Sunday, August 29, 2010

QUT Codes in Duck Walk Lock Step?

Track down your own institution's governance framework and summarise how it maps onto the relevant code(s), in particular the Australian Code.

QUT in Duck Walk Lock Step?

Referencing my boss’s response to a local code or governance of research framework inquiry there is nothing immediately available here in Korea regarding my own institution of employment so I rely upon the easily accessible policies available at my educational provider in QUT.

Compliance with and implementation of the Australian Code appears evident and expounded upon in QUT’s Manual of Policy and Procedure (MOPP) which includes a governance framework mostly covered by D/2.6 QUT Code of Conduct for Research, with additional documents providing more details such as MOPP B/8.1 Code of Conduct, MOPP D/2.7 Procedures for dealing with allegations of research misconduct, MOPP D/2.8 Management of research data (to be approved), and MOPP D/5.4 Code of Good Practice for Postgraduate Research Studies and Supervision at QUT.

MOPP D/2.6 QUT Code of Conduct for Research: Covers principles for the responsible conduct of research, roles and responsibilities for responsible conduct of research, research misconduct, management of research data, supervision and training of research students and staff, publication and dissemination of research findings, authorship, peer review, management of conflicts of interest relating to research activities, and collaborative research with other institutions. These subsections correlate highly with the Australian Code in both Parts A and B as may be seen in the following chart.

MOPP D/2.6 QUT Code of Conduct for Research

Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research

2.6.1 Principles for the responsible conduct of research

Section 1 General principles of responsible research 1.3

2.6.2 Application

Dealt with at length in description of institutional, individual responsibilities for each subsection.

2.6.3 Roles and responsibilities for responsible conduct of research

Responsibilities of researchers and supervisors of research trainees 3.1

2.6.4 Research misconduct

Section 9 Breaches of the Code and misconduct in research 9.3

2.6.5 Management of research data

Section 2 Management of research data and primary materials 2.1

2.6.6 Supervision and training of research students and staff

Section 3 Supervision of research trainees 3.1

2.6.7 Publication and dissemination of research findings

Section 4 Publication and dissemination of research findings 4.1

2.6.8 Authorship

Section 5 Authorship 5.1

2.6.9 Peer review

Section 6 Peer review 6.1

2.6.10 Management of conflicts of interest relating to research activities

Section 7 Conflicts of interest 7.1

2.6.11 Collaborative research with other institutions

Section 8 Collaborative research across institutions 8.1

It is interesting to note that the ranking for misconduct are so highly positioned in the QUT document reference as compared to falling under Section 9 of the Australian Code. Surely this does not indicate order of importance or evidence of disregard?

QUT MOPP B/8.1 Code of Conduct: This document explores the QUT designation of conduct code above and beyond the Australian Code description which defines national guidelines while local Queensland legislation includes institutional and individual compliance from The Public Sector Ethics Act 1994:

respect for the law and system of government

respect for persons



economy and efficiency

QUT MOPP D/2.7 Procedures for dealing with allegations of research misconduct: Elaborates upon the Australian Code however requires modifications in description of procedural investigations of complaints dependent upon collective bargaining agreements differentiated among: academic, professional or senior staff. The Australian Code does not itself make such distinctions but permits institutions to do so. This might represent differentiation in representational allowances and/or effect private or public investigations or publication of results.

QUT MOPP D/2.8 Management of research data (to be approved): As this section is being reviewed it must indicate that it is an area of necessary improvement at QUT for alignment with Australian Code requirements.

QUT MOPP D/5.4 Code of Good Practice for Postgraduate Research Studies and Supervision: Responsibilities are clearly described in the areas: institution, department, supervisor and candidate. It is refreshing to note that the candidate’s list is shorter than the others.

In conclusion, is it possible that the Australian Code and the QUT Code might have been written by the same group of perhaps itinerant authors?

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Three Visionary Research Organisations

Discuss the similarities and differences that you think are important between CISRO, Wolcock Research Institute and CW+L at UniSA.

