AUSTRALIA: Less cash for more PhDs, say scientists

The flagship grant programme of the Australian Research Council should radically be redesigned, with emphasis on a large number of low-cost grants to train PhD students, a group of scientists has urged, reports The Australian. Their call was inspired by a Canadian programme that funds a high proportion of applicants.

Biochemist Terry Spithill said dividing the Discovery programme into a smaller number of big-ticket innovation grants and a larger number of graduate training grants could lift the success rate from its present "disastrous" level of 20% to 33". Spithill, from Charles Sturt University, added: "A lot of people are getting to the point where they're not bothering to apply (for Discovery grants)."

He said the proposed redesign would reduce the money available for big, risky projects but would restore morale, keep researchers from dropping out of the system, and build intellectual capital for the future. He and five colleagues from the university's school of animal and veterinary sciences urge the reform in a letter to the Council.
Full report on The Australian site


Jonathan McWilliam
Article poorly thought out. We don't need more PhDs in this country. We don't have sufficient positions to offer employment to PhD graduates. I recently graduated with a PhD, and have very good experience, and have struggled to find a job in Australia for about a year. I know there is nothing wrong with me, because I have received job offers from overseas. The last thing we need is more PhDs.