In 2003, a group of universities sharing common origins established the Innovative Research Universities as 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 University of Newcastle.

Consistent with the aim to support individuals optimise their future the IRU membership has changed over time.

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.

Western Sydney University joined in October 2017.

Since its inception, the IRU has been at the constructive centre of Australian university policy making, influencing political developments beyond the capacity of individual university members. We advocate policy that supports excellence in teaching, learning and research that has local relevance and global applicability.