Even Nobel Laureates get their papers rejected

Senior researchers from around the country will help  junior colleagues at regional universities get a grip on  research, as part of a year-long early career program.
The Regional Universities Network (RUN), which is running the program, says it is the largest in the country, and the first time a network has collaborated on such a large task. It is being hosted by Central Queensland University, with workshops being held in Rockhampton, Mackay, Bundaberg, Gladstone and Noosa. Participants represent a range of fields including coral regeneration, health care, skilled migration, population health, cognitive psychology, online learning, microbiology, plant ecology, intercultural and international education, and sleep loss and fatigue.
Sessions include Publishing: even Nobel Laureates get their papers rejected, Collaboration: People who drink together, think together and Stagecraft: Why Noam Chomsky is the recognised expert on everything. Professor Alan Pettigrew, inaugural CEO of the National Health and Medical Research Council and facilitator of the LH Martin Executive Leadership and Management in Research Program, gave the keynote address on the program’s opening day on Friday, April 20, in Rockhampton.
He told Campus Review he thought the program was much needed to help early career researchers understand the environment they would be working in. “I think early career researchers have got an interesting life ahead of them in so far as the higher education sector is undergoing quite profound changes, in terms of funding as well as increasing factors such as the introduction of the ERA system, and new ways of providing block funding to institutions that have quite a lot of government direction in them,” said Pettigrew. 
“So there’s a whole new  arena out there for the university sector and early career researchers need to understand the changes that are occurring in front of them so they can position themselves well… They are going to be the workforce of the future in our higher education system and it’s important we provide information and answer their questions.”
The contemporary higher education system is bigger and more competitive than the one he started his career in, said Pettigrew. “We’re also heading into a period of [financial] constraint… there is nothing on the horizon that looks like it will increase funding, so as the system grows, it’s going to become increasingly competitive.”
RUN itself is important in helping develop a critical mass for researchers, he said. “The alliances that can be formed through collaborations, which are challenged in this country by distance, are going to be very important for the success of institutions in producing world-quality research.”
“I’ve looked at the [Excellence in Research Australia] outcomes from 2011 for [the RUN] universities, and they’re in the lowest band. They have very few disciplines that are at world standard or above, and these universities recognize that position, and they’re looking to improve that position. By providing advice and background, and time for discussion, that’s one strategy that can be used to improve the research position.”
For more information visit www.run.edu.au

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