Similarities: These are all innovative research organisations in Australia with clearly defined scope of vision and mission objectives. They all started small or didn't exist at all. Their collective reasons for existence are to fulfill research needs that improve the knowledge and lives of Australians as well as incorporation of international collaboration in their reach and relevance to the world at large. It wasn't until someone expressed their vision and mission that any of them got started at all. Each could be said to share similar reasons for existence whereby through differences in scope and scale of research study all were designed to organize groups of people to work together for common purposes to find innovative solutions to improve quality of life whether through science, medicine or societal study. Each fulfills societal needs either for new products, better treatments or ways to understand important societal needs.

While the two smallest ships seemingly grew out of the passion, care and leadership of two individuals they have successfully grown their original direction into group and team oriented research organisations. While they are smaller than CISRO they are not small and have proven big enough in terms of vision and mission to survive the vicissitudes of time, relevance, and funding. Not all do.

Most importantly they all support the adage that together we rise and divided we fall. Perhaps indicative as well is that over time these organisations have only grown as a result of further inclusivity, dynamism and cross-disciplinary synergies which engage and perhaps "t-bone" and/or combine various disciplines to the benefit of collective and diffusive knowledge sharing.

Differences: In terms of strategy CISRO’s scope is the vastest considering it employs over 6000 people, has a high profile and is the largest of these three tall ships. It also possesses the longest pedigree and has grown substantially over several decades to incorporate numerous cross indexed charters (perhaps an elder form of the favoured expression of mission) which help define and categorize the numerous research specialisations present which include: information services, manufacturing and minerals, environment, energy and agribusiness.

In terms of mission and vision CISRO is the most grandiose in keeping with its significant scientific inventions, commercial successes and incorporates its vision and beliefs system to address:

1. A people oriented innovation policy of world class performance.
2. A commitment to safety and environmental sustainability.
3. Seeks deep science and innovation solutions.
4. Implements an effective and appropriate risk management system.
5. Supports individual creativity and flexibility.

In contrast, The Woolcock Medical Research Institute was crafted from its association with The Prince Albert Hospital of The University of Sydney with the individual drive and leadership of Professor Wolcock who began study of asthma with one patient and who grew the organization into the area of respiratory and sleep-related health care research. Our notes credit significant tax provisions provided by government incentives for the establishment of the centre itself. In terms of strategy the vision and mission expanded out of the skills and dedication of one researcher into the collaboration of many where now over fifty different research projects operate at the same time.

Wolcock Institute incorporates its mission of improvement in respiratory and sleep health of Australians through: research, education, prevention and care.

The Centre for Work and Life (CW+L) is still led by its original founder Professor Barb Pocock and focuses on work and quality of life research driven to improve understanding of current and future needs of Australia's stressed out and over-worked workers. In terms of strategy Pocock appears most entrepreneurial of the three considering her eloquence in the ABC Interview of 2007 available in the media section.

Her initial engagement in research of the sociology of work in Australia was made from a particularly left-wing and perhaps rebellious perspective which led to progressive self-realization and perhaps well defined and honed negotiation skills. Her description of finding a niche in the research environment at UniSA is very similar to the process through which many business oriented enterprises find their own unique customer oriented valuation. This is no surprise considering her economics specialization and interest in and abilities for hard work appear inspiring. This appears to be the humanities-based research example among the three ships.

The CW+L Charter includes five goals:

1. To improve the quality of work and life in Australia through analysis and innovative thinking.
2. To use logic and reasoning to assist organisations in generating policies which support the first goal.
3. To encourage collaboration through quantitative and qualitative research.
4. To train life and work researchers.
5. To widely share knowledge and information about life and work in Australia.

Monday, August 09, 2010

Powering Ideas: Robbing Peter to Pay Paul?

Powering Ideas: Robbing Peter to Pay Paul?

What is the role of individual research organisations in the national innovation system?


First I note the whirlwinds of political intrigue surrounding the personages and required readings of this our first week of discussion on the innovation fleet of Australia. The plight of Horatio Nelson and the Battle of Trafalgar appear picturesque by comparison.

