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Universities Australia – Election 2016 – Statements

Keep it Clever: Policy Statement 2016 Australia is at an economic and productivity crossroads. In an era of sweeping change, other nations are seizing the future with investments in higher education, research, innovation and skills. Australia now faces a stark choice: we either make our own investment—or we fall behind those nations that do. Equipping ourselves for the dramatic economic transformation ahead is an urgent task. Indeed, our future prosperity depends on it. That’s why we need a new contract with the Australian public—supported by political bipartisanship—that grasps the direct link between our national investment in education, research and innovation, and Australia’s economic … [Read more...]

A lecture on quantum physics

4 May 2016 ………………………………………………… During Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's visit to Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in April 2016, a journalist jokingly asked the Prime Minister to explain quantum computing. He called their bluff with a spot-on explanation.  ………………………………………………… See Prime Minister Justin Trudeau lauds “cutting-edge research” at Perimeter 2611 … [Read more...]

A bloke with a scope

Amateur  astronomer discovers a galaxy far, far away  Canberra Times    |    6 January 2016 ……………………………………………………………………………………………………… As captain of the Australian strongman team, Michael Sidonio conquered the physical world, but his past achievements pale beside the astronomical find he helped uncover. With a paper in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Sidonio, a security controller at the ACT's Legislative Assembly, and his co-authors announced the existence of NGC 253-dw2, a new galaxy. …………………………………………………………………………………….......…… One clear night, from his tiny observatory on the outskirts of Canberra, Sidonio captured what he thought was a beautiful photograph of a … [Read more...]

The Scan’s year

Summer edition 2016 __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ The Scan in 2015 This year’s top ten reads were heavily skewed towards the “VET crisis” and attempts by authorities (rather belatedly in our view) to stamp out the obvious rorting, particularly in VET FEE-HELP funding, which has been truly scandalous. In fact, the number one post this year on The Scan is also the number one post of all time and by quite a bit. If you enter “rorting” in the … [Read more...]

50 Future Fellowships announced

17 December 2015 ……………………………………………………………………………………………………… The Australian Research Council has announced grants of $38.6 million to support 50 Future Fellows at 17 universities.  The Future Fellowship scheme provides four-year fellowships to outstanding Australian mid-career researchers. The aim of Future Fellowships is to attract and retain the best and brightest mid-career researchers in Australia rather than head off overseas to advance their careers.  Details of the approved projects are HERE. …………………………………………………………………………………….......……   Future Fellowships 2015 funding outcomes—Snapshot by State and Organisation Administering Organisation Total number of projects Total … [Read more...]

The Scan #175 11 December 2015

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ News __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ VET FEE-HELP skewering system   11 December 2015      |       Explosive growth in the VET FEE-HELP scheme has masked massive direct public disinvestment in vocational education and training. While a report by NCVER shows a notional growth of 1.7% in 2014 over 2013 (plus $141.0 million, from $8512.4 million to $8653.4 million), it’s all in VET-FEE Help payments: actual direct expenditure by governments, … [Read more...]

Australian university research quality soars

Universities Australia    |    4 December 2015 ……………………………………………………………………………………………………… The inaugural State of Australian University Research 2015–16: Volume 1 ERA National Report comprehensively details the quality of Australian university research benchmarked against world standards.  It identifies the excellence in research across a broad range of universities and the outstanding performances in areas of specialisation. Overall the quality of Australian university research continues to improve. …………………………………………………………………………………….......…… The report confirms Australia's university research performance is amongst the best in the world. In 2015, 89% of the assessed research areas in … [Read more...]

Innovating an “Ideas Boom”

7 December 2015 ……………………………………………………………………………………………………… Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull unveiled his much-anticipated Innovation Statement, saying he wanted to drive an "ideas boom".  The statement allocates almost $1.1 billion over the next four years to promote business-based research, development and innovation. …………………………………………………………………………………….......…… Key measures A key focus of the plan revolves around strengthening ties between the business community, universities and scientific institutions. A $200 million innovation fund will co-invest in businesses that develop technology from the CSIRO and Australian universities. CSIRO will also get an extra $20 million to help … [Read more...]

9 surprising Australian innovations that changed the world

5 December 2015 ……………………………………………………………………………………………………… This post on Science Alert by Fiona McDonald, celebrating Australian innovation, was sponsored by Universities Australia as part of its Keep it Clever campaign.  The campaign website includes an online petition. …………………………………………………………………………………….......…… By now, most Australians know that our university researchers were behind the invention of the bionic ear, but more often than not, the world tends to focus more on our venomous snakes and spiders and overly muscular kangaroos than anything coming out of our labs. But the reality is that Australia puts out 3.9% of the world's research, with only 0.3% of the world's population, … [Read more...]

Universities Australia News

A spirit of optimism has buoyed the sector in recent months. We anticipate a further boost to confidence with the Turnbull Government's release of its Innovation and Science Agenda. For this HIGHER ED.ITION, we’ve invited opinion pieces from some key figures across the sector. Stay tuned for others early next year. In one of his first opeds in the portfolio, Education Minister Simon Birmingham lays out some key challenges: how to fund higher education sustainably, how to stimulate even more excellence and innovation, how to expand the impact of publicly-funded research, and how to reach a consensus on the higher education needs of students, industry and institutions. In his contribution, … [Read more...]