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Australian university group deepens Pacific links

Image: Torbenbrinker [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Innovative Research Universities will exchange knowledge and researchers with University of the South Pacific

The seven institutions in the Innovative Research Universities group have pledged closer links with Pacific higher education and research.

On 15 September, the University of the South Pacific and the IRU signed a memorandum of understanding around exchanges and collaboration. In a statement, the IRU said the agreement would mean “increased mobility for academic staff and collaboration in PhD programmes and research”.

The move is part of the IRU’s 2022-27 plan, which includes deepening links to the Pacific.

University of the South Pacific vice-chancellor Pal Ahluwalia said the agreement “signals a new phase in university partnerships between Australia and the Pacific”.

IRU executive director Paul Harris said that the group “has more partnership agreements with institutions in the Pacific than any other group of Australian universities”.


The announcement was made at the IRU’s Senior Leaders Forum, which marked the group’s 20th anniversary.

The IRU said that since 2006, around 850,000 students have graduated from its members, “total IRU research output has more than doubled and the number of highly cited publications by IRU members has more than tripled”.

Its current members are Flinders University, Griffith University, James Cook University, La Trobe University, Murdoch University, the University of Canberra and Western Sydney University.

The University of the South Pacific is headquartered in Fiji, but it has campuses in all its member nations: the Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, the Marshall Islands, Nauru, Niue, Samoa, the Solomon Islands, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.