Uni staff in $ 3.3m trips bill

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - ANDREW BACKHOUSE andrew. back­house1@ news. com. au

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.

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