News & Views Index
May 2005



Dr Nelson, Voluntary Student Unions and     (27/05/05)

    Never under estimate the power of sports in Australia. [More]


To Gag or Not to Gag What's CSIRO's Policy.    (26/05/05)

    On May 14 TFW reported on the Face-off at the Gungahlin Homestead Coral where the Chief of CSIRO's Sustainable Ecosystems, Andrew Johnson, told a number of the division's Honourary Fellows, "They are guests of this division. They are not employees of the organisation... [and] are not entitled to make independent comment.." [More]


Two Sandstone V-Cs Tell the Federal Government Axing Compulsory Student Union Fees Will Mean the Australian Sports Commission's Elite Athlete Friendly Universities Network Won't Get Out of the Blocks.    (26/05/05) [More]


Newly Installed RMIT Vice-Chancellor Margaret Gardner Gives Her Inaugural Speech.    (24/05/05)

     Perhaps the new Vice-Chancellor of the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, Professor Margaret Garden went a bit over the top in suggesting, "We can take the strength that comes from offering both vocational and higher education qualifications and drawing on research by providing new combinations of these forms of education and training. [More]


Higher Education Policy Analyst at Griffith University has Just About Had Brendan Nelson and His Governmental Mates.     (18/05/05)

    Gavin Moodie is a regular contributor to  The Australian's Higher Education Section. Having ruminated on the Minister for Education, Science and Training, Brendan Nelson's, pre-budget announcement that there would be no change to the current method of indexation for university block grants and the Treasurer's budget he gives pithy air to his opinion. [More]


Harvard to Spend US$50 Million on Diversity.    (18/05/05)

    Harvard administrators announced on Monday a US$50 (A$66) million program to address the dearth of female students and faculty in the University's science departments. [More]


David Williamson, Cate Blanchett, Max Gillies and Over 200 Other Artists, Writers and Performers Call on the Federal Government to Abandon Its Legislation to Abolish Compulsory University Student Union Fees.    (17/05/05) [More]


AVCC Releases Its Submission on the Research Quality Framework (RQF).    (17/05/05)

    The Australian Vice-Chancellors' Committee has published its 21 page submission Enhancing Australia's core research capacity - developing a Research Quality Framework with its detailed proposal. [More]


Melbourne University's Vice-Chancellor Decries Federal Government's Higher Education Reforms. The Department Replies with Non Sequiturs.    (17/05/05)

    "It's not easy on the one hand when a federal minister criticises salaries for being too low... and on the other hand makes it clear that he is not prepared to provide any further income." [More]


Australia's Chief Scientist, Dr Robin Batterham Resigns.    (16/05/05) [More]


US National Academy of Sciences Report Caveats on Nuclear Bucker Busting Bombs -- Bush Administration Indifferent.    (16/05/05)

      On April 28 the US National Academy of Sciences released it report Effects of Nuclear Earth-Penetrator and Other Weapons (2005). There is little indication that US President George W Bush's Administration has taken any notice. [More]


Face-off at the Gungahlin Homestead Coral.    (14/05/05)

    In what may be one of the stupidest exhibitions of public relations by a member of CSIRO's administration, CSIRO Sustainable Ecosystems chief, Dr Andrew Johnson carpeted some thirteen of the division's honorary research fellows. [More]


Science, Research, the UK Universities Nature and "Save British Science".    (13/05/05)

    With regard to the research environment in the United Kingdom there seems to be a growing consensus that the times have definitely been a changing for the better but there is room to build on what has been accomplished so far. [More]


Kim Beazley Talks the Talk on Taxation in the 2005-06 Budget and a Little More.    (13/05/05)

    In rebuttal to the Federal Treasurer, Peter Costello, Mr Beazley mentioned what he considered to be certain deficiencies in the government's proposals other than matters of taxation per se that required urgent attention. [More]


The European Research Council Moves a Step Closer to Reality.    (12/05/05)

    The concept of a European Research Council (ERC) was born just three years ago. "Fed up with the large projects that strangled their research in top-down bureaucracy, science leaders began calling for a European body more like the U.S. National Science Foundation or the National Institutes of Health." [More]


United States Postal Service Honours Four Scientists Among Its 2005 Commemorative Issues.    (12/05/05)

The issuance on May 4 honours four American scientists: geneticist Barbara McClintock, mathematician John von Neumann, physicist Richard Feynman, and thermodynamicist Josiah Willard Gibbs. [More]


"There Are Two Really Big Issues for Universities Now: Indexation and Research." -- Denise Bradley, V-C USA.    (11/05/05)

    The Vice-Chancellor of the University of South Australia, Professor Denise Bradley had set her hopes deliberately low for this year's federal budget as a safeguard against disappointment. [More]


A Window to the 2005/06 Federal Budget Papers.    (11/05/05) [More]


A Giant Misstep in the War on Cancer?    (10/05/05)

    In a "Commentary" in Nature Biotechnology George Miklos takes issue with a US$12 billion proposal to sequence human cancer genomes which protagonists claim is the road to curing cancer. [More]


A Vision of the Future for Australian Universities Education as Dictated by Brendan Nelson and Interpreted by Monash's Simon Marginson.    (10/05/05) [More]


The Australian Academy of Science Has Its Say Regarding the Research Quality Framework.    (09/05/05)

    On April 28, on behalf of the Australian Academy of Science (AAS) its President, Jim Peacock, wrote to the Department of Education, Science and Training with regard to the proposed Research Quality Framework. [More]


Irrespective of His Erudition, Ecologist Hugh Tyndale-Biscoe Remains a Voice in the Wilderness.    (08/05/05)

    Dr Hugh Tyndale-Biscoe, pioneering CSIRO researcher on the evolution and biology of marsupials told an audience of about 60 at the launch of a new addition of his seminal text, Life of Marsupials, that good science could not flourish 'in a climate of excessive top-down planning'. [More]


The Sydney Morning Herald Undertakes an Investigation of Australia's Quality of University Teaching.    (07/05/05)

    The lead for a series of articles in the Saturday May 7 issue of The Sydney Morning Herald reads "Australia's universities have become so financially dependent on foreign students that their viability hinges entirely on that market." [More]


One of Dr Nelson's Greatest Spins, or Has He Now Put A New Gag Writer on His Staff.    (06/05/05)

    On May 4 the Minister for Education, Science and Training, Brendan Nelson, released two research reports commissioned by it from the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS): Salary Relativities and the Academic Labour Market and Australian Academic Salaries Time Series Project 1977-2002. [More]


A Member of the US House of Representatives Calls on Scientists to Fight Budget Cuts.    (06/05/05)

    The U.S. Representative for Tennessee's Sixth Congressional District  is Democrat Bart Gordon. In a letter to Science he writes, The funding levels requested by the Bush Administration for 2006 represent a decrease in science and technology funding across the board. Underfunding science and technology research and education today is short-sighted. [More]


Celera Calls It Quits So Far as Making a Profit from Genomic Information Per Se.    (05/05/05)

    The genome sequencing powerhouse, Celera, which under the guidance of Craig Venter, pushed the publicly funded human genome project in a race to completion leaves the field. [More]


The Innovative Research Universities of Australia (IRUA), the Australian Technology Network (ATN) and the Federation of Australian Scientific and Technological Societies (FASTS) Voice their Views Regarding the Proposed Research Quality Framework (RQF).    (05/05/05) [More]


Voluntary Student Unions and the Fat of the Nation.    (05/05/05)

    It hasn't made the back pages of the capital city tabloids... yet, but it may at which point the issue could become serious. [More]