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In the UK, innovation and research has been at the forefront of the government’s economic policy agenda. bisgovuk

Innovation or stagnation? Lessons Australia could learn from the UK

After decades in the wilderness, industry policy is back centrally on the economic agenda in the UK. What is striking is how the policy is being driven by strong evidence on what works from years of accumulated…
Items that are commonplace in many laboratories could fall under a list of banned materials, researchers warn.

Bill to stop misuse of dangerous technology could hit uni research

A bill designed to stop the transfer of sensitive materials and information would also impede crucial academic research, staff from the University of Sydney have told a senate hearing. The University of…
Australian universities must raise their game to compete in the global education market. Flickr/Reality-check

Sink or swim? Australian universities in the next decade

The world is in a state of transition. The Indian and Chinese economies continue to grow at around 9 and 10 per cent respectively each year, while the North Atlantic economies - the 20th century epicentre…
Working to improve the performance of the resources sector is a challenging, yet important research focus. AFP/Christian Sprogoe/Rio Tinto

Research funding does not have to equal industry bias

There is common assumption that those of us who undertake applied research with the commercial world must be biased. This month the University of Queensland’s Sustainable Minerals Institute (SMI), which…
University of Melbourne was ranked 37 in the world and top in Australia by the Times Higher Education World university Ranking system in 2011. Flickr/Pip_Wilson

Times Higher Education ranks University of Melbourne Australia’s best but experts urge caution

The Times Higher Education World University Rankings has named the University of Melbourne Australia’s best university, but higher education experts have warned that such rankings tables are easily misinterpreted…
Younger academics and researchers need clear career paths, job security and to be freed from red tape, the report said. Flickr/Argonne National Laboratory

Talkin’ bout my generation: young academics on why so many eye uni exit

Nearly 40% of academics under 30 and one-third of staff aged 30-39 years plan to leave the Australian higher education sector within 10 years, according to a new report, raising the prospect of severe…
Bushfires are a greater risk in areas of human habitation than in alpine regions. AAP

Alpine grazing: let’s research fires where they pose most threat

Last summer, the Victorian government allowed cattle to graze in the Alpine National Park. They claimed it was part of a scientific trial to assess grazing as a tool to reduce fire risk. Now it seems there…
Keep track of your efforts and learn from doing. John A Kelley USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service

One small thing you can do for the environment: learn from your failures

Welcome to “One small thing …”. We asked our authors what one small thing they, or you, could do for the environment. We’ll bring their answers to you on Friday afternoons. Today’s one small thing comes…
When is comes to research, it seems quantity has become much more important than quality. Flickr/Iscan

How ‘publish or perish’ is ruining finance education

Imagine the following conversation between a finance academic and his or her supervisor during an annual performance review: Academic: So, do you think I am ready for a promotion? Supervisor: Well, I see…
The old system led to institutions urging their academics to write for the top-ranked academic journals only. Håkan Dahlström, Flickr

Journal rankings ditched: the experts respond

The Australian government has dropped the contentious system of ranking academic journals and assessing academics based on their ability to publish in the top-ranked publications. Previously, journals…
Brahman cattle fed a wide range of tropical grasses emit up to 30 per cent less methane than previously thought. Flickr

Get a whiff of this: northern cows emit less methane than first thought

Tropical grass-fed cattle in Australia’s north, which constitute half of the country’s beef industry, emit up to 30% less of the greenhouse gas methane than first thought, CSIRO scientists have found…
The university funding system discourages research on volunteers like these men who are risking their lives to help their community. Flickr/Rob Down Under

In universities obsessed with research here’s what falls between the cracks

In Australian universities at the moment research is everything. They obsess over the rankings in the new ERA system which measures research performance. For academics publishing in the top journals isn’t…
Publicly funded scientists have a responsibility to the public. AAP

Science and alpine grazing: politics and responsibility

Australian science institutions and scientists must retain the confidence of the public and Australian governments. By blurring facts, disrespecting other institutions’ research processes and turning their…
Cattle grazing in Alpine National Park is not supported by science. foxypar4 on flickr

Science the loser in Victoria’s alpine grazing trial

In January, 400 cattle were released into Victoria’s Alpine National Park as part of a research trial to investigate the influence of strategic grazing as a tool to reduce fuel loads and bush fire risk…

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