Upcoming Events

National | Economics and Finance

no events match your query!

Blog Feeds

Spirit of Contradiction

offsite link The Party and the Ballot Box Sun Jul 14, 2019 22:24 | Gavin Mendel-Gleason

offsite link On The Decline and Fall of The American Empire and Socialism Sat Jan 26, 2019 01:52 | S. Duncan

offsite link What is Dogmatism and Why Does It Matter? Wed Mar 21, 2018 08:10 | Sylvia Smith

offsite link The Case of Comrade Dallas Mon Mar 19, 2018 19:44 | Sylvia Smith

offsite link Review: Do Religions Evolve? Mon Aug 14, 2017 19:54 | Dara McHugh

Spirit of Contradiction >>

Public Inquiry
Interested in maladministration. Estd. 2005

offsite link Public Services Card: Some still forced to comply

offsite link Catholic Church: Dark influence still active Anthony

offsite link Tom Parlon launches new career in comedy Anthony

offsite link Presumption of innocence does not universally apply in Ireland Anthony

offsite link The poor standard of Irish political journalism Anthony

Public Inquiry >>

NAMA Wine Lake

offsite link Test ? 12 November 2018 Mon Nov 12, 2018 14:28 | namawinelake

offsite link Farewell from NWL Sun May 19, 2013 14:00 | namawinelake

offsite link Happy 70th Birthday, Michael Sun May 19, 2013 14:00 | namawinelake

offsite link Of the Week? Sat May 18, 2013 00:02 | namawinelake

offsite link Noonan denies IBRC legal fees loan approval to Paddy McKillen was in breach of E... Fri May 17, 2013 14:23 | namawinelake

NAMA Wine Lake >>

Universities: milking publicly funded positions for personal profit

category national | economics and finance | opinion/analysis author Saturday December 21, 2019 20:25author by Diamantina Report this post to the editors

Unique universities: now the only place where senior public officers can live abroad, have few checks on expenses and tax, and benefit personally from public funding of gene patents 

The exploitation of tax funds for private personal gains by state sector employees, particularly at universities.UCC as example.
The public is funding things like applications for human gene patents. This means that we all have to pay to have access to our genetic coding and bodies. The people applying for the patents stand to benefit personally in any future income generated by such patents because despite being paid a publicly funded salary, the universities also pay the employee a percentage in future.

Research is a title which can cover a vast array of jobs in scientific and pseudo- scientific disciplines.  In Ireland, as in some other places in Europe, universities are the first place some people look for jobs which involve research. This is because there is state funding and the outcomes which are required as part of the job description can be very few if any.
Researchers in publicly funded university roles with salaries many times the average make use of publicly funded colleagues and equipment. Frequently, the researchers use their status and reputations to gain funding, apply for patents, or attempt to make a private company at a later date. The funding taxpayers receive nothing in return and do not own any part of any future gains built using tax funds.

Using UCC as a focus, because we have personal experience and some insight, what follows describes some things which have completely shocked and depressed those who have studied the issues. There doesn't seem to be any independent body to oversee or regulate the universities, and recent new rules relating to HEA oversight still won't change taxpayers' money being used to seek gene patents.


Academic employees with no undergraduate or clear teaching role

There are employees at HE institutions (e.g. UCC) who have no undergraduate teaching responsibilities. These employees may in theory ‘supervise’ a number of postgraduate students, however there are no required outcomes or minimum numbers, and these students are essentially tokening in case of scrutiny over use of public funding towards what are in essence private research companies funded by taxpayers. There may be many contracts which do not stipulate any minimum hours or responsibilities for teaching. UCC refuses to be open about this and has refused FOI requests.

Academic research employees who may not have contractual minimum grant funding
It is unclear how much funding researchers should have from outside grants especially from private sources instead of from taxpayers. It is unclear what the level of University funding is per department. Although many job adverts for research professors may talk about evidence of achieving grant funding, there are usually no minimum requirements, and no ongoing discussions of the worth of individual researchers who may achieve little outside funding during may years of receiving salary. This means they will rely on departmental university funding and government grants which come from us.

Academic employees who may have brief open contracts
This relates to the issue that some contracts may not stipulate attendance, defined roles, rules on receiving private payments from other institutions or businesses, and who may be able to use the state-funded staff and equipment provided to them for patenting ideas or for publishing articles which benefit the employees and/or others and not the main publicly funded employer.

