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.

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