02 July 2023

University Councils support creation of new university in SA.croppedjpg.jpg

The University of South Australia and University of Adelaide signed a Heads of Agreement on 2 July 2023. L to R: Front: UniSA Chancellor Pauline Carr, SA Premier Peter Malinauskas, University of Adelaide Chancellor Catherine Branson; Back: UniSA Vice Chancellor David Lloyd, SA Treasurer Stephen Mullighan, SA Deputy Premier Susan Close and University of Adelaide Vice-Chancellor Peter Høj

The University of Adelaide and the University of South Australia have today entered into a formal agreement to work together to support the South Australian Government as it moves to create a combined new university for our State.

The agreement, which is conditional on the provision of significant financial support by the State Government, follows careful consideration of the feasibility assessment, which was informed by public feedback, and followed the release of the universities’ joint Vision Statement in March this year. 

The Heads of Agreement signed by the universities reflects the State Government’s policy intent and advances a legislative pathway to enable the opening of the new university in January 2026.  An extract of the Transition Plan is available to view here. 

Ms Pauline Carr, Chancellor of the University of South Australia, and the Hon Catherine Branson AC KC, Chancellor of the University of Adelaide, today said: 

“Our Councils found the benefits of combining the two universities to create a new Adelaide University to be significant and in the best interests of each of our institutions as well as the State of South Australia.”  

University of Adelaide Vice-Chancellor, Professor Peter Høj AC, and University of South Australia Vice Chancellor, Professor David Lloyd, said:  

“We believe the new institution will, in the medium and longer term, be of higher national and international standing than anything we could achieve individually. It will be better for our students, our staff and our community. We envision it to be a place for outstanding educators, researchers and innovators that will consistently rank in the top 1% of universities worldwide.  

“Establishing a new Australian university in this fashion provides a unique opportunity to accelerate ambitions for higher education in this state and nation. 

“By combining our strengths, this new university will be renowned from day one, placing our graduates among the most sought-after in the world. 

“We welcome the State Government’s significant and necessary investment for the new university and the Federal Government’s backing of our vision.” 

The new university has been invited to become a member of the prestigious Group of Eight (Go8) as one of Australia’s leading research-intensive universities. It will also retain the program areas, partnerships and regional facilities currently offered by both universities, and continue to offer students outstanding choice and exceptional opportunities for authentic workplace learning.  

Combining the strengths of both universities will bring economies of scale to deliver Australia’s most contemporary, industry-informed curriculum and enable transformational investments in teaching and research. 

Professors Lloyd and Høj said: “Combining our research capabilities will lead to a step-change in how we can support the key areas of critical importance to our state and nation and grow the South Australian economy for the benefit of all.  

“We thank the many staff involved in producing the comprehensive case and feasibility assessment that informed our Councils’ decision. We also thank everyone who provided input throughout the engagement process. 

“Planning for and co-creation of the new university will commence immediately, in partnership with staff and students and working collaboratively with our broader stakeholders.”  

Both universities have committed to no compulsory redundancies or retrenchments as a consequence of creating the new institution, effective from the date of the Councils’ resolutions and for the first 18 months post commencement of operations of the new Adelaide University 

Our focus will be on fulfilling our stated ambition for the new Adelaide University and to grow the workforce in line with educational and research success.   

Progressing the new university will require new legislative and regulatory approvals.   


The University of South Australia and University of Adelaide released a joint Vision Statement in March 2023, which outlined the proposed mission and objectives of a new university. This followed the two universities signing a statement of cooperation to explore the creation of a new university in November last year, in response to the South Australian government’s higher education policy. The Councils of the two universities asked the Vice Chancellors to bring forward a formal business case by midyear, which they would assess, and consider the proposal to amalgamate to create a new university.   

Media contact: megan.andrews@unisa.edu.au 

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