Employees including academics who can be permitted to have main residence (and collect other income and social security benefits) in countries other than in Ireland.
Within institutions like UCC some people will have contracts denoting responsibilities, residency requirements and expected outcomes, while others will have few if any, often with much higher pay. This means that people in receipt of a great deal of public funding including a hugely overpaid salary, do not necessarily have to reside in Ireland. They may commute for part weeks when not on a university long vacation. FOI requests about employees with residence in other countries, expenses for commuting from other countries, and for expenses more generally, have been refused. It is possible to ask (and we all can understand) what funds are used for at a local hospital, at a council or school, but this is not the case at a university. The universities often do anything they can to frustrate the process of being open, and do not like to make accounts publicly available. This may be not surprising given the payments made to some staff, the expenses allowable, and the lack of any obvious benefit to anyone but the ones voting for such as university managers are able to do. In some cases it's believed that no-one in the Education departments would know or have power to know what tax is being paid in what countries by senior public employees at universities.
At UCC for example, employees can live abroad, have other incomes, pay or not pay taxes and claim state support in other counties, then fly several times a week to the 'Green Award bragging' university. The universities have nothing but their own rules to choose as they please, including voting on their own pay. It wasn't long ago Michael Murphy justified his salary by moaning about his personal struggle as he had a big mortgage, compared to what he could 'get' the magical private sector, or another country, where contrarily all the people who say this seem to be incredibly reluctant to go to. Go. Please.
At UCC in 2017 the Governing Body decided that Patrick O'Shea was the best person for President. His wife and family live in the USA, and in choosing Mr O'Shea the University supports and encourages people to fly regularly between their homes on different continents. The 'home' for Mr O'Shea in Cork is a luxury apartment funded by the taxpayer. Whether other expenses are regularly being covered by the taxpayer, such as flights to the US, cleaners' fees, housekeepers and ironing services, taxis, flights for his wife and other relations to attend events at UCC (like meeting Prince Charles, where Mrs O'Shea appeared), is not something the University wants to reveal. There appear to be no ongoing regular checks, questions or inspections, rules (adhered to or not), or abilities to regulate on the part of the HEA or any other body.
A lot of damage is being caused to the environment by university employees flying as a form of commuting. At the same time as advising students and junior employees to be sure to recycle coffee cups. At the same time as being positive about Greta, and advertising Green credentials (which must be based around things such as recycling cups while the question about use of flights and taxis by some employees was missing?). Maybe once Mr O'Shea feels he has banked enough after the 10 years, he will be back in one of his residences with his wife in the USA. Presumably this model of living is one which we should all aspire to, because surely a university president who talks about 'University of the Family' and about how environmentally caring the university is, believes this way of life is the one a graduate or non-graduate should aim for. No higher position than a university president for all those graduates. They can live in hope, and should start looking for their most beloved partners who will live on a different continent for many years (as long as they can live in state-funded luxury whilst doing so).

As always with obscene overpayment, most of the employees with salaries of far over €100,000 are able in reality to retire from ‘working’ after a few years in order to maintain an unearned income, manage their wealth, and have poorer people pay money to them for things like rentals. Vassalage is alive and well and there are parallel societies created in most of the developed countries by this large scale abuse of public funds and the dishonest defence of things being done ‘for the public good’. Many choose not to retire early however, because the life for such employees is often more convenient than a home life when the work environment has heated offices with secretaries and catering, subservience, not to mention the possibility of funded worldwide travel. How such abuse of funds taken from much poorer people goes on in the modern world is inexplicable, and such system of permitting the universities to vote on their own overpay is part of the problem. The universities are the place to look if people want to find the cause of the great problems in societies such as inequality and the health of people affected by this. The universities can be seen as one big tax funded gravy train, with complete freedom unlike the health service and education departments. For example, there are few other public organisations where it happens as at UCC that a President can publicly complain about a salary over €230,000, and be in charge when someone came up with the 'business need' for a department called 'Visual Thinking Strategies' which Mrs Murphy was found to be the most suitable person to run, receiving a taxpayer funded salary and pension well into the future.
Moreover, the umbrella organisation of the IUA exists not to oversee the universities but to promote them, and it is governed by the directors of the universities. There is no independent person or department which has any power when it comes to universities and higher education. . All FOI requests on these issues have been refused so far, and questions about ‘one person, one salary’ and the salaries and incomes of employees, especially non-teaching, have been refused. In reality the employment of some staff is simply justified by it adding points to surveys which are undertaken by profitable companies such as QS systems.

Funding is coming from students and tax including those on minimum wages.
Yet the IP claimed by Universities or researchers is to benefit the universities, the spin-out companies, and the researchers who may have been nowhere near a laboratory for many years.  It is not unusual for researchers to be funded publicly for many years and to then start a company if they think it will be profitable, so to avoid giving any ownership to the university.

 Many students, including international ones who pay very high fees, may have little idea of what their fees are being used for.
There are many employees from whom the undergraduates will derive no benefit now or in future, yet their fees are supporting. Their funding goes to staff to effectively run their own mini-business ventures which will benefit themselves.

In private companies employees do not usually own patents.
The company and the people who voluntarily paid for the research own any patents. For example, one of the statin developers Akira Endo who was working for Sankyo did not personally derive much direct financial benefit for his ‘discoveries’ at the time, but was likely to have been in receipt of a salary the company decided and he signed for.

There may be no rules given by the government as to the destination and purpose of income derived from IP (for example) owned by publicly funded organisations and researchers.

There may be no rules or guidance given by the government as to tests of worth or ethics of research conducted with public funds. The funders of this research have no choice over it, and no benefits from it. Even if there were benefits, for some the lack of choice on funding it makes it anyway wrong.


In a number of universities in Ireland, professors often receive salaries of 8-10 times the average wage.
For example, at UCC all professors receive over €100,000. This may be in addition to very high expenses and costs, some of which may even be categorised to research funding, such as travelling without any expected outcomes to meet with 'collaborators' despite the internet, and to stay in hotels around the world. In addition, most departments which conduct research have many staff and salaries for postgraduates. In addition to a salary in many cases of around €200,000, such employees can claim benefits from any IP they register using the many resources provided to the department. Even if millions of Euros were to flow from any IP, there is nothing going back to the government and the students who paid. Instead, the employee named on the patent or publications (whether or not they contributed or whether they actually just supervised postgraduates from abroad) is paid around a third, with the university keeping around two thirds of any IP income. The managers can choose to do as they please with this, including offering even higher salaries to a few, and having more luxury hotel stays within the departments with bigger budgets. They may choose to make a position paid over €120,000 as a 'special adviser to the President - as Michael Murphy had.   The more overpaid people such universities can recruit and retain, the more are on the same train to protect the racket and talk about extreme talent or specialness (despite all statistics and evidence to the contrary), and the need for public research and funding to help save the poor people from themselves. Whether it is our ‘bad cholesterol’ (we need), our diets, raising our children, our microbiomes, our sleep, our reproduction, it’s clear we cannot be trusted to know what we want and need for our own bodies and minds. It seems we may need such ‘talented special’ people to walk beside us at all times, in order to check where we spend our hard-earned money, what we eat, and in case we get sick and must turn around and ask permission to (and to pay) to look at our own cells. We can see our own strands of DNA in a jar with washing-up liquid, but due to modern patenting we probably do not own it.
In order to profit the researchers would prefer to medicalise everything by ‘disease mongering’, including giving labels like ‘epidemic’ to social problems such as e.g. obesity. On this topic, most obesity is thought to be related to such factors as poverty. It may be observed that many of the not impoverished researchers who promote their papers and work in this area are themselves suffering from overnutrition. However, perhaps due to their own surfeit of income, homes, holidays, subservient staff, domestic staff, material goods, catering, these researchers apparently lack any insight into the causes for the majority of the rest of the world. Receiving millions over a lifetime of public funding and pensions does nothing at all to help the nurse or true single parent on minimum wages and zero hours contract who comes home too exhausted mentally and physically to carefully choose and cook food for himself let alone family.

