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The Forum > Article Comments > Dollar drought puts the bite on clever country > Comments

Dollar drought puts the bite on clever country : Comments

By Richard Eckersley, published 7/3/2007

Faced with a dearth of funding, Australian researchers are struggling to ply their trade.

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I vehemently agree - not just with the sentiments expressed in the article, but with the subject of the proposed area of research. I feel strongly about the need for inter-disciplinary approaches - especially in the field of wellness and well-being. The need is so imperitive, for so many reasons, that it is frustrating in the extreme to read this article. Its a drum I have been banging for a long time, yet the intensity of my feeling for the need for this kind of approach increases, rather than lessens with time.

Not having the resources behind me to continue living without a salary I have had to leave the country for a while in order to earn money. It enrages me to think that I have to do this - for all the reasons the article sets forth.

One thing for sure though - if that grant ever comes through mate, I would crawl home across broken bottles if I thought there was even a chance to participate in any way in such a project!
Posted by Romany, Thursday, 8 March 2007 12:32:36 AM
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Sad that an item such as this receives only one comment to date yet the Muslim vs Christian thread goes berserk with lunatics and similar views. Concreted minds saying cemented things, repetetively.

I'd like to issue a challenge to our Treasurer(s), both Federally and in QLD.

Show me and a team of volunteers the Budget's, give us a few weeks and we'll find the money science needs, and much more. Billions in fact.

What to start?

How about all the advertising done by these people? Millions there. PR staff? Multi millions? Staffers? A half a billion I understand. For Coalition work no less.

Subsidising execs and MP's etc transport to and from work. $1+ billion there. I agree small business should have this support but it really is a major reason why execs and MP's don't have a clue about what Australians have to pay getting to and from work. Time, money and resources.

Stop that waste and spend it on our needs. Infrastructure, roads, education, mental illness, health. Something useful perhaps.

Not enough $ yet? Let's have a little look at MP's entitlements. Increase their base salary, make them organise their own super and travel, like we do.

That's just the tip of a very big iceberg. There are billions being spent right now on things people don't want or need. Endless summits, conferences, travelling overseas to study what you can see on Google Earth or via video conferencing. Or heaven forbid, in a book. Don't forget the army of contractors employed at exhorbitant rates when most public servants could do the same work for a fraction of that cost.

Challenge ignored and denied. It's too hard for ordinary people.

Actually the public servants could trot all this out in a day if asked. Show us the money Peter and your peers. It is ours after all.

Silence reigns. Imagine the advances in energy alone if science had sufficient funding to do the work needed. What waste we have now.
Posted by RobbyH, Saturday, 10 March 2007 9:37:16 AM
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What goes hand-in-hand with lack of funding for research is poor financial management of funds by the univesities: Where the mission should be to cater to the student and the researcher, while maintaining good practice.

Four things come to mind:

1. Banks often act co-operatively to fund activities like the Bank Exchanges and the clerical side of credit card processing. I can't see why now 40+ universities have to duplicate clerical effort. Would in not be better to have say ten processing centres? Relatedly, surely funding the putchse of a research database at say A$30,000 is more important the having ab OH&S for indigneous lesbian surf board riders [exaggerated, but, you get the point.]. Managerialism and process suck-up too much potential research money.

On the processing side universities could given the equivalent to a BSB [Bank State Branch] and many activities managed on-line and through call centres.

2. DEST funds PhD research but how of that money makes it students in a lump sum to conduct expensive research? Wherein, the money seems have "gone" before it hits the Faculty, let alone the School. DEST in communications with me stated, that money is meant for student, but DEST didn't become involved in individual disagreements between students and specific universities on this matter.

Obviously, under these circumstances the money is going into the General Pool for running the universities, paying for resources and managerial/clerical salaries unrelated to the research student.

3. Researchers and serious coursework students are hurt by the damaged reputation, owing the Australian universities dumbing down delivery and assessment especially with offshore providers [some DEST has known about for eight years, but does nothing.]. Now it is creeping into Australia, onshore, where the lecturer/professor is in trouble, if she/he fails say half the class for plagiary, and, the Deans allow the students to play the system.

How can tasks that every second person can achieve be rightfully called, "Higher Education".

4. Investigations by DEST and the AUQA typically involve the ACCC [and its new configuration?] and retired VCs. Old mates. Dracula in charge of the blood bank, for sure.
Posted by Oliver, Monday, 12 March 2007 11:10:44 AM
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