Innovative Research Universities

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Innovative Research Universities
Established 2003
Members 6
Continent Australia
Country Australia
Chair Professor Colin Stirling

Flinders University

Executive Director Conor King
Other Names IRU

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

The network advises the government on higher education, research and innovation policy.[citation needed] Charles Darwin University, James Cook University, Griffith University, La Trobe University, Flinders University, and Murdoch University are IRU members.


Member Universities
University Location Founded University Status THE World University Rankings 2013–2014[1] Academic Ranking of World Universities 2013[2] QS World University Rankings 2013/14[3] QS Top 50 under 50 2013[4] THE 100 under 50 2013[5]
Charles Darwin University Darwin, NT 2004 2004 351–400 Not Ranked 471–480 Not Ranked 77
Flinders University Adelaide, SA 1966 1966 251-300 301–400 431–440 Not Ranked 71
Griffith University Brisbane, Gold Coast, QLD 1971 1971 Not Ranked 301–400 341= 41 86
James Cook University Townsville, Cairns, QLD 1970 1970 Not Ranked 301–400 351 45 Not Ranked
La Trobe University Melbourne, VIC 1964 1964 Not Ranked 401–500 390= Not Ranked 88
Murdoch University Perth, WA 1973 1973 301–350 Not Ranked 551–600 Not Ranked 57


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, a dynamic period characterised by massive expansion in higher education and extensive innovation in educational design and delivery – hence, the network name of ‘Innovative Research Universities’.

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


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.

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