About us

Established in 1980, the Industrial Relations Research Centre (IRRC) is the longest-established research centre in its field in Australia. It has continued to remain relevant by addressing emerging issues of concern in the changing world of work and workplace relations, both local and international.

The IRRC welcomes researchers from different academic disciplinary backgrounds inside and outside UNSW, from a range of business and industry sectors, and from around the world, to come together in its workspace or online, in order to conduct projects or contribute to publications. A common goal is the production of rigorous evidence-based analysis with relevance to social, economic and legislative policy or ethical workplace practice.

Depending on the issues of the day and the research interests of the Centre's Associates, the focus of the Centre's activities may change. At present, it has a critical mass of capabilities in the following fields:

  • Minimum labour standards and their enforcement, workplace health and safety, precarious employment, and employment equity and diversity
  • Skills policy and approaches to skills gaps, skill and workplace performance, service skills, skill identification and pay equity
  • Employer and employee organisations, workplace relations and skill policies in Asia-Pacific economies
  • Institutions, governance, ethics and sustainability

The IRRC, in conjunction with the Centre for Applied Economic Research, publishes The Economic and Labour Relations Review, a peer-refereed journal designed to make accessible the academically rigorous analysis of current issues.

Strategic objectives for 2013-2016

  • The Centre will focus on evidence-based research that addresses significant issues and problems at work, including innovative and ethical practices in workplaces and effective regulation of labour standards
  • It will engage in both individual and collaborative research projects including externally and competitively funded grants
  • The Centre will publish findings of this research in scientific journals and books
  • It will also provide the infrastructure for publishing an international journal on the intersection of economic, social and labour market policy debates
  • The Centre will disseminate the results of research in these fields to the wider community through media releases/social media, seminars/conferences, keynote addresses, industry forums, consultancies and reports

Key performance indicators

During the review cycle/planning period of the IRRC, the following outcomes would be:

  • Apply for/secure one major competitive research grant (eg ARC linkage)
  • Complete/make substantial progress towards completing at least one existing large competitive grant
  • Publish four issues of the journal ELRR per year (16 over the planning cycle)
  • Publish one book (research monograph) with a reputable international publisher
  • Publish 16 by-lined articles in scientific journals
  • Deliver at least four presentations at conferences/public forums and run at least one event/conference (in addition to invited guest speakers)
  • Provide submissions to or serve on at least one government advisory body relevant to the centre’s research expertise.
  • Network with overseas researchers in terms of collaborative projects and arranging at least two presentations/visits at the centre