In terms of biotechnology, gene patenting and protein patenting have been illegal since 2015 in the USA (as described by Tania Simoncelli in the link below).
However, it is still possible in Europe. In addition, as always there are various way to try to get around the ideology and ‘spirit’ of the gene patent ban, for example by making a copy of the DNA, RNA, sequence, proteins etc. Many researchers are using public funds in order to try to patent the smallest of our human or animal sequences, processes, proteins, anything possible. It goes against open science and it does not benefit society but rather prevents innovation. It also harms society often at a very individual level when people can be denied drugs, cannot afford drugs, or when progress is held up by the thickets of patents each company must wade through. This seems to me to be abhorrent and morally completely wrong. It makes the question of whether it is ever discussed and publicised in any manifestos when talking about funding for higher education.

Did you know the funded institutions can use the funding entirely as they please?  These are cells, processes and substances owned by us, held in our own skin. There may always be greedy and calculating people such as Martin Shkreli who, knowing slavery has been outlawed in theory, would probably want people to stay sick due to the profitability of modern biotech patent laws. But having public funded research and IP based on exploiting this is not just and is very harmful for a number of reasons. Believing that such avarice and ill will exists only in the private sector seems misplaced because the logical thing for many greedy and selfish people would surely be to exploit the public funding to gain possibility of IP which will benefit them personally in addition to a vast yearly salary, all without giving anything back to the funders.  

It may come as a surprise to some people including inventors whose ideas, discoveries, inventions, and e.g. mechanical designs either work or don’t, that patents can be made in biochemistry for naturally occurring substances or processes even if their function is unknown and even if a use is merely posited and still unproven. If one looks at the number of patent applications for human genes, processes, sequences, proteins, and ligands such as GPCR’s, it is possible to see why the applications have become known as a ‘gold rush’.

I believe that millions of people would like ‘work’ whereby they received the following:  10x modal salary from the public and students;  laboratory from the public and students; ability to conduct much work from abroad via skype or email, and permission to have flexible hours and no rules on outcomes; staff (public funded) who depend on the superior for assessment and grades; public (departmental) and student funding for all work carried out; rights to part of income from any IP and funding to achieve the IP patenting; and potential to have own company all of which was funded by the public and students.

The funders of such organisations could be said to be part of an unusual Dragon’s Den without knowing what we are funding, why we are funding it, and without owning any part of the resultant outcomes if any.
Seeking patents and attempting spin-out companies based on gene patents is so obviously harmful to humankind and open science, yet it is going on as you read this. It shows that the 'scientists' have no ideas or research aims which seek to change the world for the better, it's all about personal gain, ideally funded by the bus drivers, paramedics, nurses, hospitality workers.

Technology and engineering innovations work or don't work. Whereas in human biology billions of euros are being exploited by people who have few skills and who use the modern phenomenon publishing obsession to seek funding for research which will either bring no benefits to the general funding public or actually harm them In chasing yet another citation or paper, this also can waste millions of animals lives and cause a great deal of suffering to them.
But according to Mark Ferguson of SFI, "There’s no such thing as a failed research project." Presumably he doesn't think that his company Renovo represents a failure and any waste. Him and his wife apparently benefited to the tune of millions from a company and research which received taxpayers funding of millions. The SFI is responsible for giving grants to researchers including those at universities.

The promotion of higher education establishments as being research-based has enabled many people to be funded whose last ideal is teaching, hours helping students, or helping progress and open science.
Students who place value on ratings and things like QS systems may have little idea what is happening at universities and how this continued government funding for research may actually prevent innovation, and may be a detriment to everyone, not least the millions of animals give pain throughout short lives and then having necks broken in laboratories as part of the ‘publish or perish’ mentality. They should perish and stop this giant waste of all our money which we need to just pay bills after a day’s work on the roads, in hospitality, bus driving, site engineering, at the school, or in the hospital including as a surgeon. To my knowledge it is not permitted for any scientifically trained person such as a pharmacist, doctor, or surgeon to use a hospital’s resources to further their own interests such as income through any patents applied for as a result of using staff and laboratories. Likewise, not permitted at a school or government office. Whereas in a university it is the one place on earth where this happens. Many universities recruit researchers just before an assessment phase in order that the many papers to the name will add on more points. All is gaming in hope of maintaining a system of publicly funded research because the people at the top have very vested interests in terms of the worth and ‘respect’ (‘I’m working for the government, for humankind!’) of their past work as well as the next 20 years of desk work and pensions.  Is it different to grifting? It is wasting money which is very needed by the people who are paying, where they live often unable to have a reasonable quality of life even though employed.

