There are no suggestions the Blockchain Innovation Hub or any of its researchers have acted improperly or were not entitled to the grants.
Ah yes. The lawyers have been all over that story. 🙂 It seems to me, that was the original story The Guardian had hoped to tell. To be fair (why? Because it is the right thing to do) the journalist would have been led to believe that was the case by, at least two, anonymous academics.
One RMIT staff member, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the connection between key RMIT blockchain researchers and the IPA was a matter of “deep concern for an academic community that values independence and transparency”.
“The university has embarked on a severe austerity drive, including retrenchments,” the staff member said. “Given the generous funding involved in blockchain research, the university must satisfy itself that that the research is agenda-free and funds are appropriately spent.”
Another RMIT staff member, who also requested anonymity, said there was limited knowledge within the university of the hub, its links to the IPA and the level of funding it has received.
“I think it’s long overdue to actually put it out in the open and ask, ‘Well, what is going on?’ It is a reckless move that suggests there is something very wrong within the university. Staff deserve answers.”
Hmmmm. Anonymous academic values transparency. But moving on.
… the connection between key RMIT blockchain researchers and the IPA was a matter of “deep concern for an academic community that values independence and transparency”.
If the journalist had actually reached out to me and asked how I came to be involved with the IPA as formerly a “Senior Research Fellow” and then as an “Adjunct Fellow” I could have told him that RMIT seconded me to work at the IPA in 2008 under the university’s Industry Engagement program. This was a program where academics were sent out to work in a non-academic environment so that they could observe actual work-place practices and acquire “real-world” skills that could inform their education practices and RMIT could credibly claim that we produce work-ready graduates.
… the university must satisfy itself that that the research is agenda-free and funds are appropriately spent.
Our research output is open and transparent and can be viewed here (use the drop-down box under publications to toggle between categories). As to the use of funds, I too hope that they are spent wisely – that is mostly salary costs and capital allocations for our work-space).
… said there was limited knowledge within the university of the hub, its links to the IPA and the level of funding it has received
Hmmmmm. Unit reports to University Council via the Deputy Vice-Chancellor after having been set up by the Vice-Chancellor, but university has “limited knowledge”? The limited knowledge of my IPA links is also implausible – RMIT sent me to work there in 2008, the IPA has been written into my workplan as “Industry Engagement” every year since 2008, and into my “Conflict of Interest” Declaration. Below is a picture of the awards the university have given me as a result of my media work, industry engagement, and public intellectual status.
It seems to me that the only two people who have limited knowledge of the Hub are the two anonymous complainants. But I put to you, dear readers, that these individuals have limited knowledge of what it is their employer is doing and values.
That the university is making a big technology play is not a secret. It is in the name of the University. It is written into our strategic documents:
… we’re a global University of design, technology and enterprise …
Now I understand that people are worried about their employment. But if you are the sort of employee who doesn’t know what your employer is doing and why they are doing it, perhaps you should seek alternate employment.