| Education, Media Releases

New beginnings as IRU welcomes a new member and a new Executive Director

The Innovative Research Universities (IRU) welcomes the University of Canberra (UC) to its ranks and names Paul Harris as the new Executive Director.

From today, the University of Canberra is a member of the IRU, bringing the network’s membership to eight and its footprint to include all of mainland Australia.

“The University of Canberra is a wonderful fit with the IRU as our newest member,” said IRU Chair Professor Carolyn Evans.

“University of Canberra shares the goals of all our members to provide excellent educational opportunities for underserved populations, to undertake research which makes a difference domestically and globally, and to be engaged members of our diverse local communities.

“With the membership of UC, the IRU now has a member in all mainland states and territories and the existing members welcome this chance to work more closely with our colleagues in Canberra.”

University of Canberra Vice-Chancellor Professor Paddy Nixon said he is delighted for the university to be included as an IRU member.

“IRU is at the forefront of higher education and research policy and is a strong voice on the future direction of the sector,” he said. “UC is keen to join with like-minded academic and professional staff in progressing the work of member universities and the sector more broadly.


“The collective effort across teaching, research and community impact is impressive and we look forward to what the University of Canberra brings to the network as the only member from the nation’s capital.”

The IRU is also set to welcome its new Executive Director, Paul Harris.

Mr Harris previously worked as the Director of the North American Liaison Office of the Australian National University at the Australian Embassy in Washington DC, and prior to that was the Counsellor for Education and Science at the Australia Embassy in Tokyo. He has also worked at the CSIRO where he was the General Manager, Government and International Relations.

Professor Evans said the wealth of experience and understanding Mr Harris developed in his previous roles will greatly benefit the IRU.

“The selection panel was impressed by the thoughtful and globally informed perspectives he brought to Australian higher education policy issues and his vision for the IRU,” she said.

“We look forward to continuing to play an influential role in shaping public policy and contributing to our members under his leadership.”

Mr Harris will commence his role in mid-September and replaces Conor King who finished with the IRU in July after nearly 11 years.

| International, Media Releases, Students

IRU welcomes Commonwealth approval of international student return plans

The Federal Government’s approval of international student return plans in South Australia is welcomed by the Innovative Research Universities (IRU) as an important step in Australia’s COVID-19 recovery.

The IRU looks forward to an announcement from the Commonwealth Government regarding New South Wales’ international student return proposal. We see these are the first of several safe arrangements for students to return to Australia.

Last week the Federal Government announced its approval of a proposal by South Australia for international students to return to Australia via a specific quarantine hub that will ensure maximum safety for the Australian community and the students.

The plans aim for the return of 160 students per fortnight, with the costs covered by the universities and the students. It will not affect the number of returning Australians.

These are small numbers to renew an important element of Australia’s universities’ provision of excellent education to students, whether Australian or from most countries of the world.

IRU member Flinders University, its students and its local community, are set to benefit from this announcement.

IRU Executive Director Conor King said:

“The approval of the SA plan is a step in the right direction to help international students return to the country and to ensure Australia remains competitive as an international student destination.

“I hope that approved plans for other States and the Northern Territory will soon follow, supporting students from around the world to complete their education safely.

“International students choose Australian universities for the excellent education they will receive.

“International students contribute to the success of Australian universities, including for research outcomes and educational experience.

“This announcement from the Federal Government shows it recognises the importance of international students to Australia’s COVID-19 recovery.”