News & Views Index
May 2007


French President Nicolas Sarkozy Sports Some Further Trappings for French Science.    (31/05/07)

  Not only Science and Higher Education will be represented in cabinet minister, but ecology and sustainable development, have been moved to a top-rank "super ministry", with a former prime minister, Alain Juppé, as head. [More]


New York Governor, Eliot Spitzer Calls for Overhaul of the State's Higher Education System.    (30/05/07)

  In the November 2006 election the then New York State Attorney General, a Democrat, was elected Governor of the State of New York. He has announced he wants to bring the quality and reputation of the State University of New York (SUNY) to be the equal of the University of California system. [More]


French President Makes Ministry for Research and Higher Education a Cabinet Position... But.    (26/05/07)

    The newly elected President of France, Nicolas Sarkozy, has assigned a full cabinet minister to Research and Higher Education rather than allowing it to remain in the junior ministry. [More]


The Finnish Monthly 6-Degrees and Higher Education in Finland.    (25/05/07)

    The cover story in the Finnish monthly 6-Degrees opens with: "The entrance exams to Finland’s universities are tough and gaining admission requires months – sometimes years – of determined study. [More]


Julian Cribb Make Some Cogent Points, But Will Either Major Political Party Listen?    (24/05/07)

    Julian Cribb is adjunct professor of science communication at the University of Technology, Sydney. [More]


Culture Schmultzer, Who Needs It?    (24/05/07)

    The University of New South Wales is licking its wounds regarding the collapse of its Singapore campus at the cost of tens of millions of dollars, with Vice-chancellor Fred Hilmer reasoning for The Australian, "The idea was to have [eventually] a new campus with 10,000-plus students and... it just wasn't going to happen. [More]


Will a Rose with a New Name Smell More Sweet.    (23/05/07)

    Last year the Australian Vice-Chancellors' Committee undertook a survey which determined among other findings that federal parliamentarians considered the AVCC to be a club of whingers always bellyaching that they weren't getting enough. [More]


UK Nobelist Harry Kroto and Australian Emeritus Professor of History Alan Ward Tell Us the Universities Got Problems.    (22/05/07) [More]


Europe Sees Asian Universities as Rapidly Approaching Stiff Competition.    (21/05/07)

    The European Commissioner for Education, Jan Figel's believes "British, French and German universities will be overtaken by those in China and India within a decade unless they improve quality and access. [More]


The Conundrum That is Gordon Brown.    (17/05/07)

    In just six weeks time Britain's Chancellor of the Exchequer, Gordon Brown (56), will take over the Prime Ministership from Tony Blair. The effect that transition will have on on the UK's and particularly England's academe and research, scientific and otherwise is by no means clear. [More]


A Touch of Smoke and Mirrors Accompanies the $5 billion Higher Education Endowment Fund.    (16/05/07)

    Michael Gallagher, Soon to be the executive director for the Group of Eight, knows a thing or two about the workings of the political mind. [More]


Re-imagining Science Education.    (15/05/07)

    The 80 page article making up today's Australian Education Review No 51, "Re-imagining Science Education: Engaging students in science for Australia's future" by Russell Tytler is a condemnation of current science and maths teaching in the Australian schools. [More]


Maths Crisis Gets Broadsheet's Attention.    (15/05/07)

    At the beginning of April over 500 Australian and international mathematicians sent an open letter to the Australian Prime Minister, John Howard, urging government action to revive the nation's ailing mathematical sciences. Perhaps there's a photon at the end of the tunnel. [More]


"Left Liberal Bias in Academia" is Fuelling Perception the Coalition is Not Interested In Universities Says John Howard.    (14/05/07)

    "Many people would argue that the foundation of the modern university system in this country was in fact laid down when Menzies was prime minister of this country," and the Coalition's $5billion Higher Education Endowment Fund is "only a beginning". [More]


US is Sweating on Improving Interest in Maths and Science as Much as is Australia.    (14/05/07)

    A draft plan, drawn up by the board that oversees the National Science Foundation addresses what is seen as the increasing problem of attracting sufficient students to the disciplines of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). [More]


Global Deforestation Through Burning a Significant Source of Greenhouse Gases.    (14/05/07)

    In the April 27 issue of Science Eli Kintisch writes of the increasingly sophisticated use of satellite monitoring of global deforestation and makes the point. [More]


I Seriously Believe this Budget is the Best News for Australian Universities for Decades -- Gavin Brown, V-C Sydney University.    (12/05/07)

    The vice-chancellor of The University of Sydney was close to ecstatic when the Federal Treasurer, Peter Costello, announced the $5 billion Educational Endowment Fund. [More]


Higher Education in Europe is 80% Financed by Public Funding Reports Agence France-Presse.    (11/05/07)

    But costs to students are rising, according to a study published Thursday by Euridyce. [More]


Give Me Your Universities and I'll Give Them a $5bn Endowment.    (10/05/07)

    The Minister for Education. Science and Training, Julie Bishop is back with the mailed fist inside the cement glove. [More]


$5 bn Higher Education Endowment Fund to Fund University Infrastructure and Enhance the Nation's Research Effort.    (09/05/07)

    The endowment is expected to yield a dividend of about 6% per annum, i.e. $300 million. The scheme is expected to grow with further budget injections and the dividends are to fund new university infrastructure and boost Australia's research efforts. [More]


The 2007/08 Federal Government's Science and Innovation Budget.    (09/05/07)

    Peter Pockley says, "Over all portfolios, there is an increase of $171.9 million in 2007-08 over the "estimated actual" for 2006-07; i.e. 2.7%, almost exactly the rate of inflation." [More]


CSIRO Accused of "Push Polling" to Obtain Support for Clean Coal Technology.     (08/05/07)

    The Canberra Times Rosslyn Beeby has a disconcerting piece in today's edition. [More]


Newly Elected President of France, Nicolas Sarkozy, and the Potential for French Science.    (07/05/07)

    On the 19th of April the journal Nature published an editorial and a series of interviews regarding the views on science policy of the then three leading candidates vying for the French presidency. As it has turned out, Nicolas Sarkozy has emerged triumphant, so that as of May 7, 2007 his views are the only ones of concern. [More]


Veto of the Destruction of Human Life.    (06/05/07)

    The American Physical Society's, Bob Park, can exhibit a grim sense of humour on not infrequent occasions.  In this week's What's New blog he quotes the following item. [More]


Malcolm Turnbull Continues to Lead the Charge for the Good of Our Environment -- Senator Bob Brown isn't Convinced.    (06/05/07)

    The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issued its fourth assessment report on Saturday. [More]


The New York Times' Thomas Friedman Drops in on Australia and Has a Quick Chat With the Prime Minister and Others.    (04/05/07) [More]


It's That Time of Year When the Controlled Budget Leaks Surface.    (04/05/07)

    With the estimated surplus in the Federal Governments coffers of $12bn - $15bn and an opposition that looks menacing this election year even academe may be in for a morsel. AAP reports, "University research and further measures to tackle Australia's skills shortage are likely to be the focus of new education spending in the federal budget." [More]


Richard Mulgan Has Some Advice as to How Glyn Davis Can Get Real Support for His New Look University.    (02/05/07)

    While Peter Høj on leaving his 30 month stint as chief executive of the Australian Research Council (he takes up the vice-chancellorship of the University of South Australia next month) told The Australian's Dorothy Illing what he thought of the interventionist policies of former Minister for Education, Science and Training, Brendan Nelson, Richard Mulgan offered some advice to Melbourne University  V-C Glyn Davis. [More]