Flinders University Vice-Chancellor Colin Stirling says he’s disappointed that the Federal government has chosen to withdraw funding for a possible high-level research collaboration with the Copenhagen Consensus Centre.
A group of senior Flinders academics had engaged in positive discussions about a possible Flinders-centric proposal that would have been significantly different from the arrangement that had previously been accepted, and later withdrawn, by the University of Western Australia.
These Flinders staff had been actively developing a proposal for a research proposition that aimed to address some of the globally significant issues of our time.
Discussions had been held with the Federal Department of Education regarding the structure of a possible bid but those discussions had not concluded and no formal proposal had been submitted.
Professor Stirling says whilst it is regrettable this opportunity has been withdrawn, the Flinders group evidently identified significant issues worthy of research attention that he hopes might find support through other avenues.
“Flinders acquitted itself with professionalism and integrity, and rigorously affirmed its commitment to academic independence,” he says.
“I am proud of the principled stance taken by colleagues here at Flinders on the issue of academic freedom.
“They adopted a process that engaged the wider university community. I understand that the proposal they were drafting reflected a range of viewpoints presented by their peers and others. I am pleased by the level of consultation and healthy debate that have occurred.
“Universities should be places for contesting controversial issues without fear or favour – and Flinders has shown itself to be a champion of this notion, displaying fortitude, vision, and independence. We will continue to seek research opportunities that invite the robust, critical thinking for which we’re renowned.”