Indonesia Country Research Team

The Indonesian Country Research Team is a multidisciplinary group of thirteen academic researchers with expertise in economics, education, political science and programme evaluation. The project is led by the SMERU Research Institute, an Indonesian, independent institution that conducts research and public policy studies on socioeconomic and poverty-specific issues. International partner institutions include the Amsterdam Institute for Global Health and Development, a multidisciplinary research institute that analyses the causes and consequences of health and education outcomes in developing countries; and Mathematica Policy Research, a U.S. research organisation that has conducted assessments of the effectiveness of policies and programmes in the public and private sectors for nearly fifty years.

Team Leader

Sudarno Sumarto

Sudarno Sumarto is the Team Leader for the Indonesia CRT and is an economist and former Director of SMERU. His current position as a Policy Adviser for the National Team for the Acceleration of Poverty Reduction (TNP2K), Office of the Vice President of the Republic of Indonesia, shows his strong connection to Indonesian policymakers. He is also a former head of the Statistic Society Forum in Indonesia. He holds a PhD and an MA from Vanderbilt University, both in economics. He is also a Visiting Fellow at the Southeast Asia Forum (SEAF) at Stanford University. He has extensive experience in leading large-scale research projects, including a study on teacher absenteeism. He has published a series of refereed articles, books, working papers, and research reports related to education policies, poverty, and social protection. His work has been published in international peer-reviewed journals such as the Journal of Political Economy, Journal of Development Economics, and Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization.

Deputy Team Leader

Daniel Suryadarma

Daniel Suryadarma is the Deputy Team Leader for the Indonesia CRT and is based at SMERU. He conducts applied economics research in the areas of education, poverty and social policy. His work has appeared in peer-reviewed journals, including American Economic Journal: Applied Economics and Journal of Development Economics. His research has informed policy discussions at the Indonesian Vice President’s Office, Indonesian Ministry of Education and Culture, Australian Aid Program, and the World Bank. He is also an honorary lecturer at the Australian National University, a member of the expert roster at the International Initiative for Impact Evaluation (3ie), and an assessor for the Australian Research Council. Previously, he has held positions at the Palladium Group, Center for International Forestry Research, and the Australian National University.

Key Researchers

Luhur Bima holds a master’s degree in economics from Uppsala University in Sweden and a bachelor’s degree in international economics and business from the University of Groningen in the Netherlands. He worked with Bappenas and completed an internship with the University Medical Centre in Groningen, the Netherlands. He has been involved in various research projects, including a study on teacher absenteeism, independent impact evaluation of the KINERJA Program, child poverty and disparities in urban areas, and multidimensional child poverty.

Menno Pradhan

Menno Pradhan is a Professor in Project and Program Evaluation at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and the University of Amsterdam. He works in the areas of health, education and poverty, focusing on the evaluation of policies in these areas. His research uses applied mirco-economic techniques to study topics like health insurance, early childhood development, teacher incentives, community participation in social services and subjective poverty. Before joining AIGHD, he worked as a Senior Education Economist at the World Bank office in Jakarta, Indonesia. Besides Indonesia, he recently has conducted research in Ghana, Kenya and Uganda.


Picture of Ulfah Alifia

Ulfah Alifia holds a master's degree in communication science from the University of Indonesia, and an undergraduate degree in horticulture from Bogor Agricultural University (IPB). Previously, she worked as a consultant for the Center for International Forestry Research (2012-2013), the Ministry of Forestry, and Indonesia Climate Change Trust Fund (ICCTF).

Picture of Arjuni Rahmi Barasa

Arjuni Rahmi Barasa holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from Universitas Padjadjaran. She is currently working on the impact of education policies in specified districts and will work closely with local governments to design, evaluate, and adapt their education policies to more effectively improve the quality of education.

Picture of Goldy F. Dharmawan

Goldy F. Dharmawan's role is primarily to support the quantitative analysis for the RISE Programme in Indonesia. He finished his study in the Faculty of Economics and Business, Universitas Indonesia (FEB UI). Before joining SMERU, he worked as a teaching and research assistant at FEB UI. He also worked as a research assistant for Innovation for Indonesia's School Children (INOVASI).

Picture of Rizki Fillaili

Rizki Fillaili specialises in qualitative research and has years of experiences in conducting a participatory assessment of poverty, vulnerability, and other social related issues. She holds a master’s degree in development studies from the Institute of Social Studies in the Netherlands and is currently pursuing her doctorate in the area of social anthropology. Her research, among others, includes topics such as social impact of global financial crisis, food price volatility, and poverty assessments using sustainable livelihood frameworks in various districts and municipalities in Indonesia.

