News & Views Index
September 2007




Andrew Charlton Comments on Mr Howard's "Ulterior Motives".    (30/09/07)

    "From his first days in government, Howard wanted to reshape Australian universities. His first budget contained dramatic cuts to higher education..." [More]


Professor Sir Leszek Borysiewicz Named New Head of the UK's Medical Research Council.    (29/09/07)

    Sir Leszek Borysiewicz is the current deputy rector of Imperial College, London. His appointment as chief executive of the UK's Medical Research Council (MRC) has reassured scientists who were worried that the council was in danger of abandoning basic research in favour of research linked directly to applications. [More]


Oxford to Begin Construction of £29 million Extension to Bodleian Library.    (29/09/07)

    On August 8, 2007 TFW recorded "the Higher Education Funding Council for England (Hefce) has told Oxford it is not satisfied that the university meets the expected requirements of a publicly-funded higher education institution." [More]


A Word  of Political Advice from Alan Trounson.    (27/09/07)

    On 14 September Professor Alan Trounson, director of Monash University's  Institute of Reproduction and Development, was appointed president of the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine. [More]


Has Tertiary Education Got a Severe Case of the Why Bothereds?    (27/09/07)

    A short piece printed in the Higher Education Section of yesterday's Australian as of late this morning received not a single published comment despite a direct request. [More]


ARC Discovery Projects Funding Statistics Commencing in 2008.    (26/09/07)

    The Minister for Education, Science and Training, Julie Bishop, today announced that 878 new projects would receive $300.8 million over the next five years under the Australian Research Councilís Discovery Projects scheme. [More]


Microgravity Ups Bacterial Virulence.    (25/09/07)

    According to the Wikipedia entry: "The ISS has been, as of today, far more expensive than originally anticipated. The [European Space Agency] estimates the overall cost from the start of the project in the late 1980s to the prospective end in 2010 to be in the region of Ä100 (A$163) billion." [More]


Prime Minister's 2007 Prizes for Science Announced.    (24/09/07)

    The Prime Minister's Prize for Science, Life Scientist of the Year, Physical Scientist of the Year, Excellence in Primary School Science Teaching and Excellence in Secondary School Science Teaching were awarded last Wednesday. [More]


While Ms Bishop Pushes Her Flat Wheeled RQF Barrow and Labor's Senator Carr Extols Metrics+, Have a Think on This.    (21/09/07) [More


Science's Editorial Focuses on Australian Science During the Howard Years.    (21/09/07)

    The journal Science's editorial for September 21, 2007 gets the title "A Critical Vote Down Under". [More


The Age Backs OECD's Education at a Glance, Rebukes  Education Minister.    (21/09/07)

    The OECD's report Education at a Glance, 2007 was not at all kind in it's assessment of Australian governmental support for tertiary education and the federal Minister for Education, Science and Training was quick to labelled it as flawed. [More]


Melbourne University's V-C Has a Few Words of Advice For His Academic Colleagues.    (20/09/07)

    The University of Melbourne's vice-chancellor, Glyn Davis, gave a speech a last night to alumni of the university. [More]


Ms Bishop's Monster: the RQF -- Weapon for Mass Academic Destruction.    (19/09/07)

    An occasional reader of TFW and an observer of the passing academic scene overseas as well as in Oz brought to our attention an article in the August 7, 2007 issue of Current Biology by Peter Lawrence, "The Mismeasurement of Science". [More]


OECD Publishes Education at a Glance 2007: Australia Awarded a Curate's Egg.    (19/09/07)

    Toward the end of January this year TFW published an opinion piece Those Pesky Selected Statistics Keep Poking Through Like Weeds in Fallow Soil which commented: "Ms Bishop seems to have trouble in developing the variations and her counters to the data produced to hold her and her government to account. [More]


Monash's Alan Trounson to Take Over Leadership of the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine.    (18/09/07)

    ScienceNOW reports: "California has landed one of the biggest fish in the Pacific to head its stem cell venture." [More]


Keeping Oz as Is.    (17/09/07)

    The book The Nature of Northern Australia is available as a download from ANU Press. [More]


This Water's for Burning.    (15/09/07)

    Autumn doesn't officially come to the United States until the autumnal equinox so the silly season is still on; in fact an item from Bob Park's What's New the week indicates its rampant. [More]


Bernat Soria Escoms, Spainís Health Minister a Leader in Stem Cell Research.    (14/09/07)

