Last week I sent a letter to Prof. Paul Johnson, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Western Australia (the school what I went to). The letter concerned his recent decision to circumvent the usual decision making processes and just throw university resources at a “consensus centre” set up for professional climate-change-water-muddier Dr Bjorn Lomborg at the bequest of our current government.
Dear Professor Johnson,
I am deeply concerned with your recent decision to accept funding to house a policy centre specifically for Dr. Bjorn Lomborg at the University of Western Australia.
You are no doubt aware that to be an academic researcher of any sort in Australia is to be in a tenuous and thankless position. It is widely acknowledged that the scarcity of dedicated research funding, unreliability of funding allocation, and the overall lack of planning around research policy in Australia all mean that many promising early and mid-career researchers are simply denied the opportunity to pursue valuable and highly-regarded research. I count myself among them.
In this environment I would have hoped to see the upper levels of UWA governance add to calls to improve Australia’s research policy and the processes by which new and existing research is initiated and sustained.
Instead, you have arbitrarily dedicated UWA’s resources to court a single celebrity in a way that circumvents all mechanisms for academic integrity and merit. For the same amount of money involved, the government could instead fund four or five Future Fellowships.