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Another myth is that we all look like this. U.S. Army RDECOM/Flickr

Seven myths about scientists debunked

As scientific researchers, we are often surprised by some of the assumptions made about us by those outside our profession. So we put together a list of common myths we and our colleagues have heard anecdotally…
Who else will do the long-term research if universities don’t do it? Shutterstock/bogdanhoda

Taking the long view: universities and their unique research role

Increasing university-industry collaboration and boosting the commercial return from research is currently under review by the Australian government. The Minister for Industry (and recently for Science…
Me on one of my field trips to the Nullarbor working on desert reptiles.

Why I turned down a DECRA to work in the United States

My decision to turn down a lucrative Discovery Early Career Award (DECRA) worth A$385,000 was outlined in an ABC report broadcast last week. The DECRA is a prestigious grant given by the Australian Research…
Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane, seen here with the Anglo Australian Telescope at Sidings Springs, is known to have a deep interest in science. So what should expect now the word science is added to his ministerial title? AAP/Alan Porritt

Shaping 2015: The challenge for Australia’s new science minister

“What’s in a name?” was essentially the Australian government’s response when concerns were first expressed about dropping “Science” from the ministerial portfolio titles back in 2013. That same response…
The future of the Parkes radio telescope in doubt in a climate of cutbacks. Flickr/Steve Dorman

2014, the year that was: Science + Technology

It’s been a year of incredible feats in science and technology but also a year of uncertainty too as the Australian government’s…
It’s now ok to step out of line. Hopscotch via bikeriderlondon/Shutterstock

Cross-subject research finally gets recognition in the REF

Academics love games. We can’t resist playing them – but the Research Excellence Framework (REF) is our favourite. As the results of the UK’s 2014 assessment of university research are digested, academics…
Not a full picture. Missing puzzle pieces via tadamichi/Shutterstock

Game-playing of the REF makes it an incomplete census

Research assessment is only partly reliable as an indicator of the real quality of the work going on in higher education. It has a dual character. On one hand it is rooted in material facts and objective…
A little bit of impact goes a long way. Chones

The impact of impact on the REF

For the first time, the “impact” of academic research on the wider world has been included in a large-scale assessment of the quality of university research, which has just been published. One-fifth of…
Postdocs do the lion’s share of research, so maybe it’s time we started listening to them. ∞ katherynemily./Flickr

Voices of a generation: young scientists must be seen and heard

Postdoctoral scientists – postdocs – are the engines of biomedical research. As early career researchers, they conduct the most experiments and are responsible for sculpting how we treat disease in decades…
Who’s going to pay for this? image via www.shutterstock.com

Development of new drugs is threatened by budget cuts

Foundation essay: This article is part of a series marking the launch of The Conversation in the US. Our foundation essays are longer than our usual comment and analysis articles and take a wider look…
Participants and guests at a Walk for Breast Cancer decked out in pink. Breast cancer walk image via www.shutterstock.com

Awash in pink, but breast cancer awareness isn’t a cure

This month, we are inundated with pink. By wearing pink ribbons, purchasing pink products, and participating in walks and other collective activities, citizens try to raise awareness of the scourge of…
Conflicting recommendations about flu drugs has made it difficult for doctors to decide whether to prescribe them. Andrew Wales/Flickr

What kind of research can we trust?

Research involving pharmaceutical company input is notoriously compromised. While not all industry ties lead to biased research, and not all biases are a consequence of industry ties, many studies show…
Who owns the university after the crash? simononly

After the crash, who owns the British university in 2014?

By international standards, British universities have extraordinarily high levels of autonomy. They control all of their assets, they employ their own staff, renew their own leadership and governors and…
Ian Macfarlane – here at the Anglo Australian Telescope in April – had science lumped in with his industry ministry. AAP/Alan Porritt

Science and the Coalition: two big policies, one year and no minister

On science and technology, the Abbott government is somewhat of a paradox. On one hand, the government passionately believes that deregulating the university sector is essential. By taking caps off fees…
When money’s tight, there’s no better time for researchers to bust out of the Ivory Tower and actively engage with the public. Nhoj Leunamme == Jhon Emmanuel/Flickr

It’s time to ditch the ‘old academic identity’ to survive funding cuts

Much has already been written about the pressure on the Australian university system due to the federal government’s planned deregulation of fees, course funding cuts and significant research funding cuts…

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