The Australian Education Research Organisation (AERO) is Australia's independent education evidence body.

Who we are and what we do

AERO is a ministerial-owned company governed by a Board. We are jointly funded by the Commonwealth, state and territory governments. We conduct research and share knowledge to promote better educational outcomes for Australian children and young people.

Our vision and objectives

AERO’s vision is for Australia to achieve excellence and equity in educational outcomes for all children and young people through effective use of evidence.

In support of this vision, we:

  • generate high-quality evidence
  • present the evidence in ways that are relevant and accessible
  • encourage adoption and effective implementation of evidence in practice and policy.

Our history

The establishment of a national evidence body was a key recommendation from the Review to Achieve Educational Excellence in Australian Schools (also known as the Gonski Review 2.0).

In December 2019, all Australian governments agreed to create an institute to position Australia’s educators at the forefront of education research to improve learning outcomes for all children and young people.

The creation of a national education evidence organisation was one of the national policy initiatives under the 2020 National School Reform Agreement, aimed at lifting outcomes across Australian education.

In 2020 Dr Jenny Donovan was appointed inaugural CEO of the Australian Education Research Organisation (AERO) and an independent Board was announced. 

AERO was incorporated in 2021, with the vision to achieve excellence and equity in educational outcomes for all children and young people through effective use of evidence.

AERO is a registered charity with the Australian Charities and Not for Profits Commission (ACNC) and we abide by ACNC’s governance standards.

How we work: Research

Each year, AERO will publish a Research Agenda (see Agency publications) outlining our annual priority areas of research. The research activity for each priority area is detailed in research projects. 

There 3 factors that help determine what goes in our agenda are:

  • Demand – We listen to the Australian education community to hear your priorities and interests.
  • Impact – We consider evidence gaps and areas of research that are likely to lead to the greatest impact.
  • Feasibility – We consider operational issues, including availability of resources, data and expertise.

We want to hear the topics that matter most to you. If you would like to suggest an area or topic that AERO should prioritise for research, please contact us.

Deciding our research projects

Projects are scoped through extensive consultation with relevant education stakeholders, including researchers, policymakers, teachers and educators. AERO seeks expert advice to assess the rigour and potential impact of our research projects. Projects are also approved by our expert Board

From time to time, AERO may also be commissioned by partner organisations to conduct research.

How we undertake research

AERO undertakes research projects in 3 ways:

  • internally using our research staff
  • commissioning other organisations or researchers to conduct entire research projects or a part of a particular research project
  • partnering with other organisations or researchers to collaborate on shared research projects.

We follow procurement governance policies and processes when commissioning or partnering with others.

Ethical and responsible research

The 'Principles for the ethical and responsible conduct of research' guide the conduct of research undertaken by or for AERO. We believe that for our research to be high-quality it must be produced ethically and responsibly. By holding ourselves accountable to these principles, we ensure our research:

  • pays respect and recognition to all people involved
  • has merit and integrity
  • is transparent, honest and accountable
  • promotes equity and accessibility.

Producing quality research

Our process involves:

  • seeking input from our advisory groups to ensure the research addresses the questions of interest and meets the perceived needs of stakeholders
  • external reviews by experts such as researchers and practitioners, selected based on their expertise and experience in the area of focus
  • internal peer review and checks, particularly to check compliance with established research conventions and adherence to our principles for the ethical and responsible conduct of research.
  • following jurisdictional guidelines and processes for conducting research in schools, including approval from Human Research Ethics Committees, where appropriate, to minimise the risks associated with our research. 

The AERO Board oversees the quality assurance process and, where required, will take action to ensure quality standards are maintained.

Our values

A teacher stands at the front of the classroom, talking to her students.

Ambition

We have an unwavering commitment to achieving excellence and equity in Australian education.

Collaboration 

We work with others to expand the depth, breadth and impact of education evidence.

Rigour

We apply relentless attention and care to ensure our work is of the highest standard.

Diversity and inclusivity

We seek and learn from difference of background, opinion and experience. We ensure the many contexts and experiences of Australian education are embedded in our work.

Transparency and integrity 

We build trust by being honest, sharing our work and supporting new ideas. We welcome scrutiny to enhance the integrity of our processes.