The SMERU Research Institute was established as an independent research institute in January 2001. The institute is managed by The SMERU Foundation, which was initiated by several staff members of the Social Monitoring and Early Response Unit (SMERU)—a project funded by AusAID, ASEM, and USAID and managed by The World Bank in response to the Asian financial crisis and political turmoil in Indonesia during 1998–1999. The project was established with a mandate to carry out independent, reliable, real-time monitoring of the social impact of the financial and political crises unfolding in Indonesia at that time. The project ran from October 1998 to December 2000.
The newly formed The SMERU Research Institute was led by Dr. Sudarno Sumarto, who served his directorship until 2009. He successfully laid the foundation for the institute’s long-term operation and built SMERU’s reputation in good quality research. In 2009, Dr. Asep Suryahadi was appointed as the next director and has continued to develop the institute since. In 2010, SMERU moved to its own office building on Jalan Cikini Raya, where it is currently located. Under his directorship, SMERU has continued to be a leader in poverty analysis and public policy research, and the monitoring and evaluation of various programs designed to reduce poverty.