News & Views Index
January 2009



Australian Government Announces $100 Million Australian Solar Institute. Stanford Launches US$100 Million Institute Focusing On Energy Issues.    31/01/09

    The Australian government has made a commitment to develop cost-effective low-emission energy technologies and has set a renewable energy target of 20% by 2020. [More]


UK House of Commons Committee Rebukes Government's Chief Scientific Adviser for Failure to Adequately Defend Science in Policy-Making.    29/01/09  [More]


Canadian Government Cuts Research Spending Ups Micromanagement.    29/01/09

    For a government that says we canít pick winners and losers in the economy it seems to sure be willing to pick winners and losers in research rather than letting scientists make those determinations through peer review. [More]


Slow Dispersal of CO2 May Effect Climate Through to Next Millennium.    29/01/09

    New modelling indicates the C02 we're emitting will be slow to disappear and climate so slow to respond. [More]


French Researchersí Unions Threaten to Strike Indefinitely From Monday  2nd of February.    29/01/09

    Government says it plans to vigorously pursue implementing  the science and higher education reforms. [More]


Marc Abrahams Cautions: Beware the Poppy Seed Bagel.    29/01/09  [More]


Chief Scientist Launches Year of Astronomy and Fronts the Media in Europe.    28/01/09

    Australia's Chief Scientist, Australian National University Professor, Penny Sackett hopped over to Paris a couple of weeks ago to take part in the official opening of the International Year of Astronomy. [More]


National Science Week -- August 15-23, 2009.    27/01/09

     This year the federal government has allocated $500,000 to 40 projects submitted from all states, the ACT and the Northern Territory. [More]


European R&D as a Percentage of GDP Remains Stagnant, Still Well Above Australia's.    24/01/09  [More]


Secretary of Energy-Designate Steven Chu Fronts the Committee.    24/01/09

    Tuesday, January 13 was Physics Nobel Laureate Steven Chu's day to appear before the US Senate's Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. [More]


Science's Editor-in-Chief Talks Up Science Education.    24/01/09

    Bruce Alberts doesn't argue against the importance of imparting factual information but rather that there must be four parts to science education. [More]


New President of French Academy of Science Has His Say.    23/01/09

    What are your priorities as president? [More]


The Agonising Over Britain's RAE Continues.    22/01/09

    Vice-chancellors of big, research-intensive universities are particularly agitated claiming that continued selectivity is essential to maintain the quality of British academe. [More]


Following an Initial US$13 Billion Boost for US Science, Then What?    22/01/09

    Elias Zerhouni, former director of the NIH says: it's short-term wise but long-term ineffective. [More]


A Message from Washington.    21/01/09

    A reader of TFW who lives and works in Washington DC sent the following message which is making the rounds of the scientific computing cognoscenti. [More]


Science, Education and President Obama's Inauguration Address.    21/01/09

    While newly inaugurated US president Barack Obama made only a brief mention of science and education in his nineteen-minute inauguration address, it is worth noting if only to gauge what transpires in the coming months and years. [More]


Universities Australia Pleads for Increased Funding in May Budget.    19/01/09

     There are growing fears in Australia's academic community that the May budget will contain little in the way of support for an education revolution so far as the tertiary education sector is concerned. [More]


 Science and the President-Elect.    16/01/09

    This week both Nature and  Science feature the relationship between scientists and the US president-elect, Barack Obama. [More]


Britain's RAE Demonstrates Its Futility as the Russell Group Flails to Keep Lion's Share of HEFCE Funding.    16/01/09 [More]


Official Launch of the International Year of Astronomy.    14/01/09

    Tomorrow and Friday, will mark the official launch of the International Year of Astronomy (IYA) with a ceremony in Paris. Australia's representatives will include Senator Kim Carr and Chief Scientist astronomer Penny Sackett. [More]


President of the National Tertiary Education Union Pens a Bottom Line.    14/01/09

    An appropriate response [by the government] would be the phased introduction of the Bradley funding recommendations. [More]


The Smartest Guy in the Room.    13/01/09

    Colleagues say he "always has to be the smartest guy in the room". Of course in an awful lot of cases he is. [More]


Rising Above the Gathering Storm.    12/01/09

    Thereís simply no shortcut for a stimulus that stimulates minds not just salaries. [More


Is New Zealand's Performance Based Research Funding (PBRF) Detrimental to Research Quality?    09/01/09

    The primary goal of the PBRF is to ensure that excellent research in the tertiary education sector is encouraged and rewarded. [More]


Nobel Laureate: Funding Crisis for Science May Find Its Solution.    09/01/09

    The 2006 Nobel Laureate in Medicine or Physiology, Craig Mello, has had a letter published in this week's Science which may in fact presage the economic stimulus package of US president-elect Barack Obama. [More]


ANU's Vice-Chancellor Urges Government to Implement Higher Education Review's Recommendations But Questions Vouchers.    09/01/09
    The Australian National University's vice-chancellor, Ian Chubb, back from his stay in the UK has urged Australia's Labor government to commit to the implementation of the Bradley Review of Higher Education. [More]


While Australia's Cutler and Bradley Reviews Await Their White Papers, New US Congress Signals its Intentions.    08/01/09

     US House [of Representatives'] Democratic leaders have strongly signalled their support for including research, training, and scientific equipment in a massive economic recovery package. [More]


Greens Senator Christine Milne Gives Environment Minister Peter Garrett a Right Swift Serve.    06/01/09

    Regarding approval of the Gunns' pulp-mill project for Tasmania's Tamar Valley... [More]


The Development of Indicators for the ERA.     05/01/09

    It's reminiscent of the inexorable evolution of a gaseous cloud of certain mass as it condenses in space... [More]


Nature and Science Report and Comment on the UK's 2008 Research Assessment Exercise.    03/01/09

    The results of Britain's Research Assessment Exercise (RAE 2008) were published just a fortnight ago and to date comment is focused as much on its promised successor as on the results per se. [More]


A Science Adviser is Only as Effective as the President Wants Him to Be.    02/01/09

    And a Prime Minister's is only as effective as the Prime Minister wants her to be. [More]


The Obama Transition Seems to have Impressed Just About Everyone in Washington DC With Its Speed, Diligence, Expertise and Openness.    01/01/09 [More]


US University Endowments Taking a Big Hit.    01/01/09

     By November the value of Harvard's mid-year endowment had dropped 22% [More = less]