813 research outputs found

    Efficiency of Research Performance of Australian Universities: A Reappraisal using a Bootstrap Truncated Regression Approach

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    The motivation of the study stems from the results reported in the Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) 2010 report. The report showed that only 12 universities performed research at or above international standards, of which, the Group of Eight (G8) universities filled the top eight spots. While performance of universities was based on number of research outputs, total amount of research income and other quantitative indicators, the measure of efficiency or productivity was not considered. The objectives of paper are twofold. First, to provide a review of the research performance of 37 Australian universities using the data envelopment analysis (DEA) bootstrap approach of Simar and Wilson (J Econ, 136:31–64, 2007). Second, to determine sources of productivity drivers by regressing the efficiency scores against a set of environmental variables.Data envelopment analysis, efficiency, universities, bootstrap truncated regression, environmental variables.

    Efficiency, technology and productivity change in Australian universities, 1998-2003

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    In this study, productivity growth in thirty-five Australian universities is investigated using nonparametric frontier techniques over the period 1998 to 2003. The inputs included in the analysis are full-time equivalent academic and non-academic staff, non-labour expenditure and undergraduate and postgraduate student load and the outputs are undergraduate, postgraduate and PhD completions, national competitive and industry grants and publications. Using Malmquist indices, productivity growth is decomposed into technical efficiency and technological change. The results indicate that annual productivity growth averaged 3.3 percent across all universities, with a range between -1.8 percent and 13.0 percent, and was largely attributable to technological progress. However, separate analyses of research-only and teaching-only productivity indicate that most of this gain was attributable to improvements in research-only productivity associated with pure technical and some scale efficiency improvements. While teaching-only productivity also contributed, the largest source of gain in that instance was technological progress offset by a slight fall in technical efficiency.Productivity; technical and scale efficiency; technological progress; Malmquist indices; universities.

    Preparation of DNA-Functionalised CdSe/ZnS Quantum Dots

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    We functionalised core-shell CdSe/ZnS quantum dots (QDots) with short-chain 3-mercaptopropionic acid (3MPA) to render these nanocrystalline semiconductor water-soluble. The ligand-exchange reaction was significantly improved with the use of an organic base to first remove the thiolic hydrogen. Non-bound 3MPA could be removed from the colloid by dialysis, but it was found that the choice of membrane is important. Cellulose membrane obliterated the photoluminescence of the QDots, while cellulose-acetate membrane worked well. Amine-modified DNA was then attached to the QDots through amide bond linkage, using EDC and NHS as reaction promoters. The pH of the reaction medium has an important impact on the successful attachment of functional DNA on the QDots.Singapore-MIT Alliance (SMA

    Agricultural productivity in the presence of undesirable output: The case of African agriculture

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    The motivation for this study stems from two major concerns that are interlinked. First, the on-going food security crisis of African countries. Second, the negative impact greenhouse gas (GHGs) emissions from agriculture have on future food production which worsens the food insecurity problem. The conundrum SSA faces is the need to increase food output through productivity growth while minimizing GHG emissions. To measure changes in productivity growth and GHG emissions, this study evaluates agricultural performance of 18 African countries by utilizing the Malmquist-Luenberger index to incorporate good and bad outputs for the years 1980 to 2012. The empirical evidence demonstrates that productivity is overestimated when not considering bad outputs in the production model. The analysis will also provide a better understanding of the effectiveness of previous mitigation methods which would then allow for appropriate course of action to achieve the twin objectives of increasing agriculture productivity while reducing GHG emissions

    Science and Film-making

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    The essay reviews the literature, mostly historical, on the relationship between science and film-making, with a focus on the science documentary. It then discusses the circumstances of the emergence of the wildlife making-of documentary genre. The thesis examined here is that since the early days of cinema, film-making has evolved from being subordinate to science, to being an equal partner in the production of knowledge, controlled by non-scientists

