Home | Radio+TV | News | Weekly roundup 3: PhD student sues JCU, top science scholars named, and Australian research wins big

Weekly roundup 3: PhD student sues JCU, top science scholars named, and Australian research wins big

Hi, I’m Wade Zaglas, education editor for Campus Review. Welcome to our third weekly roundup. You can either read this summary or listen to the podcast below.

The most popular story by far this week was also one of the most unusual.

A former James Cook University PhD Philosophy student is suing the university for $3.125 million, arguing it is in a “conspiracy” to ruin his career.

Kuldeep Mann, 52, has submitted a 20-page petition to the Supreme Court in which he claims the university’s plagiarism charge against him is false, that he was more interested in work than study, and that supervision provided for his $20,000 PhD was “inadequate”.

Mann was denied entry to the four-year program after he failed two social science subjects. He believes JCU’s “prolonged harassment” has caused irreparable damage to his mental health and his sex drive.

“I have no sex drive. There is no stimulation in my organs. I have never had this problem before,” Mann told the Courier Mail.

The university’s appeals panel initially granted Mann $52, 576 in compensation for his experience, but he dismissed it as “too little”.

JCU’s lawyer has informed Mann that his claim will not hold up under court procedure.

Another important story this week was ABC and the University of New South Wales naming the top five early-career science scholars. 150 researchers applied, and the five winners will take part in two-week media residency stints at the national broadcaster to develop content.

Professor Emma Johnston, UNSW dean of science and Top 5 ambassador, said: "It has never been more important to raise awareness of science, to engage the public with some of the most critical global issues we have ever faced and to help inspire the next generation of scientists.”

This year's Top 5 were: Dr Alex Russell, a CQ University psychologist who is researching gambling behaviour; Dr Chameen Samarawickrama, a University of Sydney researcher who is developing a glue to fix damaged corneas; Dr Dominic Tanner, a University of Wollongong geologist studying how precious metals are created in undersea volcanoes; Dr Hannah Kirk, a cognitive scientist at Monash University, who is developing digital technology to detect and treat children's attention difficulties; and neuroscientist from the University of Tasmania Dr Lila Landowski, who is working on new ways to study stroke and investigating the brain processes behind fatigue.

Finally, Australian university research has been given a much-needed shot in the arm, with global investor IP Group making its first investment of $4.5 million.

The Group, which commercialises university research, has signed agreements with Australia’s Group of Eight Universities – as well as the University of Auckland – in a commitment to invest at least $200 million over the next decade.

The company recently opened an office in Melbourne and established a steering group comprising John Akehurst, Chris Roberts and Mark Burgess. Managing director of IP Group’s Australian operations, Michael Molinari, said the company is investing in technology that can potentially “improve the economic and social wellbeing of Australia”.

And that’s another weekly roundup for Campus Review.

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