the national regulators TEQSA and ASQA to ensure these standards are being adhered to.”

Airborne at UWA

Tom Maclaurin has built a drone that flies longer and cheaper than products on the market

The University of Western Australia law undergraduate won the university’s student start-up of the year prize last month and (CMM June 16), understandably so. His drone can fly for six hours and monitor surface conditions via sensors, images or video. It’s suited to saving time and money in uses from monitoring crops to watching sharks. According to the university yesterday, Mr Maclaurin is now looking for investors and collaborators. But while it is kind of the university to give his product a plug (he got a run in Perth media yesterday) surely UWA’s research commercialisation team is on the case.

Serving up big data

An analysis of 2m tennis points reveals how peak players perform

It’s only Tuesday but CMM is calling the worst timing of the week award for Victoria U, with an announcement of tennis research the day after the men’s Wimbledon final.

But Stephanie Kovalchik and colleagues aced it for an analysis of how people play. They analysed three million points in 20 000 singles matches on the professional tennis tour between 2011 and 2015 to find psychological patterns in the way players respond to game situations. “It’s at the point-level where we can begin to identify changes and patterns in a player’s effectiveness,” she says.

In one finding that will astound as many as no one Dr Kovalchik adds, “one of the patterns we found was that the big four – Djokovic, Federer, Murray and Nadal – have a champion’s mentality, characterised by cool-headedness on serve and adaptability on return.”

The overall research is designed to deliver intel that Tennis Australia wants. It has established a $2m co-investment research partnership with VU.

Bay watch winners

Damien Maher from Southern Cross U has won the Cronin Award for Early Achievement from the Coastal and Estuarine Research Federation. Dr Maher holds an ARC DECRA fellowship and works on carbon biogeochemistry. SCU’s Isaac Santos won the Cronin in 2011.

Critics’ choice

A theatre site lists its choice of drama schools

If there are disciplines that are actually under-resourced for league tables they are surely in the performing arts (no THE and QS this is not a suggestion). So, thanks to theatre website StageMilk for providing its pick of Australian theatre schools.

In order listed they are: the National Institute of Dramatic Art, the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (at Edith Cowan U), the Actors Centre Australia (Sydney), QUT and the Victorian College of the Arts (UniMelbourne).  Yes, this is entirely subjective, not entirely unlike the big academic rankings which use surveys employer and academic opinions of top schools.

Cash for crunchers

The Melbourne Business School Datathon winners are announced

The competition involved 60 starting teams using big data sets to address business problems and public policy issues as part of the MBS Business Analytics Conference.

The Ordinary Least Squires (sorry, no idea) team took out the $12 500 main prize for a proposal to identify Victorian regions with low child immunisation rates and locate immunisation vans in shopping centres there. The student prize went to the Deep Thinking team of UniMelb and RMIT PhD students for a plan to identify leading causes of preventable deaths so that interventions are possible.

Measuring, or not, who does what

Monash University is in breach of its enterprise agreement on academic workloads in 43 operating units, according to the campus union  

University management and the National Tertiary Education Union have been in dispute over the development and application of staff workloads, as specified in the 2014 agreement, since late 2015 and has now lodged a dispute in the Fair Work Commission (CMM June 1 and yesterday).

In documents lodged with FWC, the union alleges management has variously not created workload models or has done so in breach of the enterprise agreement and “has failed to develop and maintain models through collegial processes.”

The union lists academic units across the university which it claims have not created compliant models and states there are faculty-wide failures in IT, Law and Pharmacy.

The union’s move into FWC follows long discussions with management to settle the matter in-house. Late last month Monash management was proposing HR review all workload models with union oversight, but disputes on specific issues remain and the union is asking the FWC to direct the university to establish an agreement-compliant workload model within three months and for a joint management-union group do the work.

Monash U points out that FWC has not set a date to deal with the matter and that discussions had been continuing, “with a great deal of goodwill demonstrated by both sides in trying to find a resolution.”

The dispute is now in place as enterprise bargaining for a new agreement separately begins.

Best SA science

The South Australian science excellence shortlists are out

scientist of the year: Anton van den Hegel (UniAdelaide), Bronwyn Gillanders (UniAdelaide), Sharad Kumar (UniSA), James Paton (UniSA), Mike Bull (Flinders U)

PhD research excellence: Joel Fuller (UniSA), Hannah Wardill (UniAdelaide), Lee-anne Chapple (UniAdelaide)

tertiary STEM educator of the year: Mario Ricci (UniAdelaide), Claudio Szabo (UniAdelaide), Maurizio Costabile (UniSA)

research collaboration: UniAdelaide, Australian Centre for Visual Technologies and LBT Innovations for developing an intelligent medical device. South Australian Early Childhood Data Project for public data for public good. BP, CSIRO, South Australian Research and Development Iinstitute, UniAdelaide, Flinders U for Great Australian Bight Research Programme

STEM professional: Leah Cosgrove (CSIRO), Duncan Taylor (Forensic Science SA), Emilio De Stefano, (De Stefano and Co)