Australian Research Council ERA rules may work against multi-disciplinary research

In an article by Guy Healy in the Australian today entitled “Alarm at Australian Research Council ‘restrictions’“, Peter Hall discusses the federal Excellence in Research Australia (ERA) initiative, raising the concern that the requirement that research be assigned to at most three research codes may result in multi-disciplinary work not being assessed properly.

Peter discussed another aspect of the ERA, namely the journal ranking exercise, in an earlier blog post here.

[Update, Apr 22: see also Peter’s opinion piece “Mathematics, Learning, and Survival” at the Funneled Web.]

[Update, July 15: In the article “Grant us a measure, but not yet” on the Australian today, Sen. Kim Carr responds to these concerns by stating that other measures exist to investigate the interdisciplinary merits of research within the ERA framework.]

Open position: director of the Australian Mathematical Sciences Institute (AMSI)

The University of Melbourne
Department of Mathematics and Statistics,
Faculty of Science Parkville Campus
Closing date: 30th April, 2009

The Australian Mathematical Sciences Institute (
was established in 2002. AMSI’s mission is to “promote and
strengthen the understanding and use of the mathematical
sciences in Australia’s culture, science and economy.”

The Director provides leadership in AMSI’s strategic directions
and programs with responsibility to the Members and the Board.
Appointment to this position may be a stand-alone fixed-term
appointment in its own right or a secondment from another post.
The level of appointment will be commensurate with the skills,
qualifications and experience of the appointee. Any suitable
appointee will be at Level E.

The appointee will be able to continue to pursue an active
research program if desired and to undertake the supervision
of postgraduate students under the auspices of one of the
Member universities, subject to the agreement of the Board.
Work as AMSI Director will take precedence over research and
research supervision, with the latter representing no more
than 20% of the total commitment.

For position description and application procedure see:

For more information about AMSI see:

Enquiries: Prof. Tony Guttman at

[Thanks to Jan Thomas for the announcement – T.]