News & Views Index
December 2006



Expert Panel, Chaired by Australia's Chief Scientist, Questions Findings by PM's Nuclear Power Task Force but the Charade Continues.    (29/12/06)

    "The [Prime Minister's nuclear] taskforce underestimated the challenges confronting Australia, should it choose to expand the industry. What has it underestimated?" [More]


Nature Publishes a Feature on "Biofuelling the Future".    (28/12/06)

    The journal Nature published a ten-page business feature in its December 7, 2006) issue in which it assesses "[t]he idea of using living plants as a way to capture the all-but-unlimited energy of the Sun..." [More]


UK Science After Blair.    (27/12/06)

    With the announced departure of Tony Blair from Britain's prime ministership and the probability of the Chancellor, Gordon Brown, replacing him, there is a mixture of anticipation and trepidation as to the future of UK science policy. [More]


Australian Council of Science Deans (ACDS) President Sees Urgent Need for More Properly Trained Science Teachers.    (22/12/06)

    Urgent action by universities and governments must be taken to meet the exodus of well-qualified science teachers from the workforce in Australia as they reach retirement age according to UTS Dean of Science Professor John Rice. [More]


Oxford Law Fellow Blasts White Paper on University Governance.    (21/12/06)

    Nicholas Bamforth is a Fellow in Law at the Queen's College, Oxford. In an incisive opinion piece for the December 20 Guardian he says Oxford's refusal to board the "managerialism" bandwagon was an important result for all universities. [More]


Kevin Rudd Gives Some Hints on Education Policy but the Detail Awaits Enunciation.    (20/12/06)

    In an opinion piece in today's Australian the leader of the Labor opposition, Kevin Rudd states several generalisations regarding where he stands on education. [More]


Oxford Dons Vote No On Reform Proposals.    (20/12/06)

    2,537, i.e. 67.3% of those eligible to cast a vote. The results, tallied yesterday, were 1,540 (60.7%) against, 997 (39.3%) for the plans to reorganise the university's governance. [More]


The Summer Solstice -- the Silly Season is Almost Upon Us -- and The Queen of Hearts is Instituting a Review of the Impact of the Nelsonian Reformation.    (19/12/06)

    The Minister for Education Science and Training, Julie Bishop, being unable to think of anything useful to do for Australia's universities has decided to launch a two year review into the impact of the Higher Education Support Act of 2003 on the higher education sector. [More]


Ms Bishops Throws Away $87 Million on Her Micro Equivalent of the International Space Station / US Space Shuttle.    (18/12/06)

    An $87 million boost to Australia's basic research budget? Or an $87 million addition for the enabling sciences? Just two of numerous useful avenues of support for Australia's university research? Don't be Silly, of course not. [More]


Chief of CSIRO Mathematical and Information Sciences Supports Maths and Stats Review Findings and Recommendations.    (16/12/06)

    Dr Murray Cameron, Chief of CSIRO Mathematical and Information Sciences. has strongly supported the findings and recommendations of the international review which finds that the future of the mathematical sciences in Australia is in jeopardy. [More]


International Committee Finds "The Future of Mathematical Sciences in Australia is in Jeopardy".    (14/12/06)

    The year-long review, released today, concludes representation of mathematics and statistics in Australia's university sector is dangerously deficient and recommends an immediate injection of funds to rebuild university mathematics and statistics departments, the protection of their autonomy, and ensuring the future of the Australian Mathematical Science Institute (AMSI). [More]


Steven Smith and Labor's White Paper -- Australia’s Universities: Building our Future in the World.     (13/12/06)

    Federal Labor's Opposition education and training spokesman Stephen Smith says he specifically asked his leader, Kevin Rudd for the job but admits, "I don't hide from the fact that I've got a lot of work to do." [More]


Labor Shadow Cabinet Splits Science and Research from Education and Training.     (11/12/06)

    As announced yesterday by the newly elected leader of the federal Labor opposition, Kevin Rudd, Steven Smith will handle the shadow portfolios of education and training while Senator Kim Carr has been given responsibility for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research. [More]


UK Government Releases Overall Parameters for Its Research Assessment Exercise Post 2008.    (08/12/06)

    Research in science, engineering and technology will not be subject to peer review to assess funding after 2008, according to a statement issued by the UK government yesterday. [More]


Who is Shi Zhengrong and What Lesson Might He Have?    (07/12/06)

    "People at all levels in China have become more aware of this environment issue and alternative energy," said Dr. Shi. "Five years ago when I started the company people said: 'Why do we need solar? We have a surplus of coal-powered electricity." [More]


House of Representatives Endorses Somatic Cell Nuclear Transfer (Therapeutic Cloning)  on an 82 to 62 Conscience Vote.    (07/12/06)

    Previously the Senate had approved the bill with a one vote majority. [More]


The Research Quality Framework and the Wasted Hours Continue.    (06/12/06)

    So far the Federal Ministers for Education, Science and Training, Julie Bishop and Brendan Nelson before her have wasted thousands of personnel hours in pushing a barrow with a square wheel. [More]


An Exercise in Obfuscation -- Nuclear Power Good ? -- Nuclear Power Bad? Part II.    (06/12/06)

    CSIRO has released a 120 page report following a two-year analysis which describes the results of deliberations of the "Energy Futures Forum" to determine the means of engaging in developing and assessing pathways for the future of energy in Australia. [More]


Six of the 25 Highest Endowed US Universities are Public.    (06/12/06)

    US universities use endowment fund income for a wide range of needs, from salaries to scholarships to capital improvements. According to Bloomberg endowments at Harvard and Yale pumped out $1.6 billion last year, supplying about a third of the schools' operating budgets. [More]


Deciphering the Information Coded in DNA -- Sequencing Was the Easy Part.    (04/12/06)

     Helen Pearson's News Feature in Nature's November 16 issue "Codes and Enigmas" points out that now DNA sequencing is getting to the stage that new complete sequences of genomes from mammals to viruses is no longer front page news. [More]


European Parliament Approves €53 Billion Seventh Framework Programme (FP7).    (03/12/06)

    The European Parliament has approved a record budget for the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7), €53 billion (A$89 billion), for 7 years funding. [More]


Chair of Group of Eight Calls for Full Deregulation of University Fees.    (01/12/06)

    Glyn Davis, Chair of the Group of Eight and Vice-Chancellor of Melbourne University has called on the Federal Government to deregulate the price of degrees and let universities charge what they like. [More]


Royal Society's President, Martin Rees, Calls for Academics to Make Their Voices More Clearly Heard.    (01/12/06)

    The Royal Society's president and the UK's Astronomer Royal, Martin Rees, has outlined his concerns during a ceremony to honour Professor Stephen Hawking for his contribution to theoretical physics. [More]