About APO

APO. It's good policy.

APO is an open access evidence platform – making public policy research and resources accessible and useable. As a unique public good with a trusted reputation, we champion open access and evidence-informed decision-making. 

We collect, connect, and collaborate

Collect: APO’s searchable digital repository is a unique collection of grey literature on any public policy issue – covering Australia, New Zealand and beyond. Our resources are sourced from a wide range of organisations involved in policy such as government, agencies, regulators, research institutes, non-for-profits and think tanks. 

Connect: APO is an essential resource for anyone engaged in policy work. We keep our policy community informed and connected to the latest in policy and practice through our free newsletter service.

Collaborate: Working together is at the heart of what we do. As a not-for-profit collaborative knowledge infrastructure, we work with partners and contributors from government, universities and other organisations to increase influence and impact by collecting, curating and communicating the latest policy resources. Learn more about becoming an APO Partner or how to Add a resource to the APO repository.

© 2018 Analysis & Policy Observatory (APO), (CC-BY-NC 3.0 AU)

Our story

Established in 2002 and hosted at Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne, APO (formerly ‘Australian Policy Online’) began as an online database for academic research. Initially, the aim was to collate and disseminate academic research reports and other grey literature that was proliferating online with the arrival of the digital age. 

APO has grown to become a leading public policy repository in Australasia and the world, achieving many notable awards and milestones along the way. With over 1 million page views each year and more than 16,000 subscribers to its newsletter service, it covers the gamut of public policy areas – from science and technology, natural and built environment, to health, education and social issues. 

APO continues to provide a unique and valuable bridge between researchers and policymakers in government and industry. Staying true to its agile and innovative nature, APO is embarking on its next phase of evolution with a New Direction that will see an increase in services to support more evidence-informed decision-making.

Milestones and achievements

  • 2002: APO is started by researchers at Swinburne University, led by Professor Julian Thomas, and now-editor of Inside Story, Peter Browne. 
  • 2006: Amanda Lawrence, librarian and researcher, is APO Director until 2018.
  • 2014: Awarded ‘Best Information Website’ at the 2014 Australia & New Zealand Internet Awards.
  • 2017: Changes its name from Australian Policy Online to Analysis & Policy Observatory (APO).
  • 2017: Forms a major partnership with the Australia and New Zealand School of Government (ANZSOG). 
  • 2017: Awarded a $2m grant from the Australian Research Council Linkage Infrastructure, Equipment and Facilities (LIEF) program to fund the Linked Semantic Platforms project.
  • 2018: Named a ‘Change Maker’ by Swinburne University for success in demonstrating real-world impact on society and industry. 
  • 2019: Informit launches the Policy database in partnership with APO.
  • 2019: Associate Professor Brigid van Wanrooy is appointed APO Director.

What our users say

'APO just saves me tons of time. It's a really convenient, fantastic way to find out what's going on. It's all about making research more visible and more usable. The difference is that you find much more current work and you find a wider range of diverse research resources.'

Professor Julian Thomas, RMIT

'I use APO to find the evidence base for issues that I'm interested in knowing about. Every week, every month it's becoming more and more authoritative in the number of articles, and research pieces, and white papers and grey papers they pull together from across Australia from thousands of sources.'

Karen Mahlab AM, Pro Bono Australia

‘Thank you for providing such an unbiased and informative service. In a world of social media, clickbait, fake news, deepfakes, corporate owned news giants and decline of expertise, APO is a light at the end of the tunnel for me.’

Subscriber Survey respondent, October 2019

Read more feedback from our 2019 Newsletter Subscriber Survey

Major partners and governance

APO is a collaborative not-for-profit public good that receives funding from a variety of sources. Our major partners are our host institution, Swinburne University of Technology and the Australia and New Zealand School of Government (ANZSOG). 

APO Advisory Board

The APO Advisory Board provides stewardship and oversight of our strategic direction to support us to fulfil our purpose and to become a sustainable and essential resource for public policy. The APO Advisory Board brings together experienced leaders in public policy and research from across the government, education and not for profit sectors.

