NRO has a Steering Group and four Programme Councils. The Steering Group consists of representatives from:
- fundamental research,
- educational practice (primary and secondary education),
- policy research,
- the professional association of teachers, and
- practice-oriented research.
The NRO programme councils are responsible for research programming:
- The Programme council for Practice Based Research (PPO) funds research that is closely related to daily educational practice. A question or point of improvement in educational practice should be the point of departure in the research. The solution to this problem must be researched in close collaboration between researchers and practitioners
- The Programme Council for Fundamental Education Research (PROO) focuses on fundamental research into Dutch education policy and practice. It specifically concentrates on research that contributes to solutions for important problems in education in the long term.
- The Programme Council for Policy-Oriented Education Research (ProBO) is responsible for programming policy-oriented research in education. Most research is commissioned by the Netherlands Ministry of Education, Culture and Science.
- The Overarching Programme Council for Education Research (OPRO) consists of members from the three other programme councils, and is responsible for research programmes which originate in at least two of the three perspectives (policy, practice, research).
To view the members of the steering group and the programme councils, please consult the Dutch page.
NRO was established in 2012 following two advisory reports. In January 2011, the ‘National Plan Future of Educational Sciences’ committee published the National Plan for Education/Educational Sciences (in Dutch). One of the recommendations concerned the establishment of a temporary taskforce. Further elaborating on this, Hubert Coonen and Anton Nijssen presented in October 2011 the report Science and professional expertise: education research for and in partnership with educational practice (in Dutch).
The Minister of Education, Culture and Science responded to this by concluding a covenant with the Dutch research council NWO about establishing the Netherlands Initiative for Education Research in July 2012.
In December 2012, director Jelle Kaldewaij, together with a small staff, started to build up the organisation of NRO. On 1 March 2013 the NRO Steering Group was appointed and in the autumn of 2013 the first funding rounds in new research programmes were opened. A vision and strategy were also developed in which the proper involvement of the educational field in education research is secured.
Since 1 January 2014, NRO has been fully operational with a structural annual budget of almost 15 million euros. Research programmes around specific themes of current importance are added to the budget on an incidental basis.