There are thousands of private companies large and small conducting research, many of which are also harmed by such public funding to a few with a mentality of ‘it’s there to be used’ no matter the source of the funding, the morality of it, and the clear poverty and social injustices around them in society. I would say these few are people who use taxis not buses, who stay in the best hotels in Rome and Venice, who may take their families along on trips, who may work alongside their spouses, who believe everyone will and should nod and never question what on earth they do each day, where they do it, and why they are being paid to do it. People who say ‘I’m a doctor’ despite not being near patients for many years if at all. A temporary student dependent on grading by a superior, or junior members of staff on temporary contracts, are not in an equal employment situation with most professors who are funded by the state, unlike most employees at private companies. Moreover, the guaranteed state funding provided to universities means that many small start-ups and private companies are at a huge disadvantage. There are a number of articles discussing this.

If you would like to grow a company involved in research then you would have a hard time because the universities receive so much and are able to use ‘research exemption’ in order to avoid paying for some licences. It would not be easy to compete with that even if your research and plans were good, because you would not have the same exemptions and your work could be prevented due to the millions of patents held for basic ‘sights’ which occurred in a university test tube or in animals.

In the comments below are some links to pages and talks relating to these issues.

If anyone who reads this believes the use of public funds for personal gain by university staff as well as things like gene patenting is wrong, then please please raise the issues with your local representatives and consider joining any groups lobbying for the banning of gene patenting.

author by Diamantinapublication date Sun Dec 22, 2019 12:49author address author phone Report this post to the editors

PATENTS, PUBLIC GOOD, GOVERNMENT FUNDING

https://www.ted.com/talks/tania_simoncelli_should_you_be_able_to_patent_a_human_gene?language=en (Ted Talk by Tania Simoncelli)

https://www.wired.com/2013/04/gene-patents-are-impeding-the-future-of-medicine/

https://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com/2013/04/16/genes-should-not-be-patented/ by Jerry Coyne

https://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com/2017/05/11/should-research-funded-by-the-public-be-patented/ by Jerry Coyne

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/apr/24/gene-patents-scientific-research-innovation (Gene patents are a hindrance to innovation by Adam Rutherford)

http://www.michaeleisen.org/blog/?p=1981 (Patents are destroying the soul of academic science by Michael Eisen)

https://www.forbes.com/sites/timworstall/2015/10/24/why-we-can-stop-government-funding-of-science-it-doesnt-create-much-innovatio...53f74
(Why We Can Stop Government Funding Of Science: It Doesn't Create Much Innovation by Tim Worstall)

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2015/07/23/one-big-myth-about-medicine-we-know-how-drugs-work/?noredirect=on&utm_term...ff50f
(One big myth about medicine: We know how drugs work by Carolyn Y Johnson)

https://www.cato.org/publications/commentary/who-should-fund-science
(Who Should Fund Science by Patrick J Michaels)

https://www.economist.com/special-report/2005/01/20/profit-and-the-public-good

https://philpapers.org/archive/ANOPGA.pdf

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C_PVI6V6o-4 (The Myth of Science as a Public Good by Terence Kealey)

https://cbhd.org/content/right-patent-human-being-fact-fiction-or-future-possibility

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/sep/08/human-dna-belongs-to-no-one-it-shouldnt-be-patented

https://ghr.nlm.nih.gov/primer/testing/genepatents

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2013/07/12/you-cant-patent-human-genes-so-why-are-genetic-testing-companies-getting-s...ff516

https://www.npr.org/2011/10/24/141429392/deadly-monopolies-patenting-the-human-body?t=1539608334996

http://www.purdylucey.com/what-do-we-do.php?what-we-do-id=7
(including question seriously asked, ‘can you patent human beings?’. The state funded university ‘scientists’ would if they could. Some are trying, by patenting genes, using tax funding to do so. Patent lawyers would, university administrators would. It’s as if the government funding goes to their heads and beings a kind of craziness, and they will do anything to bring more money to themselves and feel they are sanctioned by the government thus everyone, to do this).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vjsMR7RaeeQ
(Free Thoughts Podcast: Ep. 61: Science Doesn't Need Public Funding (with Terence Kealey)

https://www.cato.org/publications/commentary/end-government-science-funding
(End Government Science Funding by Terence Kealey)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jfs9J5G00Ik&t=706s
(Dr John McDougall, 10.48 ‘you can’t patent a foxglove’)

https://www.drmcdougall.com/misc/2007nl/feb/guidelines.htm
(John McDougall news relating to disease mongering, which occurs in most biotechnology spheres nowadays including obesity, cardiovascular, fertility, neurological, aging etc.)

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/the-embarrassing-destructive-fight-over-biotech-s-big-breakthrough/

https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/the-genetic-goldrush-the-genes-in-your-body-couldnt-possibly-belong-to-someone-else-coul....html

https://www.theguardian.com/science/2000/jan/18/genetics.leaders

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Who-Owns-You-Corporate-Philosophy/dp/1405187301

https://www.quora.com/If-a-research-project-is-funded-by-a-government-grant-who-owns-the-result

https://www.lexology.com/library/detail.aspx?g=495d8f71-2aca-40b0-90be-7c41df2132be

https://www.tms.org/pubs/journals/JOM/matters/matters-9004.html
(in Ireland?)

https://www.bostonglobe.com/business/2017/04/17/vertex-ceo-pay-falls-second-straight-decline/hjavbxdKfJbQwCZODVNTcJ/story.html

