Innovative Research Universities

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Innovative Research Universities
  • Australia
Carolyn Evans

Innovative Research Universities (IRU), formerly Innovative Research Universities Australia, is a network of eight comprehensive universities in Australia.

The main purpose of the group is to undertake advocacy on issues related to higher education policy, research and university students.

The IRU has eight university members: Charles Darwin University, James Cook University, Griffith University, La Trobe University, Flinders University, Murdoch University, Western Sydney University and the University of Canberra. Between them, the universities enrol over 238,000 students including around 55,000 international students.[1]

The IRU is one of the four main university groupings in Australia. The other groups are Australian Technology Network, Group of Eight and Regional Universities Network.


In 2003, a group of universities sharing common origins established the Innovative Research Universities a collaborative network to enhance the outcomes of higher education. The members were established as research-intensive universities during the 1960s and 1970s.

The founding six universities were: Flinders University, Griffith University, La Trobe University, Macquarie University, Murdoch University and The University of Newcastle. James Cook University joined in 2007, followed by Charles Darwin University in 2009. These additions were balanced as first Macquarie (2008) and then Newcastle (2014) left the group to pursue their future independently. In 2017, Western Sydney University joined, followed by the University of Canberra in 2021.[2][3]


Member universities
University Location State Year of foundation University Status THE World University Rankings 2022[4] ARWU World University Rankings 2021[5] QS World University Rankings 2021[6]
Charles Darwin University Darwin, Katherine, Alice Springs, Palmerston, Sydney NT 1974 2003 501-600 901-1000 701-750
Flinders University Adelaide SA 1966 1966 251-300 401-500 407
Griffith University Gold Coast, Nathan, Mount Gravatt, South Bank, Logan QLD 1971 1971 201-250 201-300 303
James Cook University Townsville, Cairns, Mackay, Mount Isa, Thursday Island, Rockhampton, Brisbane, Singapore QLD 1961 1970 251-300 201-300 462
La Trobe University Melbourne, Albury-Wodonga, Bendigo, Mildura, Shepparton VIC 1964 1964 201-500 301-400 398
Murdoch University Perth, Mandurah, Rockingham, Singapore, Dubai WA 1973 1973 501-600 501-600 571-580
University of Canberra Canberra ACT 1967 1990 170 701-800 456
Western Sydney University Bankstown, Blacktown, Campbelltown, Hawkesbury, Liverpool, Parramatta, Penrith NSW 1891 2001 201-250 301-400 474


All members of the IRU are ranked between 170 and 540 in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2021.[7] Five IRU universities are also ranked in the global top 100 in the Times Higher Education Impact Ranking 2021.[8] The group collectively attracts A$415 million per annum in research funding from national research agencies, industry and public sector agencies including local and state governments.[9][10] 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.


Locations of each IRU member’s main campus

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Statistics about the Innovative Research Universities (IRU) network".
  2. ^ Dodd, Tim (2021). "University of Canberra joins the Innovative Research Universities group". The Australian.
  3. ^ "Our History - Innovative Research Universities (IRU)".
  4. ^ "THE World University Rankings 2021". 25 August 2021. Retrieved 14 January 2022.
  5. ^ "ARWU World University Rankings 2021". Retrieved 14 January 2022.
  6. ^ "QS World University Rankings 2021". Top Universities. 5 June 2019. Retrieved 14 January 2022.
  7. ^ "World University Rankings". Times Higher Education (THE). 2020-08-25. Retrieved 2022-01-13.
  8. ^ "Impact Ranking". Times Higher Education (THE). 2021-04-16. Retrieved 2022-01-13.
  9. ^ "Research Income Time Series". 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  10. ^ "Statistics about the Innovative Research Universities (IRU) network".

External links[edit]