The Australian | 24 October 2012
The Commonwealth government’s $500 million cut in research funds has driven a wedge into the sector, pitting the student access and expansion agenda against the research funding that drives global rankings for elite research universities.
Group of Eight chairman and University of NSW vice-chancellor Fred Hilmer has slammed the delay in new money for indirect research costs, blaming the blowout in the cost of the government’s “ill conceived” uncapping of student places. But he immediately put offside those universities that have aggressively expanded places.
Greg Craven, vice-chancellor of the fast-growing Australian Catholic University, hit back, saying Hilmer’s comments were “evidence of the sort of atrocious policy awareness that has made universities easy targets for decades. You can rely on universities to turn on each other if you cut them.”
While newly installed University of Queensland vice-chancellor Peter Hoj appeared to back Hilmer’s concerns about the expansion of student places, Go8 colleague Ed Byrne at Monash distanced himself.