Heni Kurniasih is a senior researcher at SMERU. She holds a Ph.D.  from the Faculty of Sciences, the University of Melbourne with a dissertation titled, Multi-level transitions in the community forestry system for development in Indonesia, a Master of International Development from the University of Melbourne, and a Bachelor Degree in Political Sciences from Gadjah Mada University, Indonesia. Her studies included the application of systems of innovation theory to understand multi-level transitions in the governance of community forestry in Indonesia. She also studied the governance of water management in Jakarta and the political economy of climate change. She has a strong local knowledge on policy processes in the Indonesian context built from her previous experience as a Program Officer and as a Young Scholar Officer, in the Australia-Indonesia Governance Research Partnership (AIGRP), an international development project managed by Australian National University and funded by AusAID. Her previous work experience also includes working with a reputable national media outlet. At SMERU, she has been involved in the study diagnostic of the education system in West Nusa Tenggara province.

Picture of Asep Kurniawan

Asep Kurniawan holds an undergraduate degree in international relations from Padjadjaran University, Bandung, Indonesia. He is a qualitative researcher. His main research interests include village and community-driven development, governance and decentralization, poverty and inequality.

Picture of Risa Nihayah

Risa Nihayah holds a master's degree in development studies from the International Institute of Social Studies (ISS), Erasmus University Rotterdam. Before pursuing her master programme, she worked at LabSosio, Center for Sociological Studies, University of Indonesia. She had also been involved in various social research projects with a number of institutions, such as the Center for Communication Studies-Universitas Indonesia, REED+ task force, University of Groningen, University of Tokyo Summer Internship Program (UTSIP), and the National Family Planning Coordinating Board (BKKBN).

Picture of Rezanti Putri Pramana

Rezanti Putri Pramana holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from HELP University Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. She was awarded honours for her thesis titled “The Association between Adolescents’ Romantic Involvement and Risk-Taking Tendency Moderated by Cognitive Thought Process”. She started her career in SMERU as an intern. She was involved in the study "Urban Child Poverty and Disparity in Indonesia: The Unheard Voices of Children Living in Poverty", a research collaboration between SMERU and Unicef.

Picture of Niken Rarasati

Niken Rarasati specialises in psychometrics, assessment, and experimental psychology. She holds a master’s degree in social cognition form University College London and a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Gadjah Mada University (UGM). Previously, she worked as a research officer for Innovation for Indonesia's School Children (INOVASI) project funded by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) in Australia. In 2013, she received a Jung Tae-gon Young Scholar Award from the Asian Association of Indigenous and Cultural Psychology for her research entitled “Orientation and Attribution toward Happiness and Anger”.

Picture of Shintia Revina

Shintia Revina holds a doctorate in mathematics education from the University of Hong Kong, a master’s degree in mathematics education from Freudenthal Institute Utrecht University, and an undergraduate degree in mathematics education from State University of Jakarta (UNJ). She is currently working on the impact of pre-service teacher training programmes on the quality of teacher candidates and how the programme contributes to student learning improvement, specializing in teacher education and curriculum and instruction. 

International Consultants

Amanda Beatty

Amanda Beatty is a senior researcher at Mathematica Policy Research and has been conducting education research in developing countries for the last fifteen years, and in Indonesia for the last nine. Before joining Mathematica in 2012, she was an education economist with the World Bank in Indonesia, where she led randomized evaluations of nationwide government programs, including a nationwide initiative to upgrade teacher qualifications at the primary and secondary levels; early childhood service expansion to poor communities; and efforts to enhance the effectiveness of school committees and school management through community engagement. From 2014-15, she spent a year working with the Center for Global Development, where she was part of the RISE startup team and helped set the vision and direction for the programme.

Emilie Berkhout

Emilie Berkhout is a junior researcher at the Amsterdam Institute for Global Health and Development (AIGHD). She obtained her master’s degree in development economics with distinction at the VU University in 2015. She conducts impact evaluations to assess effects of policy interventions in developing countries. Her main research focuses on the effect of policy reforms in basic education on learning outcomes in Indonesia.

Christopher Bjork holds a PhD in education from Stanford University. He is an expert in qualitative research and international comparative education research, education reform, and teacher education. He is the writer and editor of a number of books, including Indonesian Education.

Andrew Rosser

Andrew Rosser holds a doctoral degree in political economics and is experienced in conducting research on education in Indonesia, especially a political economics study on teacher-related policy within the context of decentralised Indonesia. He will provide assistance to the CRT in developing the conceptual framework in the context of political education system in Indonesia. He recently published a diagnostic study report on the Political Economy of Teacher Management in Decentralised Indonesia.