A collaborative team of researchers and related resources that work on experimental and quasi-experimental studies with an explicit policy focus.


In the ANU Centre for Social Research and Methods, in the Research School of Social Sciences. CSRM focuses on: the development of social research methods; analysis of social issues and policy; training in social science methods; and providing access to social scientific data. RSSS is one of the four foundation research schools of the Institute of Advanced Studies and Australia’s major institution for theoretical and empirical research in the social sciences.


To fill a recognised need in the Australian and Asia-Pacific policy environment for high quality, academically rigorous, experimental and quasi-experimental evaluations. The ultimate aim of the PELab is to improve the evidence in Australia and the region around what works, and what doesn’t work, to improve the lives of the Australian population and the populations of the Asia-Pacific region.


Work with policy makers and service providers to help design and evaluate programs and policies for their effectiveness in improving the lives of the Australian and Asia-Pacific population. We also design and deliver our own online and face-to-face experiments where they have a policy focus and/or relevance. We also work with our partners to collect and archive data from experimental studies.


The Director of the PELab is A/Prof Nicholas Biddle, a quantitative social scientist and Deputy Director of the ANU Centre for Social Research and Methods. Senior ANU staff who are associated with the PELab are Prof Matthew Gray, Prof Robert Breunig, Karen Kellard, A/Prof Naomi Priest, A/Prof Ben Edwards, A/Prof Ann Neville, A/Prof Mathias Sinning, Dr Marisa Fogarty, Dr Steven McEachern, and Rob Bray. The PELab is also recruiting early career researchers to be involved in its expansion.


Researchers in the PELab have worked on experimental or quasi-experimental analysis with a number of Commonwealth Departments (for example the Department of Employment, Australian Tax Office, Department of Social Services, Department of Human Services), State/Territory Departments (Department of Education Victoria, Victoria Department of Justice and Registration, ACT Treasury) and non-government organisations (Smith Family, Reconciliation Australia). The PELab is interested in partnering with any organization committed to high quality evaluations of programs and policies.

ANU Partners

The PELab has been set up as a partnership with the Social Research Centre (Australia’s leading research service organization), the Australian Data Archive (a national service for the collection, preservation and distribution of digital research data) and the Tax and Transfer Policy Institute in the Crawford School of Public Policy. The PELab also works closely with our CSRM partners in the Centre for Gambling Research.

Work with us

Staff at the PELab are interested in a range of projects from small to large. We are committed to publication of academic findings, and making data from experimental research available for secondary analysis.

Contact us

Via email at or

View PELAB brochure here

Updated:  28 October 2021/Responsible Officer:  Centre Director/Page Contact:  CASS Marketing & Communications