Australian scientists call for tougher restrictions on land clearing

From Nature News, 15 March 2019: Nearly four hundred Australian scientists have signed a letter protesting against a steep rise in land clearing over the past decade. They have called on national and state governments to legislate to protect native vegetation. The letter describes Australia as a ‘global deforestation hotspot’, following the relaxation of laws Continue reading Australian scientists call for tougher restrictions on land clearing

Genetically modified T cells target lymphoma

From Nature Outlook, 14 November 2018: First-in-human trials are risky. That’s why they tend to involve the sickest of the sick — people whose disease has progressed beyond the reach of any existing treatment, and who have no other options. So it is a testament to the revolutionary nature of chimeric antigen receptor T-cell therapy Continue reading Genetically modified T cells target lymphoma

Australia plans ‘national-interest’ test for research grants

From Nature, 31 October 2018: Australia’s government is set to introduce a ‘national-interest test’ for research projects seeking grant funding from next year. The policy will require that researchers outline how their project will advance the country’s interests, said education minister Dan Tehan in a statement released on 31 October. “The value of specific projects Continue reading Australia plans ‘national-interest’ test for research grants

Australian academics fear political interference following vetoed projects

From Nature, 30 October 2018: Australian universities and researchers have condemned the actions of a government minister who vetoed projects that had been selected for funding by expert panels. Academics say that the government’s interference has undermined the integrity of the peer-review system and could damage the country’s reputation as a desirable place to do Continue reading Australian academics fear political interference following vetoed projects

Japanese rover lands on ancient asteroid for 16 hour-mission

From Nature, 4 October 2018: A third rover has touched down on the surface of asteroid Ryugu, marking a hat-trick of successful landings for the Japanese Hayabusa2 space mission. Earlier today, the shoe-box-sized Mobile Asteroid Surface Scout (MASCOT) separated from the Hayabusa2 probe, which had moved temporarily to 51 metres from the asteroid’s surface. The Continue reading Japanese rover lands on ancient asteroid for 16 hour-mission

Australia moves a step closer to ‘three-person IVF’

From Nature News, 29 June 2018: A group of Australian politicians has released a road map for the country to move towards legalizing mitochondrial donation. The group’s recommendations, published on 27 June, include that the government consult the public and scientific experts about permitting clinical use of the reproductive technology, which could help women avoid Continue reading Australia moves a step closer to ‘three-person IVF’

Australia makes its mark in biotechnology

From Nature, 10 May 2018: In 1999, an Australian federal government briefing paper on biotechnology in the country concluded that the sector “hardly rates as an economic force” because of its small size and the financial challenges that it faced in getting products to market. Now, barely two decades later, Australia has ranked in the Continue reading Australia makes its mark in biotechnology

Australian research funding: a balancing act

From Nature Outlook, 1 September 2016: If there is one buzzword dominating the political airwaves in Australia at the moment, it’s ‘innovation’. Since the launch of the government’s National Innovation and Science Agenda in December 2015, the idea that Australia needs innovation to drive the economy has been hammered into the public consciousness with all Continue reading Australian research funding: a balancing act

Australian cryptologists concerned by restrictive exports law

From Nature News, 22 March 2016: Researchers in Australia are worried that an unusually restrictive ‘export controls’ law that comes into force in April could constrain their academic freedom. The law, called the Defence Trade Controls Act, will require academics who are working on applied research that is classified as ‘dual-use’ — that which may Continue reading Australian cryptologists concerned by restrictive exports law