Uni staff in $ 3.3m trips bill
JAMES Cook University spent more than $ 3.3 million on overseas travel last year, sending staff around the world, including to London, San Diego, Brussels and Beijing.
The Queensland Government’s open data initiative revealed JCU staff took 1011 overseas trips during 2016.
It revealed that many of the trips were for conferences and seminars and for research and as part of collaborative efforts.
A JCU spokesman said it was globally- connected, research- intensive university with a high level of collaboration with overseas academics.
“JCU is proud of its strong links with researchers in other countries,” he said.
The spokesman said JCU was dedicated to creating a brighter future for life in the tropics around the world. He said collaborating with international researchers was a fundamental part of that strategic intent.
“JCU has a responsibility to share more broadly its researchers’ knowledge and skills to benefit the global community,” the spokesman said.
“Its researchers travel overseas to share the latest research with their peers, conduct workshops, and undertake research on field trips. Much of that field work takes place in our region and directly assists with capacity building, in areas such as health and medicine and environmental management.
“International collaboration also delivers many benefits for the university’s communities, including Townsville. JCU works with overseas researchers on ground breaking studies that directly benefit our communities, for example combating tropical diseases.”
The spokesman said many international researchers and students also visited JCU in Townsville each year, sharing their knowledge and providing an economic boost.
“Much of the spending on overseas travel is funded through grants provided by public and private organisations,” he said. “There are strict rules for spending the grants and it’s legitimate for travel to be funded by these grants which are subject to audit or reporting processes.”
Details of overseas travel expenditure are made publicly available as part of the university’s reporting requirements.