Professor Jane Farmer, Chair
Director, Swinburne Social Innovation Research Institute

For policymakers, APO is a unique resource giving easy access to key collections of research and evaluation. For researchers, it’s a brilliant tool to make direct connection with policymakers by publishing their research reports.

Dr Tania Bezzobs
­Executive Director, Swinburne Research

Professor Catherine Althaus
Deputy Dean, Teaching and Learning, ANZSOG

ANZSOG is proud of its long-standing partnership with APO. There is a need for robust architecture for evidence-based policy making, and APO is proactively helping to meet that need.

Monica Pfeffer
Director, Practitioner Engagement, ANZSOG

I couldn’t have lived a day without APO when I was running a social policy shop in government and I was delighted to renew a close relationship via ANZSOG. We have very complementary goals and audiences, disseminating and curating knowledge, evidence and ideas in useable ways to achieve better policy and better outcomes.

John King
Director, Evidence and Investment, Department of Health and Human Services

I share with APO a common mission of enabling evidence-informed policymaking and practice. As a long-time user of the site, with a strong personal interest in emerging evidence, I am keen to contribute to the development and implementation of a sustainable strategy.

Dr Dave Trudinger
Executive Direct, Citizen Delivery, NSW Department of Premier and Cabinet

I am keen to help APO rise to the challenge of carving out a sustainable future. Great government service delivery and good policy needs responsive resources like APO.

Eliza Strapp
Group Manager, Families, Department of Social Services

I lead a lot of projects that involve examining the available research and evidence. Policymakers need evidence that is timely, accessible, gets to the crux of the issue and cuts through. Government-funded organisations also need to be equipped with evidence for practice.

Dr Martin McNamara
Deputy CEO, Sax Institute

The aims of Sax Institute and APO are closely aligned. We are both trying to make evidence more available and accessible, and there is a lot we can learn from each other.

Adjunct Professor Denise Meredyth
Director, Outside Opinion

I have a long history with APO and was at Swinburne when it was first established, with support from the Australian Research Council. I see APO as an essential component of Australia's research infrastructure, in public policy and in many disciplines. I am interested in facilitating more partnerships between APO and researchers in universities across Australia.

APO team

Associate Professor Brigid van Wanrooy, Director

Working across both government and academia, Brigid has always been passionate about maximising the impact of research and generating evidence-informed policy and practice. Before becoming the Director of APO in July 2019, Brigid worked with the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services, delivering projects and strategies to embed the use of evidence to improve policy and practice. Her previous research centred on employment relations, with roles at The University of Melbourne, Acas (UK) and The University of Sydney. Brigid holds a PhD in social research methods and public policy from the Australian National University. Contact Brigid directly at bvanwanrooy@apo.org.au.

Associate Professor Brigid van Wanrooy, Director

Penelope Aitken, Editor, Collections
Penelope Aitken is APO’s institutional memory, having joined in 2007, and is responsible for all curated collections. Penelope holds a Masters of Fine Art, a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Education from The University of Melbourne.

Carissa Lee Godwin, Editor, First Peoples & Public Policy 
Carissa is Noongar and Wemba-Wemba and joined APO in 2018 to provide specialist First Peoples knowledge. She is currently completing her PhD at The University of Melbourne.

Camilo Jorquera, Systems Developer
Camilo has built and maintained APO’s web and information systems since 2012. He has worked with open source technologies for over a decade in educational and library environments.

Les Kneebone, Information Architect
Les is an industry leader in taxonomy and thesaurus development. Les joined APO in 2018 and is developing APO’s public policy taxonomy. He has post-graduate qualifications in Information Management  from RMIT University and Arts from the University of Melbourne.

Tim McCarthy, Editor, Content and Newsletters
Tim has served as an archivist and librarian for the Victorian Parliamentary Library and the Royal Commission into Family Violence, and has over 15 years’ experience in the commercial radio industry.