IRU response to the consultation draft of a revised National Code of Practice for Providers of Education and Training to Overseas Students

The IRU submission to the ESOS framework review in 2014, focused on the need to consider the interaction of ESOS with the newly developed national quality frameworks in higher education and vocational education and training. Our key argument was the need to target ESOS to the requirements specific to international students only. The national frameworks protect both international students and Australian students for the large number of factors relevant to all students.
The final step in the update of ESOS is the revision of The National Code of Practice for Providers of Education and Training to Overseas Students. The National Code is the major instrument for defining the requirements specific to international students.
IRU is disappointed that the proposed changes to the National Code maintain extensive duplication across the separate regulatory frameworks for international and domestic students. It does not sit well against the Government’s commitment to pare back regulation to clear, consistent requirements.
The IRU response:

  • first addresses the duplication across the Higher Education Standards and the National Code and then,
  • on the basis that the revised National Code will be the confirmed along the lines of the current draft indicates:
    • the important improvements included in the draft;
    • areas within the draft that should be amended.

Read full submission attached.

IRU submission to Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade consultation on the development of a Foreign Policy Whitepaper

This submission to the consultation on the development of a Foreign Policy Whitepaper sets out the issues of importance to higher education. Central to these themes is the importance of International Education to Australia, as a quality export, but also as a job-creator. Austrade, International Education 2025 stated, “International education is currently one of Australia’s top service exports, valued at $19.65 billion in 2015 (including fees and associated expenditure) and supports over 130,000 jobs in cities and regions throughout Australia”.1 In any period of economic uncertainty, education or re-tooling will always be sought after. From an outward facing prism, the role education plays in transforming lives should not be underestimated. Australia’s National Strategy for International Education stated two global trends to be mindful of in this context. Firstly, that with an increase in global development and industrialisation in the Indo-Pacific region will increase demand for skilled workers2 . Secondly, that with a global economy increasing mobility across the workforce, there is an opportunity for Australia’s education system to play in offering lifelong learning opportunities to students, professionals and researchers.3 In this context, this submission addresses the questions of most concern to universities, namely: 1. Which countries will matter most to Australia over the next 10 years? Why and in what ways? How should we deepen and diversify key relationships? 2. What steps should be taken to maximise our trade and investment and expand commercial opportunities for Australian business? How can we ensure Australia is positioned to take advantage of opportunities in the global economy? 3. How can Government work more effectively with non-government sectors, including business, universities and NGOs, to advance Australia’s interests?

For recommendations download the submission.

IRU students excel as New Colombo Plan 2017 scholars

The Innovative Research Universities (IRU) congratulate the twelve IRU students awarded New Colombo Plan Scholarships for 2017.

IRU scholarship winners will be supported to study and experience an internship in:

  • China: Elizabeth Dowrie, Griffith University and Georgia Toft, Griffith University;
  • Fiji: Katie Hicks, Charles Darwin University;
  • Hong Kong: Molly Jackson, Griffith University, Kimberley Johnson, Griffith University, Anna McKenzie, Charles Darwin University and Shaun Milligan, Griffith University;
  • India: Sidney Mason, La Trobe University;
  • Indonesia: Karis Erceg, Murdoch University and Hannah Sutton, Murdoch University; and
  • Singapore: Leah Brokmann, Griffith University and Rebecca Thorburn, La Trobe University.

The scholarships were presented to recipients by His Excellency General the Hon Sir Peter Cosgrove the Governor General at a ceremony last night [28 November 2016] following their announcement by the Hon Julie Bishop, Minister for Foreign Affairs.

The scholarships build off IRU members’ foundational commitment to engagement with Asia, exemplified by the creation of Australia’s first Asian Studies degree at Griffith University in the 1970s and our partnership with the Malaysia Research University Network.

IRU members enjoy long-established links with Asian counterparts. As opportunities for Australian interaction with Asia grow across all disciplines and areas of activity, IRU members lead the way in collaborative teaching, language, research and policy initiatives.  To learn more see

The Entrepreneur Visa: NISA #3

In its third submission to the government’s National Innovation and Science Agenda (NISA), Innovative Research Universities (IRU) supports the government’s plan to introduce a new Entrepreneur visa as a clear pathway to attract more entrepreneurial and research talent to Australia.  To achieve NISA’s aims, flexibility will be key.   The Entrepreneur visa should be implemented in an enabling rather than a restrictive manner while making sure immigration requirements are met.  In addition, the government should maximise the potential of the Entrepreneur visa by using it to encourage talent already in Australia to make the transition to entrepreneurship. 

IRU Collaborations in Asia

Innovative Research Universities (IRU) is actively engaged in integrating Australia’s education and research with the world around us, particularly Asia, improving outcomes both domestically and for our partners.