COSTS OF DRUGS AND PUBLIC FUNDING

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/health/nhs-pharmaceutical-companies-drugs-developed-taxpayer-money-global-justice-now-stop-aid....html

https://www.globaljustice.org.uk/news/2019/feb/4/nhs-spends-nearly-%C2%A3500m-cancer-drugs-developed-public-funding

https://www.globaljustice.org.uk/resources/democratic-public-ownership-uk-pharmaceutical-sector

OPEN SCIENCE

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/sep/13/scientific-publishing-rip-off-taxpayers-fund-research
(Scientific publishing is a rip-off. We fund the research – it should be free by George Monbiot)

https://www.timeshighereducation.com/news/danes-step-away-patenting-favour-open-science

http://www.isei.manchester.ac.uk/TheManchesterManifesto.pdf

https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20160129/09420033460/beyond-open-access-open-data-open-science-no-patents.shtml

http://deevybee.blogspot.com/2010/08/how-our-current-reward-structures-have.html

RESEARCH SUPERVISORS
https://www.theguardian.com/higher-education-network/2015/dec/11/bad-phd-supervisors-can-ruin-research-so-why-arent-they-accountable

SALARIES
https://dailycaller.com/2013/09/09/the-nine-colleges-in-america-with-the-most-ridiculously-overpaid-professors/

https://theconversation.com/why-everybody-knows-ceos-are-overpaid-but-nothing-happens-47769

http://www.margaretsoltan.com/?p=36162

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/want-to-know-why-professors-dont-teach/article1202892/

HIGHER EDUCATION

https://www.forbes.com/sites/ccap/2017/03/31/how-colleges-rip-off-students/#741c71737a32

http://www.thejournal.ie/readme/opinion-not-everyone-needs-or-should-have-to-go-to-college-3787828-Jan2018/

https://www.theguardian.com/higher-education-network/blog/2014/jun/20/why-no-value-place-on-teaching-experience-uk-universities

https://tophat.com/blog/professor-training-academic-culture-change/

https://www.theguardian.com/higher-education-network/2014/dec/15/research-excellence-framework-five-reasons-not-fit-for-purpose

https://www.nature.com/news/major-review-calls-time-on-gaming-in-uk-research-assessment-1.20343

PUBLISHING: guest, gift, ghost, salami-slicing

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3162772/

https://www.springer.com/gp/authors-editors/authorandreviewertutorials/biomed-central-editor-tutorials/publication-and-research-e...ghost

https://www.nature.com/articles/nmat1305

author by Diamantinapublication date Mon Dec 23, 2019 22:19author address author phone Report this post to the editors

A presentation by Tania Simoncelli

Related Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r_xV-M0KPo0
author by Diamantinapublication date Mon Dec 23, 2019 22:29author address author phone Report this post to the editors

A Free Thoughts podcast with T Kealey

Related Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vjsMR7RaeeQ
author by Diamantinapublication date Thu Dec 26, 2019 21:42author address author phone Report this post to the editors

FT article

Related Link: https://www.ft.com/content/071a7a40-c3aa-11e1-966e-00144feabdc0
author by kyrpublication date Fri Dec 27, 2019 13:37author address author phone Report this post to the editors

UCC paying for luxury housing for 1 person while they have other home/s in USA.
Does UCC pay for flights to USA or for family to fly?

https://extra.ie/2017/12/09/news/irish-news/ucc-president-patrick-oshea

Related Link: https://extra.ie/2017/12/09/news/irish-news/ucc-president-patrick-oshea
author by Iverpublication date Fri Dec 27, 2019 14:01author address author phone Report this post to the editors

UCC Pharmacology 2019
"The team discovered the endogenous agonist for the AT2 receptor hereby named "EA" (European Patent Application Number: 18177878.8)
The team also discovered and claimed the first antagonist based on EA
The team is now involved in the development of two intellectual properties namely, the development of non-peptidic compounds of EA and secondly, the identification of the best diseases to target with treatment options. Recent research has focussed on how the AT2 receptor determines susceptibilty to Cerebral Malaria in mice."

This is gene patenting by a university.
The salary for the Head of Pharmacology, the position Michael Murphy once had, is around €140,000.
Tax payers are funding this.
The 'invention' is called this for reasons unknown. Given machines costing many thousands, and enough time, most people can 'see' printouts of gene codes and results.
More funding is being given through TIDA due to such inventions, not likely to change life in Ireland in any way for anyone.
Likely to impede access to medicines and likely to raise cost.
Likely to prevent research into genes.
The University seeks to hold a patent which will most likely bring no income (though it has brought more taxpayers funding, wrongly). If there is any income, the university can do as it pleases with it, and it promises a percent also to the people already in receipt of salary hugely, wrongly, overpaid.

author by Iverpublication date Fri Dec 27, 2019 18:31author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Why does Mr O'Shea use planes so much?

https://www.pressreader.com/ireland/the-irish-mail-on-sunday/20180527/281887298978791

A penthouse at the Elysian is being funded by builders, drivers, minimum wage families, nurses, doctors, engineers, business owners paying high rates.

author by Sandopublication date Fri Dec 27, 2019 19:02author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Who needs to work more than a few years at €140,000?
This was the pay of Michael Farrell who was corporate secretary.

Pensions are ginormous after just a few years.

Must be very unique and special individuals. Must be like Einstein or like a footballer with special legs. But everybody paying, not just sponsors.

Michael Farrell supposedly retired but then was still on payrool for one day a week, in a job which UCC refused to specify in a FOI.

His retirement cost the public too.

From the Public Accounts Committee

"Deputy Alan Kelly
This the quick fire question round again. I have a question for UCC. The corporate secretary - whom I will not name but the witnesses know who I am referring to - recently retired. The witnesses gave details to this committee of the pension, substantial lump sum etc. There was also a request for the cost of his retirement do but that was not provided. How much was it?