Enter Terry Cutler well seated at Melbourne and the CISRO Board of Directors quickly detailing his definition of "the coalition of the willing" describing commercialisation of research to be a "misguided focus" better suited to business than university research programs in this interview with Gerhard Vorster and Deloitte. His aim of reaching the first 25% quartile of all OECD innovation measures in the next decade based on the 2020 Conference seems occupied with positioning and ranking in international statistics from competitor nations that may or may not over or underestimate their innovation spending. His own recommendations total an estimated 3 billion dollars of tax payer-fronted debt something it appears Australia had minimized during the Howard administration according to Chart Seven State Net Debt in Dimarco, Pirie and Au-Yeung.

Dr. Denise Bradley also resides in nearby South Australia with a long history at UniSA but now a ready government employee and most recently appointed to the Chair of TEQSA - Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency a new level of toothy government oversight recommended in her own landmark Review of Australian Higher Education.

Like-minded but elected Senator and member of ruling Australia Labour Party Kim Carr is a former teacher and Minister of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research. His website details several South Australia highlighted initiatives based on Powering Ideas and his government is now led by Ms. Julia Gillard resident of South Australia, former Minister of Education, former socialist and former Deputy Prime Minister under the tragic leadership of the Brisbane-based resigned fluently Mandarin Kevin Rudd. This sine quo non resulted in his ownership of the "Resource Super Profits Tax" proposal to be levied on Australia's top two export trade sectors the proceeds possibly earmarked to pay for the innovation renovation of the third sector based on the proposals of Cutler, Bradley, Carr and the Group of Eight study " Adding to Australia's Capacity" authors unknown but surmised to resemble a "Band of Brothers and Sisters." The latest Minister of Education Crean another resident of Victoria career politician-union stalwart appears to be under-reporting educational reforms limited to PCs in every high school classroom in his latest radio interview. It is also evident that the socialists have definitely turned against P.M. Gillard.

What is the role of individual research organisations in the national innovation system?

The report Powering Ideas does not specifically detail the role of individual research organisations in the national innovation system other than participation in and compliance with what appears "top down" style managerial reform proposals. In the introduction mention is made of increased science and innovation budgets, with a 25% increase from 2009 to 2010 detailing a declining productivity and reduced spending since 1993-94 coinciding with the last Labour Party government of Paul Keating.

The National Innovation Priorities listed seem to coincide with campaign promises made by Kevin Rudd while mention is made that the duties of universities and public research domains remain the provision of knowledge and skilled workforces rather than any commercialisation of research. This in line with Cutler's admission that research commercialisation be made a dirty word. Their contribution is listed to include propagating an increase in the numbers of internationally benchmarked research groups, organize more vigorous industry research partnerships, form more collaborative team research projects across institutions, gather project financing from the Education Investment Fund detailing several recent disbursements already in its third round, and conforming to well detailed business and public sector innovation initiatives such as increasing business engagement by 25% and developing better policy direction and improvement decisions management by 2020.

Individual research organisations are expected to participate in increased collaboration efforts to realize a doubling effect over the next ten years which would require approximately 7% growth per year to 2020. However as the report details on page 20 the rate of R & D spending growth is already 8% a year thus the doubling effect of such a growth rate suggests the 2020 goal in research funds increases may be reached in 7.5 years or 2017 second quarter rather than 2020. This might prove a useful incentive to suggest the innovation renovation platform in Powering Ideas is simply political.

For example, the OECD estimates of 2.5% of GDP in countries like Korea may be accurate but the oversight accountability and transparency of such funds dispersal and application results may be difficult or impossible to trace. This is also the dilemma often faced by sales agents in many corporations who require boosts in sales figures to justify performance based review while undermining actual profit earnings through negotiated concessions and other tax breaks to secure deals which might provide a lower level of actual net benefits to funds spent. Might the same not be said for funding future collaborations?

For example, while CISRO basks in profit earnings based on patent royalties certain of our required readings recommend universities and individual research organisations dispense with intellectual property protections which copyright and patent laws allow for more open source and knowledge transfer benefits to reduce the estimated 30% of funded research conducted in duplicate. One cannot hope to implement a national research policy based on the successes of only one research organisation and at that expect the followers to give up their golden gooses/geese. Especially if the benchmarked leader has yet to do so. Where would the lauded cochlear bionic ear be if it had not been a patented and rights protected innovation?