In support of the IRU commitment to strengthening research networks with Asia, the IRU members present research collaborations with Asian counterparts at the event ‘IRU in Asia: Meet the Researchers’ at Parliament House Canberra 23 June 2015.

The event highlights, across a range of disciplines, research projects between; Charles Darwin University, James Cook University, Griffith University, La Trobe University, Flinders University and Murdoch University with partners in China, Indonesia, Singapore, Cambodia and beyond.

Research projects are available to view here.

IRU’s policy statement on Australia’s role in contributing to and benefiting from research linkages with Asia, Strengthening Research Across Asia: An Asia Research and Innovation Network, released 17 June 2015 provides the context for wider IRU Asian engagement recommendations. It is available for download here.

IRU is improving the delivery of Asian languages beginning with Indonesian through cross IRU options to bring together students and staff embracing digital supports for teaching.

IRU students access the IRU Scholars in Asia program, to study and work in Asia as part of their degrees. IRU Scholars in Asia is an IRU-initiated student mobility program, and runs in addition to the excellent opportunities available through the Government’s New Colombo Plan.


For comment contact

IRU Executive Director, Conor King M: 0434 601 691

Australia’s place in An Asia Research and Innovation Network

Strengthening Research in Asia: An Asia Research and Innovation Network, published today by Innovative Research Universities (IRU), sets out a framework for an Asia Research and Innovation Network that increases effective engagement with Asia across academic and industrial areas.

The statement contextualises Australia’s position as a country able to contribute significantly to, and benefit greatly from, better research and industrial engagement with Asia.

In the digital world, conducting high-level research increasingly requires the involvement of teams of researchers working within multiple institutions across many countries.

An Asia Research and Innovation Network is the most effective way to grow and secure Australia’s place at the forefront of high quality research and relations. It is the basis for 21st century engagement.

IRU sets out how the Network can provide research funding, research infrastructure and researcher mobility.

IRU members have a foundational commitment to engagement with Asia and enjoying long-established links with Asian counterparts.

Research projects which exemplify member collaborations are available here. They will be highlighted to parliamentarians at an event in Canberra in June 2015, ‘IRU in Asia: Meet the Researchers’.

Strengthening Research in Asia: An Asia Research and Innovation Network is the second publication in the IRU Research series.
It is available for download from here.

For comment contact

IRU Executive Director, Conor King M: 0434 601 691

The impact of the Commonwealth Indigenous Advancement Strategy tendering process

The IRU submission targets the impact of the inclusion of higher education Indigenous programmes in the IAS, with the Indigenous Tutorial Assistance Scheme (ITAS) subject to the tendering process. The Innovative Research Universities (IRU) is a network of six research intensive, progressive universities, established in the outer urban areas of Australia’s capitals and in major provincial cities to stimulate economic, social and personal advancement. Our locations bring universities, with comprehensive activities across teaching and research, to areas where higher education participation and attainment is low, and where the university’s research and creation of graduates can strengthen the social and economic prosperity of the region.

Engaging with Asian: IRU signs agreement with Malaysia Research University Network

The Innovative Research Universities (IRU) signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Malaysia Research University Network yesterday 10 November 2014. The Memorandum commits the two groups to stimulate research linkages and to explore the common challenges ahead for teaching and learning.

“Successful partnerships between universities and between nations do not develop overnight. They are the product of a sustained commitment built on the premises of joint engagement and mutual benefit.” Professor John Dewar, Chair of the IRU said.

Aligning Esos with the national Quality Frameworks – Response to the ESOS Discussion

The Educational Services for Overseas Students (ESOS) framework of Act, National Code and national register (CRICOS) was created at a time when there were few if any explicit protections for higher education students. It is a valuable assertion of the importance of ensuring students receive a quality education and receive needed supports while studying. It has provided a frame to support adherence to visa requirements for students coming to Australia.

Since its creation there has been a major transformation in the formal quality regulatory arrangements for higher education and vocational education in Australia. There is now a suite of education regulatory frameworks governing providers, the quality of student outcomes, and protections for students and agencies to oversee their operation in TEQSA for higher education and ASQA for VET. The final element is to confirm the new higher education standards.

The question is whether significant elements of ESOS are now superseded.

The IRU argues that the creation of the general Higher Education Standards Framework and other quality arrangements means that it is time to integrate the provisions for international students such that there is a common set of expectations for all students. Specific additional protections or requirements for international students should be used only where needed to meet the distinct needs of international students. Read more in the attached PDF below.

Teaching and Learning in a Digital Era: Australia and Malaysia confront the global challenge

Today senior leaders from Innovative Research Universities (IRU) will join their Malaysian counterparts in a forum that targets how universities in both countries are responding to the digital revolution.

Hosted by Universiti Technologi Malaysia, YBhg Datin Ir. Siti Hamisah binti Tapsir, Deputy Director General (Public Higher Education Institutions), Department of Higher Education, Ministry of Education will open the Forum.