What a month!
With regard to the preprint fiasco, where a drastic new rule was implemented with no consultation and little warning, it is positive the ARC has now consulted with the sector, including the AIP. This led to an update of the rule in question, so it now meets modern standards (see the ARC response to the AIP).
However, it is disappointing that more than 30 Future and DECRA applicants are still in limbo and need to go through an appeals process.
There will be more affected applications if the rule is applied to the (now closed) Discovery Round, as announced. While I understand the need for a formal appeals process, I hope it will be quick and lead to a fair solution.
The fact that, in the schemes announced to date, only applications in the Field of Research Code 02, the physical sciences, were affected is worrisome and the AIP requests full disclosure of the process that led to this outcome. We will communicate this to the ARC in an open letter, in consultation with other professional bodies.
It was great to see the professional bodies in the physics, astronomy, chemistry, and mathematical sciences come together, and we will jointly continue to keep pressure on the ARC in this context.
Other news like the nuclear submarine deal underlines the need for a physics-literate workforce. The AIP pointed this out to the government.
It is also exciting that AIP representative Brett Carter appeared before the Parliamentary Inquiry into growing Australia’s space industry. The AIP’s submission recommended that the Federal Government develop a long-term strategy to support the foundational Solar-Terrestrial and Space Physics research activities in universities that make commercial, civil, and government space activities not only possible, but profitable and sustainable.
There is light at the end of the tunnel, and I wish you all the best for the remaining weeks of lockdown.