Mr. Diarmuid Collins
I emailed that to the secretariat of the committee on Tuesday.

Deputy Alan Kelly
Just tell us how much it was.

Mr. Diarmuid Collins
It was about €15 per head. It was €2,400 overall.

Deputy Alan Kelly
It was €2,400. That cost was paid by the individuals attending.

Mr. Diarmuid Collins
The gift was paid by a collection.

Deputy Alan Kelly
What was the cost of the event?

Mr. Diarmuid Collins
That was the cost of the event itself.

Deputy Alan Kelly
Hold on. Did the people who were attending pay for it themselves or did the college pick up the tab?

Mr. Diarmuid Collins
There was a departing gift-----

Deputy Alan Kelly
Not the gift.

Mr. Diarmuid Collins
The gift was paid for by a collection of individuals at no cost to the university. The university did pay for the retirement function. That cost €2,496.

Deputy Alan Kelly
For clarity, the €2,496 was paid by the college and the €56 was paid for by the staff or the people close to him? Fair play to him, he had a long career etc. What is he doing now?

Mr. Diarmuid Collins
He is retired.

Deputy Alan Kelly
He is not working for the Irish Management Institute, IMI.

Mr. Diarmuid Collins
No, he does not work for IMI. He works - as part of the normal scheme agreed with the HEA - a day a week with the university.

Deputy Alan Kelly
Is he working under a contract or is he an employee?

Mr. Diarmuid Collins
He is an employee for 20% or one fifth, one day a week.

Deputy Alan Kelly
He is an employee and not on a contract.

Mr. Diarmuid Collins
No, there is no invoicing. It is through payroll."

Presumably the current corporate secretary Nora Geary is being paid similar sums. Hello payment of MANY times the median average wage. Why bother doing more than 5 years at that? Unless, maybe there is a struggle like Mr Murphy, having purchased palatial mansions and having to upkeep. Invest your overpay and maybe you can have poor people forced to pay you expensive rent.

Anyone know what the highly skilled, uniquely talented deputy corporate secretary Keith Burke is getting?

author by Iverpublication date Fri Dec 27, 2019 19:25author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Does anyone know what Michael Farrell's new job was (or is, UCC don't want to be open)) for one day a week?

If you can be paid around the median average wage in Ireland for 1 day a week, in a 'secret' role which is not stated on UCC site, then UCC should let the students know URGENTLY how to follow this path being modelled by the university as the great bastion of innovation, independent thinking and acting for the 'public good'.

If one can do it, all can. Please, what is the secret to this way of life. It must have been his brilliant spark (that needs saving, please give us more funding).

author by Iverpublication date Fri Dec 27, 2019 19:41author address author phone Report this post to the editors

How is it that TDs and other public servants are under heavy scrutiny and disclose expenses and so on, while public servants paid much more, like many at universities such as UCC, don't have to disclose anything?

What is the cost of flights for UCC staff? How much and why? Family members?

No wonder the managers at these places are utterly terrified of 'government interference' or 'losing independence'. Essentially, they want to be given the money, vote on their salaries, and there be absolutely no mechanisms for even the government to ask what they do with the funding.

No one knows what job roles are, what hours are student (or customer) facing, whether the university is going to attempt gene patenting. The university is answerable to nobody despite using millions in funding. Any questions are always too little too late. The wrongly paid , bloated, and greedy are already happy managing their funds by the time any very light and polite questions are put to the managers.

author by Iverpublication date Fri Dec 27, 2019 20:37author address author phone Report this post to the editors

..."Box 6. Why education systems are vulnerable to pervasive corruption
National education systems across the developing world are particularly vulnerable to pervasive corruption, largely for three reasons:

1. As one of the few governmental agencies with high visibility representation all the way down to the community level, education is an attractive structure for patronage and manipulation of local sentiment.

2. Decisions perceived to have significant consequences for people’s lives are made by ‘gatekeepers’ who control decisions at each of these levels.

3. A considerable amount of education funds are spent in small amounts, across scattered sites, most of which have weak accounting and monitoring systems.

Source: Chapman, 2002: 3."

"What is the magnitude of corruption?

The magnitude of corruption is usually estimated by the way in which it is perceived. The Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) published annually since 1995 by Transparency International thus measures the degree to which corruption is perceived to exist among public officials and politicians; it reflects the perception of business people, academics and risk analysts (both residents and non-residents). It is a composite index, drawing on 16 different polls from 10 independent institutions.
The countries close to 10 are considered ‘highly clean’ and those close to zero ‘highly corrupt’. According to the CPI 2005, which includes 159 countries versus 146 in 2004, more than two thirds of the nations surveyed score less than five (see Map 1). Nearly half of the countries score less than three, indicating a severe corruption problem. Corruption is perceived as most rampant in Chad, Bangladesh, Turkmenistan, Myanmar and Haiti. Oil-rich countries also score poorly.
Some countries have deteriorated since 1995, some of which have a very high income: Poland; Argentina; the Philippines; Zimbabwe; Canada; Indonesia; Ireland; Malaysia; Israel; Slovenia; Czech Republic; the United Kingdom; and Venezuela (in descending order of significance).
One of the strongest improvements since 1995 is the Republic of Korea, whose government has announced its goal of belonging to the top 10 countries.
There are also a few estimates of the economic costs of corruption. The World Bank thus roughly estimates the cost of corruption at 1 trillion dollars a year, in an economy of 30 trillion. "

author by Kyrpublication date Sun Dec 29, 2019 17:53author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Diarmuid Collins and his fight for justice

https://www.irishexaminer.com/ireland/education/senior-ucc-officer-seeks-lifting-of-freeze-on-pay-137281.html

Mr Collins has overseen refusal of a number of FOI's including about salaries.

author by Kyrpublication date Sun Dec 29, 2019 19:23author address author phone Report this post to the editors

6 reasons why Higher Education needs to be disrupted

https://hbr.org/2019/11/6-reasons-why-higher-education-needs-to-be-disrupted

author by Kyrpublication date Mon Dec 30, 2019 17:14author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Does anyone know what median average private sector pay looks like as of 2019? Not forgetting pensions either.

http://www.ronanlyons.com/2009/02/04/public-sector-pay-in-ireland-the-e50000-question-its-not-that-difficult/

There really are 2 different universes in many countries, those who are abusing public sector funding and those who aren't.

