The Sydney Morning Herald Nicky Phillips July 24, 2014
Nobel prize-winning astrophysicist Brian Schmidt says serious issues in Australia’s research sector are being obscured by the mammoth assessment task researchers are required to undertake every three years to benchmark their work against the rest of the world.
Professor Schmidt said not only did the Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) scheme draw attention to the problems associated with research funding in Australia, it also highlighted the country’s lack of a science plan.
The Conversation 22 July 2014 Julia Lane
Taxpayers want to know that their money is well spent on research. Yet funding agencies persist in trying to explain research results in terms of papers and publications rather than in terms of people – which is how the ideas from research affect both science and the economy.
Already CSIRO has had more than A$110 million cut in the latest budget and has had its research potential cut back significantly.
With almost 500 jobs lost in the last financial year and another 700 expected to go in 2014/15, it is clear that the pressure is on to allocate research dollars more efficiently than ever. Continue reading…
The Conversation Paul Jensen, Elizabeth Webster 22 July 2014
With the Australian Government threatening to reduce the amount of money allocated to research, it is time for researchers to take a more serious look at how to improve the research funding system.
The New York Times Denise Grady 19 July 2014
The recently documented mistakes at federal laboratories involving anthrax, flu and smallpox have incited public outrage at the government’s handling of dangerous pathogens. But the episodes were just a tiny fraction of the hundreds that have occurred in recent years across a sprawling web of academic, commercial and government labs that operate without clear national standards or oversight, federal reports show.
Despite a significant increase in “high-level containment” labs set up to work with risky microbes, there has never been a national plan for how many of them are needed, or how they should be built and operated. The more of these labs there are, the G.A.O. warned Congress last week, the greater the chances of dangerous blunders or sabotage, especially in a field where oversight is “fragmented and largely self-policing.”
A cross-disciplinary team is calling for public discussion about a potential new way to solve longstanding global ecological problems by using an emerging technology called “gene drives.” The advance could potentially lead to powerful new ways of combating malaria and other insect-borne diseases, controlling invasive species and promoting sustainable agriculture.
Representing the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University, Harvard Medical School, Harvard School of Public Health, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Boston University, the Woodrow Wilson Center, and Arizona State University, the team includes scientists working in disciplines ranging from genome engineering to public health and ecology, as well as risk and policy analysis.
Link to eLIFE paper
Link to Science paper
Sydney Morning Herald Bridie Smith July 17, 2014
The global race to develop the next generation of malaria drugs has been given a boost after Australian scientists discovered how to starve the malaria parasite of nutrients, effectively killing it before it takes hold.
The breakthrough, published in Nature on Thursday, comes at a time when the parasite has developed a resistance to anti-malarial drugs, with researchers and health care workers growing increasingly desperate for replacement treatments.
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Brisbane Time July 15, 2014
Facial recognition software which the Queensland government ceased funding two years ago has emerged as a star among cutting edge technologies in the American defence community. Continue reading…
Taylor and Francis Open Access July 2014
In the first few months of 2014 Taylor & Francis carried out a worldwide survey, with the aim of exploring journal authors’ views on open access.
Having previously conducted a survey on open access in 2013, we have been able to see how authors’ opinions have developed, and whether the discussion and debate on open access has helped to inform and shape views.
With responses to both the 2013 and 2014 survey given side-by-side, you can easily see how attitudes have changed. Alongside this, the 2014 survey explores many new areas and gives a fascinating insight into authors’ current perceptions of open access.
View full-text report
Brisbane Times Amy Remeikis 9 July 2014
Researchers at the University of Queensland are one step closer to ensuring a pancreatic cancer diagnosis is no longer a death sentence for all but the lucky few.
In collaboration with Andrew Biankin at the Kinghorn Cancer Centre, Sean Grimmond from UQ’s Institute for Molecular Bioscience has sequenced the DNA of about 500 patients with pancreatic cancer, “creating the encyclopaedia” of what causes the disease.