Academics only do four hours per week????
The Minister of Education should surely try to align his arguments with government policy. The smart economy funding survived the recent budget in spite of McCarthy’s bizarre recommendations that only research that had a commercial output in 5 years should be funded. The universities, for better or worse, are one of the main vehicles for delivering the government’s agenda. For the Minister of Education, part of a government who has decided on this policy, to complain about university professors and lecturers spending too much time on research is bizarre. A research active academic in a science/technology/medicine area is essentially like a small business person trying to find and provide employment for a team of researchers. Personally, I have a very large administrative and teaching (informal) workload trying to supervise, recruit and keep the grant funding coming in for around 20 people – from PhD students to postdocs. It is time that research active academics who are providing this sort of input to the economy are accorded the same status and recognition as the CEO’s of SME’s – lauded by the government – most of whom are providing employment to many fewer people, and most of whom are not contributing to the upscaling of the smart economy value for the country. I challenge the Minister of Education to come and meet some of these academics and to base his future on facts rather than on the sort of hearsay ‘anecdata’ that conversations with a couple of (I wonder how research active?) professors that he has spoken to.