Optimising discipline mix for profit margin under Job-ready Graduates shows disciplines disappearing over time

Aidan Byrne Slide
Aidan Byrne

Professor Aidan Byrne, Provost of the University of Queensland, talked about the future of Australian university science at the recent ACDS Annual General Meeting and Conference. His thought provoking presentation included a model where optimising discipline mix for profit margin under the Job-ready Graduates funding shows disciplines disappearing over time – including science and engineering, and we have no agreed model for funding research.

Aidan commenced his presentation by comparing some of the predictions and challenges articulated during his presentation to the ACDS AGM in 2018 with the HE landscape today. Challenges identified in 2018 included our exposure to volatility in the International student market; big-data publishing; Federal Government disengagement; and possible models for the organisation  of our Universities in 2030. In his 2018 presentation, he also explored the various budget models that Universities were using to support T&L and Research, emphasising the importance of International-Student income in funding our research. Finally, he addressed some of the challenges posed by Open Access publication models and predicted in 2018 that we would not easily reach an Open Access solution. Moving forward to 2021, we know that the Chief Scientist is currently  exploring Open Access publication models, although there is little understanding in Government about what this might mean. There is also a commentary from Government regarding the need to protect our IP and obtain a better commercial return. This intersects, in “interesting” ways, with the Open Access publication agenda, and from Aidan’s perspective, the Government does not yet have a consistent narrative regarding this multidimensional issue.

A summary of Professor Byrne’s talk to the ACDS AGM and Conference and his presentation is available here.