The abuse (and possible corruption, which will be discussed soon) is not by state funded hospital porters, midwives, pharmacists, teachers, road workers, drivers. These jobs have contracts which, if they are standard full-time around the average pay (often without possibility to work from 'home' or have flexitime), make it highly unlikely the employee is 'working' in other countries, taking other incomes, flying in to work, claiming expenses for family members to fly, claiming social security in other countries and so on.

How can it be that the representatives for Higher Education do not know what contracts exist at universities? If a university wishes to make a role called 'Head of drug smuggling' there is absolutely nothing preventing it. There are no minimum teaching requirements. There are no requirements at all which can't be overcome if the president or his friends decide they like the person or it benefits them or their ego in some way. €140,000 and students don't know the person is 'employed' there. €140,000 and living abroad, claiming other incomes, and with no necessary outcomes from the role at the university.

When questions were raised in the past about minimum teaching hours, Mr Murphy claimed that people tend to 'work down to' the hours if they were imposed. Like all the rest of the world who have hours, hospitality workers, hospital staff, doctors, teachers, all 'working down' to their hours and then running out the door laughing at all their free time: fun.

author by Kyrpublication date Mon Dec 30, 2019 17:56author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Do you only have one home?
Is it 25m2?
No statues or marble?
Lacking bucolic views where you can have your best thoughts?
Why are you setting such a bad example?
Did you make bad choices and decide not to work in a role where you get expenses to fly your wife around and then make a whole new department for her to run?
Have you considered doing better for your children?
Work harder, work better, get a talent for pity's sake!

https://www.irishexaminer.com/ireland/ucc-heads-holiday-home-up-for-rent-at-2000-a-week-210352.html

Everyone CAN'T do it, because everyone can't be paid 10 x the average median.

Why did things develop so that some people working in universities were paid more than any other state employees in Ireland? In some cases no one knows what jobs they do or why. The HEA don't care. It's not their money. It's no one person's.
Why is it acceptable to use public funds to give for universities to do things like gene patenting?
When awarding more funding, did ministers John Halligan and Heather Humphreys make the choices with lots of discussion about gene patenting and ligands, and looking at patent directories, looking at what the people of Ireland might like to have their tax go towards, and why the universities want to do this?

author by Kyrpublication date Mon Dec 30, 2019 21:31author address author phone Report this post to the editors

In relation to the 28k for 1 day a week (the former corporate secretary), does that actually mean 28k for 25 days work once holidays are taken into account? How many days 'work' is it?
In the secret unspecified role as university managers are free to make up as they go, especially for their friends and family.

author by Kyrpublication date Mon Dec 30, 2019 22:15author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"In the public service including the Civil Service, all positions of employment in respect of which the maximum salary is not less than the maximum salary of a principal officer (general service grade) in the Civil Service, i.e. €92,672 with effect from 1 January 2010, are prescribed as designated positions of employment (under SIs No 698 and No 699 of 2004)."

On the declaration it says:

1 “spouse”, in relation to a person, does not include a spouse who is living separately and apart from the person;
2 "civil partner" in relation to a person, means a civil partner within the meaning of the Civil Partnership and Certain Rights and Obligations of Cohabitants Act 2010, but does not include a civil partner who is living separately and apart from the person;

So Patrick O'Shea's family and any linked interests in USA are not included or are they? There they are at UCC functions wearing badges?
He is paid over €190,000 before the expense account, world travel, luxury penthouse.

https://hr.per.gov.ie/disclosure-forms-designated-positions-of-employment/

author by Kyrpublication date Tue Dec 31, 2019 14:40author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Another 'spin-out' company.

Funded by the taxpayers. Does anyone know how much time and resources and how many already highly paid employees were of UCC were involved?

How much came from government funds? Can't private enterprise be left to gamble instead of using tax money which the public has not been given any choice over.

When did a university's aims become to make software for prescribing to the elderly, and to fund companies with shareholders and directors who will benefit personally?

In liquidation.

https://www.ucc.ie/en/news/archive/2014andbeyond/2011pressreleases/success-for-ucc-spin-out-company.html

Do the grant awarding bodies go by what Anita Maguire says? She is an employee and colleague within UCC.

I want to start a business but firstly I'm going to give myself an award from, erm, myself, and then apply to the government to give me more funding.

author by Kyrpublication date Tue Dec 31, 2019 18:50author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Here the Echo had more luck than others in FOI!

There was a photo of Michael Murphy on UCC's social media which showed him looking radiantly self-satisfied while posing with a glass in Singapore at the alumni event. At the time he was no longer president and was back in the Dept of Pharmacology and Therapeutics without any obvious responsibilities or necessary outcomes there. Why he was paid undoubtedly vast expenses to travel to Singapore in this role is a mystery. Did his colleague and wife Sioban go too?

