Ugg

Razor taken to CSIRO

16 posts in this topic

Not sure if this belongs in the job loss thread, the stupid government thread, or the manufacturing decline thread, the climate change deniers thread, the Australia returns to the middle ages thread, the all-we-need-is-housing-investment thread, the short-sighted policy thread, or the don't trust science thread. So I put it here.

 

 

 

Almost a quarter of scientists, researchers and workers at Australia's premier science institution will lose their jobs under the federal government's present public service jobs freeze.

The blanket staff freeze across the public service threatens the jobs of 1400 "non-ongoing" workers at the CSIRO and could paralyse some of the organisation's premier research projects, with a ban on hiring, extending or renewing short-term contracts effective immediately.

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These sorts of blanket hiring freezes are dumb in both gubment and the private sector. Bean counters will be the death of us!

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I'm going to make a wild prediction that the CSIRO departments dealing with mining will be exempt from any cuts.

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the libs have only just gotten started. wait till they really get going.Cant say i care for much of the environmental cuts, but there will be things i care about. it will all be gone in 3 years

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Abbott's speech from the Science awards... 

 

 

“It’s been remarked upon that we don’t have a minister for science as such in the new government and I know that there are people in the room who may have been momentarily dismayed by that,” Abbott said.

 

“But let me tell you that the United States does not have a secretary for science and no nation on Earth has been as successful and innovative as the United States. I’d say to all of you please, judge us by our performance, not by our titles.”

 

Yep I'll do exactly that. I'll judge this government by it's performance.  :shocking:

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These sorts of blanket hiring freezes are dumb in both gubment and the private sector. Bean counters will be the death of us!

 

By sacking only those on contract no discrimination is made between the poor performers and the productive. It seems the only imperative is the political. The 12000 staff reduction target is met but the dead wood can remain because it's easier. Disappointing. 

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Contractors charge a premium due to the short-term nature of the relationship. Eliminating their positions first is acting out the economic framework around their positions.

 

If they are vital then the person managing the contractor should have made the effort to make the contractor permanent.

Edited by sydney3000

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I am (ocassionally) vital to companies that hire me. But only usually for a short time. Hiring me full time would be a daft idea; it would cost a small fortune and I'd say no anyway.

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Pesky science with all its evidence and peer-reviewed legitimacy.  

 

Stop the boats and no carbon tax.   He's halfway there!

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Contractors charge a premium due to the short-term nature of the relationship. Eliminating their positions first is acting out the economic framework around their positions.

 

If they are vital then the person managing the contractor should have made the effort to make the contractor permanent.

 

Not sure how things are run at CSIRO, but if it is at all like universities, generally research funding is unreliable and for a fixed term. In that situation unless skills are transferable (or generic) permant positions cannot be offered, even to people who are critical and excellent (e.g. specialists). Also these 'contractors' tend not to be paid a premium. They tend to be at the lower end of the pay scale.

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I don't see a problem. The broader the brunt is distributed the greater of a chance we have for some reform. Let everybody experience some austerity.

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I don't see a problem. The broader the brunt is distributed the greater of a chance we have for some reform. Let everybody experience some austerity.

 

Do you really not see the problem?

 

Why are all the negative gearers, paid parents, car industry lobbyists, super industry lobbyists etc not seeing austeriity before the scientists? A broad brunt does not weigh up the unequal costs of that brunt to the future of the country. A more nuanced decision for where to cut is needed. There are far more worthy candidates to target first. Currently the decision looks only to be driven by mindless ideology and political fear of touching the untouchables.

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If they are good scientists they would have voted for people who wouldn't have put the rent-seeking policies into place.

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If they are good scientists they would have voted for people who wouldn't have put the rent-seeking policies into place.

 

 

 

Should it matter who they (scientists) voted for?  Do you believe that if people didn't vote for the incumbent government they should be punished? Should the national interest be compromised for the sake of a political objective?

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The science of efficiency: CSIRO cuts are worse than you think

 

 

Some context is useful to see just how awful this decision is. The first thing to understand is the exceptionally tenuous position of most early-career scientists in Australia. After finishing an undergraduate degree and honours, the next stage for those interested in expanding society’s collective knowledge is usually a doctorate.

 

PhD theses are extremely important to our understanding of the world. Roughly 10% of the 200 papers I cover each year at Australasian Science Magazine have PhD students as the lead author (although the work is often only published in a peer-reviewed journal after the doctorate is granted). Students make significant contributions to plenty of other work as well, but they’re not paid like it. It’s possible to live on the scholarships most doctoral students have, but not live well unless you’re very lucky with rent. Almost all PhD students are still working on their theses when the money runs out. Going into deep debt while working 60-hour weeks writing up is a sign of true commitment.

 

For students in many other fields, graduation usually means a degree of security in a well-paid job. Scientists, however, usually find themselves on what is sometimes called “the postdoc circuit”, needing to bring in their own funding just to get paid, let alone access research facilities. CSIRO (the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation) has traditionally been something of a haven from this, with less time spent on ceaseless writing of grant applications and more chances to do long-term work. Although contracts are often short, there was an expectation most would be rolled over if the work was going well, rather than depending on the vagaries of funding bodies, which can only approve 20% of the submissions they receive.

 

The hundreds of CSIRO scientists about to find themselves out on the street are not, in most cases, on temporary contracts because they are no good, but because that is how science works here. Many will be partway through a project when their positions unexpectedly end. Without a chance to finish, their work may never be published, wasting the money taxpayers have invested and blighting their chances of getting a position somewhere else.

 

One of Australia’s most-awarded scientists published a paper recently offering hope for remedying a particularly tricky problem researchers have been fighting for more than 60 years. He told me in confidence he had run out of money to pay the researcher who had done most of the work and was “paying him out of my own pocket”. Unless senior CSIRO figures are similarly generous, the losses will be incalculable. Some institutions are experimenting with crowdfunding, but this is only an option for particularly cheap projects on popular topics.

 

Not every project will prove as economically important as the work that led to wi-fi, or saved the racing industry, but the collective value of everything being done at CSIRO to Australia will prove vast, even if one ignores the projects that are precious in ways no monetary value can capture.

 

Don’t worry,” the Coalition will assure us. “Progress won’t halt. If research is important enough it will be done overseas.” Leaving aside the moral bankruptcy of a nation riding high on the resources boom expecting poorer nations to solve the great problems of the world, this does not consider the fact that many of the topics CSIRO tackles will be ignored elsewhere, because they are unique to Australia.

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