    DNA binding shifts the redox potential of the transcription factor SoxR

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    Electrochemistry measurements on DNA-modified electrodes are used to probe the effects of binding to DNA on the redox potential of SoxR, a transcription factor that contains a [2Fe-2S] cluster and is activated through oxidation. A DNA-bound potential of +200 mV versus NHE (normal hydrogen electrode) is found for SoxR isolated from Escherichia coli and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. This potential value corresponds to a dramatic shift of +490 mV versus values found in the absence of DNA. Using Redmond red as a covalently bound redox reporter affixed above the SoxR binding site, we also see, associated with SoxR binding, an attenuation in the Redmond red signal compared with that for Redmond red attached below the SoxR binding site. This observation is consistent with a SoxR-binding-induced structural distortion in the DNA base stack that inhibits DNA-mediated charge transport to the Redmond red probe. The dramatic shift in potential for DNA-bound SoxR compared with the free form is thus reconciled based on a high-energy conformational change in the SoxR–DNA complex. The substantial positive shift in potential for DNA-bound SoxR furthermore indicates that, in the reducing intracellular environment, DNA-bound SoxR is primarily in the reduced form; the activation of DNA-bound SoxR would then be limited to strong oxidants, making SoxR an effective sensor for oxidative stress. These results more generally underscore the importance of using DNA electrochemistry to determine DNA-bound potentials for redox-sensitive transcription factors because such binding can dramatically affect this key protein property

    Smallholder farmers’ adaptation to climate change and its potential contribution to UN’s sustainable development goals of zero hunger and no poverty

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    Climate change is likely to worsen poverty, and agriculture-dependent groups and poorest countries are at the greatest risk. Farmers’ have begun developing and implementing climate change adaptations. This study investigates the extent to which climate change adaptations by smallholder farmers have the potential to contribute to the UN’s sustainable development goals of no poverty (SDG 1) and zero hunger (SDG 2). To this end, the study measures the impact of such adaptations on food production using farm-level survey data from Nepal. We utilize a matching technique and stochastic production frontier model to examine the productivity and efficiency of farmers. Results reveal that the group of farmers adopting adaptations exhibit higher levels of productivity and technical efficiency in food production as compared to the non-adopters. It is evident from the results that policy makers should encourage farming households in climate change adaptations, which have the potential to enhance farmers’ productivity and efficiency in agriculture, thereby contributing to two of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of eradicating hunger and poverty (SDG’s target indicators 2.3)

    The Role of Protein Kinase A Regulation of the E6 PDZ-Binding Domain during the Differentiation-Dependent Life Cycle of Human Papillomavirus Type 18

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    Human papillomavirus (HPV) E6 proteins of high-risk alpha types target a select group of PSD95/DLG1/ZO1 (PDZ) domain-containing proteins by using a C-terminal PDZ-binding motif (PBM), an interaction that can be negatively regulated by phosphorylation of the E6 PBM by protein kinase A (PKA). Here, we have mutated the canonical PKA recognition motif that partially overlaps with the E6 PBM in the HPV18 genome (E6153PKA) and compared the effect of this mutation on the HPVl8 life cycle in primary keratinocytes with the wild-type genome and with a second mutant genome that lacks the E6 PBM (E6ΔPDZ). Loss of PKA recognition of E6 was associated with increased growth of the genome-containing cells relative to cells carrying the wild-type genome, and upon stratification, a more hyperplastic phenotype, with an increase in the number of S-phase competent cells in the upper suprabasal layers, while the opposite was seen with the E6ΔPDZ genome. Moreover, the growth of wild-type genome-containing cells was sensitive to changes in PKA activity, and these changes were associated with increased phosphorylation of the E6 PBM. In marked contrast to E6ΔPDZ genomes, the E6153PKA mutation exhibited no deleterious effects on viral genome amplification or expression of late proteins. Our data suggest that the E6 PBM function is differentially regulated by phosphorylation in the HPV18 life cycle. We speculate that perturbation of protein kinase signaling pathways could lead to changes in E6 PBM function, which in turn could have a bearing on tumor promotion and progression