Flinders Vice-Chancellor Professor Colin Stirling has taken up the chair of the national Innovative Research Universities (IRU) network.
Professor Stirling says enhancing the student experience and educational outcomes, along with promotion of innovation and enterprise, are the main priorities of his term at IRU, a network of six comprehensive universities committed to inclusive excellence in teaching and research across Australia.
Working collectively at the constructive centre of Australian university policy-making, the IRU influences political developments beyond individual university capacities to do so.
Professor Stirling says he has accepted the leadership role at a pivotal time of disruptive global change and significant debate around policy-settings for the sector.
“The IRU network will continue to play an active role in the political and policy considerations around higher education to ensure that our members can continue to deliver teaching and research that makes a difference to our communities,” Professor Stirling says.
“Amongst the many priorities of the sector – from funding and internationalisation to student outcomes and research impact – I will be determined to ensure there’s a particular emphasis on innovation and enterprise.”
“It is, in my view, the key to the sector’s growth, relevance and impact, and for guaranteeing the continued influence of universities in shaping our economic, social and intellectual growth and development.”
The IRU will respond to proposed changes to the tertiary education, including student fees, to ensure student costs and education outcomes are not compromised.
“IRU also looks forward to contributing to (Minister) Mr Greg Hunt’s plan for university-led geographical clusters, which complements the recommendations the IRU made in its recent research policy statement on ‘Building Regional Research Systems Across Australia’,” Professor Stirling says, thanking his predecessor La Trobe University Vice-Chancellor Professor John Dewar for his IRU leadership from 2014 to 2016.
Along with Flinders University, the other IRU members are Murdoch, La Trobe, James Cook, Griffith and Charles Darwin universities.