Academics at the University of Western Australia have demanded its hierarchy explain how "sceptical environmentalist" Bjorn Lomborg was appointed as an adjunct professor for a new "consensus centre", questioning whether the Danish researcher hand-picked by Prime Minister Tony Abbott has the proper qualifications.
· Climate change skeptic gets $4 million ‘education’ centre at UWA although the Commonwealth is stripping $80 billion from health and education over the next 10 years
· The idea for the grant came from the prime minister’s office.
In a letter to David Harrison, UWA' s head of corporate and government affairs, obtained by Fairfax Media, the head of the School of Animal Biology Sarah Dunlop said one international research fellow is already set to transfer their fellowship to another institution in protest.
On behalf of her school, Professor Dunlop wrote that Dr Lomborg did not have the necessary academic track record to justify his appointment as an adjunct professor.
"The school would therefore like to know by what process the appointment was made and did it take the quality of Dr Lomborg's research track record into account?" the letter asks.
"It appears that $4m has been awarded without undergoing independent peer-review. Peer review is essential as it minimises conflict and bias and is at the very heart of Australian and, indeed international, world class standards for the ethical conduct of research," she wrote.
Professor Dunlop continued: "Existing PhD students in the school are concerned that this appointment will tarnish their accomplishments as graduates from this university. In addition, staff in the school have been inundated by correspondence from collaborators and stakeholders concerned about the University's decision."
While the government is expected to supply $4 million for the centre, UWA's website reveals it is seeking $13 million in funding and in-kind support.
Academics at the university have demanded to know where the additional funds will come from.
He said he anticipated the extra funding for the centre would come from the corporate sector but said no donations would be accepted from the fossil fuel industry.......of course!