The network advises the government on higher education, research and innovation policy. The universities in the IRU also share many characteristics with members of the 1994 Group in the United Kingdom.
Six members of the IRU are ranked in the world’s top 500 universities by the QS World University Rankings 2013/14, with some achieving rankings in the top 100-300 in specific subject areas. The group collectively attracts A$310 million per annum in research funding from national research agencies, industry and public sector agencies including local and state governments, rising to A$450 million when performance-based government block grants are included. The members are core partners in half of all Australian Co-operative Research Centres (CRCs). The CRC Program links researchers with industry and government, and emphasises research application.