After a FOI request about costs of the Singapore event, the photo was removed (and the request refused).

https://www.echolive.ie/corknews/University-College-Cork-racks-up-18m-travel-bill-in-20-months-5b17a0dc-d009-42f7-8d48-dab9f1be81...dd-ds

The conferences attended by some employees involve luxury hotels around the world. We have insight into employees lying about what they do at the conferences, and into employees attending events for 2 hours on one day of a 4 day event so using the rest of the time to sightsee, meet friends, and spend time trying to gain private income from meetings.

author by Kyrpublication date Tue Dec 31, 2019 20:43author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Some questions are
what hotels do these people stay in?

who decides who goes?

what outcomes should arise and what outcomes do arise?

https://www.facebook.com/UCCAlumniNetwork/photos/a.2553494668039859/2553501911372468/?type=3&theater

November in New York

What is John Fitzgerald the University Librarian (also a farmer who presumably discloses all his incomes and interests) doing there and how much did his trip cost?

How many people does UCC employ who have professional accreditation in librarianship? Are the people working in library services on lower salaries at UCC mostly female?

author by Kyrpublication date Wed Jan 01, 2020 19:33author address author phone Report this post to the editors

How many presentations, posters and 10 minute speeches at foreign conferences do taxpayers like to fund?

When there is no such thing as a 'failed research project' there is no end to the possibilities.

Grant Churchill from Oxford gave a presentation to a few people at UCC. A pity no one has developed a system whereby people can see and hear other people without having to be in the same room.

Thus a link to IntraBio (an advert) on UCC pages. Has the University of Oxford funded IntraBio and if so by how much? What part does UoO own?
What part does Grant Churchill own?

Mallory Factor is the Chair.
"Teacher at The Citadel, The Military College of South Carolina, formerly a banker and public relations specialist"

https://www.the-scientist.com/features/how-orphan-drugs-became-a-highly-profitable-industry-64278

https://ec.europa.eu/health/documents/community-register/2019/20190410144606/dec_144606_en.pdf

author by Iverpublication date Wed Jan 01, 2020 23:11author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Why are so many publicly funded overpaid senior employees at state universities so desperate to avoid their children being educated by the public state school system?

If only they would spend their overpay and excess free time at their desks lobbying and contributing for better resources, smaller class sizes, and better special needs resources, instead of begging for more money which can be used not to reduce university class sizes and increase the contact time but rather to pay someone to guest, gift, ghost, salami more and more publications to report to profit making companies in foreign countries to get 'points' in rankings or for 'being green' (yet no one is to ask about the claims for flights and travel).

Paying to send your children to some of the most expensive schools in the world. What a missed opportunity to 'espouse to create more value in the world and to make the lives of other people better'.

What is very funny is that many people talk about improving education, opportunities for all, and the need for more investment. There is the perfect chance to have all the parents who find the state schools so terrifying (what with all the giant classes and people who very well may be poor) contributing the fees they want to spend to the state schools. Already most schools have things like trips which are 'pay if you can afford' and the children of families who can't afford are not excluded.

But ask these parents who talk about too few resources, or no specialised courses, no gigantic sports facilities, to spend their money improving the state schools, and they begin to mumble incoherently. When they say they believe the state schools are not good enough, they mean for THEIR families. They want better, for THEMSELVES. They would fall over in horror if they were expected to pay to improve the lives of OTHER families. Talk will begin about working very hard for their money, yes even those overpaid state funded senior university employees, who go on to hope to manipulate the sentiments of the public, who are disgusted by FOI, and who want to never be transparent and have laws about transparency and salaries. The very people who are being overpaid by the state and who plead for more because it's 'education' and 'for the public good', while plainly not practicing any beliefs in this when it comes to schooling (which majority of children in the world experience, as opposed to university education settings).

author by Iverpublication date Wed Jan 01, 2020 23:11author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Why are so many publicly funded overpaid senior employees at state universities so desperate to avoid their children being educated by the public state school system?

If only they would spend their overpay and excess free time at their desks lobbying and contributing for better resources, smaller class sizes, and better special needs resources, instead of begging for more money which can be used not to reduce university class sizes and increase the contact time but rather to pay someone to guest, gift, ghost, salami more and more publications to report to profit making companies in foreign countries to get 'points' in rankings or for 'being green' (yet no one is to ask about the claims for flights and travel).

Paying to send your children to some of the most expensive schools in the world. What a missed opportunity to 'espouse to create more value in the world and to make the lives of other people better'.

What is very funny is that many people talk about improving education, opportunities for all, and the need for more investment. There is the perfect chance to have all the parents who find the state schools so terrifying (what with all the giant classes and people who very well may be poor) contributing the fees they want to spend to the state schools. Already most schools have things like trips which are 'pay if you can afford' and the children of families who can't afford are not excluded.

But ask these parents who talk about too few resources, or no specialised courses, no gigantic sports facilities, to spend their money improving the state schools, and they begin to mumble incoherently. When they say they believe the state schools are not good enough, they mean for THEIR families. They want better, for THEMSELVES. They would fall over in horror if they were expected to pay to improve the lives of OTHER families. Talk will begin about working very hard for their money, yes even those overpaid state funded senior university employees, who go on to hope to manipulate the sentiments of the public, who are disgusted by FOI, and who want to never be transparent and have laws about transparency and salaries. The very people who are being overpaid by the state and who plead for more because it's 'education' and 'for the public good', while plainly not practising any beliefs in this when it comes to schooling (which majority of children in the world experience, as opposed to university education settings).

Number of comments per page
  
 
© 2001-2020 Independent Media Centre Ireland. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by Independent Media Centre Ireland. Disclaimer | Privacy