By ERWIN CHLANDA
The proposed co-operation between the Desert Knowledge movement and Charles Darwin University (CDU) is off to a rocky start with the apparent boycott of Professor Rolf Gerritsen (pictured at left).
He is the university’s senior and most prominent member in Alice Springs, a frequent public commentator on a range of issues, as the Professorial Research Fellow in the region for the The Northern Institute.
A CDU student, Coll Marshall, who applied to do a Master’s Degree, had requested Prof Gerritsen to be his supervisor.
Mr Marshall also applied for a grant from Desert Knowledge CRC (not Desert Knowledge Australia), now operating as Ninti One Limited, which has a multi million dollar contract from the Federal Government for slaughtering feral camels by shooting them from helicopters.
According to correspondence seen by the Alice Springs News Online, Mr Marshall was told he would not get the grant if Prof Gerritsen were the supervisor.
We put this allegation by email to Professor Murray McGregor (pictured at right) of Curtin University in Perth at noon yesterday (10:30am Perth time).
He is the General Manager Research, Innovation and Quality of Ninti One, managing the Cooperative Research Centre for Remote Economic Participation (CRC-REP) and the Australian Feral Camel Management Project.
Prof McGregor did not confirm nor deny the allegation but said, in a email at 1:15pm we would need to direct our enquiry to “our communications manager Linda Cooper”.
As he did not provide Ms Cooper’s email address we sent him a request at 2:17pm to forward our email to Ms Cooper.
At 4:12pm, having had no contact from Ms Cooper, we emailed a request for comment to Michael Dockery, Associate Professor at Curtin, who is mentioned in the correspondence of Mr Marshall.
Assoc Prof Dockery (pictured at left) rang soon after, saying that we would need to deal with Ms Cooper. We asked him to forward our emails to her and he said he would do that. We have not heard from Ms Cooper nor from Jan Ferguson, Managing Director of Ninti One, for whom we left a message this morning.
Meanwhile Mr Marshall has decided to stick with Prof Gerritsen as his supervisor and do without the grant from Ninti One.
By ERWIN CHLANDA