NRO was established in response to two advisory reports. In January 2011 the commissie Nationaal Plan Toekomst Onderwijswetenschappen (National Plan Future of Educational Sciences Committee) chaired by Thom de Graaf published the ‘Nationaal Plan Onderwijs/leerwetenschappen’ (National Plan for Education/Educational Sciences).

One of their recommendations concerned the establishment of a task force. This idea was further elaborated by two trailblazers: Hubert Coonen and Anton Nijssen. In October 2011 they presented the report ‘Wetenschap en vakmanschap: onderwijsonderzoek voor en met de onderwijspraktijk – naar een landelijke organisatie voor onderwijsonderzoek en bevordering van kennisbenutting in het kader van het Nationaal Plan onderwijs/leerwetenschappen’ (Science and professional expertise: educational research for and in partnership with educational practice – towards a national organisation for educational research and the facilitation of knowledge utilisation within the framework of the National Plan Education/Educational Sciences).

The Minister of Education, Culture and Science responded to these reports by concluding a covenant with NWO about the Netherlands Initiative for Education Research in July 2012.


The NRO Steering Group is made up of representatives from:

  • fundamental research,
  • educational practice (primary and secondary education),
  • policy research,
  • the professional group of teachers, and
  • practice-oriented research.

The steering group is led by an independent chair. Programme councils are formed for each type of research in which researchers, educational practice and educational policy are represented.

Dr Jelle Kaldewaij is director of the NRO. Director of operations is the director of NWO Social Sciences, Dr Renee van Kessel-Hagesteijn.

Activities in 2013

In December 2012, director Jelle Kaldewaij started to build up the organisation with a small group of staff. NRO will become fully operational on 1 January 2014. The first funding rounds for new programmes are expected at the end of 2013. Prior to these a vision and strategy will be developed in which the full involvement of the education sector will be a clear priority. The programmes for the various types of research will also be further elaborated.