Recently Science put the following three questions to him. [More]


Quality of School Education: The Senate Reports.    (14/09/07)

    On February 8 this year Australian Senate referred to the Senate Employment, Workplace Relations and Education Committee an inquiry into the current level of academic standards of school education. The 159 page report was published yesterday. [More]


Peer Review at the US National Institutes of Health Destined to Be Given an Extreme Makeover.    (13/09/07)

    The NHMRC's external audit will be looking toward an initiative currently being undertaken by the US National Institutes of Health. The US$29 billion dollar institution is looking into ways that it can usefully reform its peer review system. [More]


While the Madness of the RQF Rumbles on the NHMRC Undertakes an "External Audit".    (12/09/07)

    The chief executive of the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) says: "There's never been a review of the NHMRC's procedures and the funding vehicles and how well they serve the aims and purposes of the NHMRC and the strategic plan." [More]


Some Unsolicited Emails About A$136 Million Make Interesting Reading, Even If Academic.    (12/09/07)

    TFW was forwarded the following email this morning. What the body language of Australia's vice-chancellors would have been when becoming aware of the University of California, Berkeley's largesse isn't hard to imagine. [More]


DEST's Collaboration and Structural Reform Fund Allocates an Additional $7.6 Million for 11 New Projects.    (11/09/07)

    Since its inception in 2005 the Collaboration and Structural Reform Fund (CASR) has granted some $40 million for what the Department of Education, Science and Training refers to as providing competitive funds to foster collaboration. [More]


More on Overseas Students and the Australian University.    (10/09/07)

    "The name of the university is now tarnished ... It is inevitable that a bad business decision will affect the reputation of the university as a whole..." [More]


ANU Vice-Chancellor Offers a Piece of Advice to Those Jockeying to Lead the Nation.    (10/09/07)

    The Australian National University's quietly outspoken vice-chancellor, Ian Chubb seems to have taken the opportunity with the federal election looming to offer a quick 500 words via The Sydney Morning Herald today. [More]


CSIRO Part of Networks Which Created First "World Telescope" in Real-time.    (07/09/07)

    Last week a CSIRO's radio telescope near Coonabarabran, NSW was used simultaneously with one near Shanghai, China, and five in Europe to observe the distant galaxy called 3C273. [More]


"Let's Look at [Universities'] Principal Activity: Educating Undergraduates," Harrison Young.    (07/09/07)

     Harrison Young is a director of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia and member of the Committee for Melbourne higher education taskforce, university funding and governance. [More]


And Just When You Thought Ms Bishop Couldn't Stand the Sight of You.    (06/09/07)

    A media release from the Minister for Education, Science and Training, Julie Bishop, should make academicians' hearts palpitate with joy. [More]


Former Dean of Education at Deakin University Rails at Government Inaction to Correct Failings in Teacher Education.    (06/09/07)

    Richard Bates, former dean of education at Deakin University said the governmental reports recommending changes to entry requirements, length and content of courses, practical training, standards, induction and professional development have all but been ignored. [More] 


Coal Liquefaction and Some Straight Talk.    (06/09/07)

    "The thing on everybody's mind is CO2. The community is trying to figure out how to capture it." [More


British Academy's Apologia for Peer Review.    (04/09/07)

      The British Academy, the UK's national academy for the humanities and social sciences, today issued a report in support of peer review with a quote of Joan Sieber: "One suspects that peer review is a bit like democracy - a bad system, but the best one possible." [More]


Monash Vice-Chancellor Richard Larkins, Sees Fostering Overseas Campuses the Key to Success for Australia's Universities.    (04/09/07)

    "Monash vice-chancellor Richard Larkins said universities could not be taken seriously by the rest of the world unless the Federal Government removes the bureaucratic 'shackles' preventing them from competing internationally." [More] -- updated Sept. 6.


Preliminary Analysis of Craig Venter's Genome Sequence Published.    (04/09/07)

    At a cost of about US$10 million a preliminary analysis published this week by Craig Venter's group has analysed the nucleotide sequences belonging to both chromosomes in each of the 23 chromosome pairs constituting his genome. [More]


John Beddington, Professor of Applied Population Biology to be Appointed Britain's New Chief Scientific Advisor.    (02/09/07)

    Professor John Beddington, FRS is expected to be named by Prime Minister Gordon Brown as Great Britain's next Chief Scientific Advisor. [More]