OBJECTIVE: A number of factors limit the effectiveness of current aortic arch studies in assessing optimal neuroprotection strategies, including insufficient patient numbers, heterogenous definitions of clinical variables, multiple technical strategies, inadequate reporting of surgical outcomes and a lack of collaborative effort. We have formed an international coalition of centres to provide more robust investigations into this topic. METHODS: High-volume aortic arch centres were identified from the literature and contacted for recruitment. A Research Steering Committee of expert arch surgeons was convened to oversee the direction of the research. RESULTS: The International Aortic Arch Surgery Study Group has been formed by 41 arch surgeons from 10 countries to better evaluate patient outcomes after aortic arch surgery. Several projects, including the establishment of a multi-institutional retrospective database, randomized controlled trials and a prospectively collected database, are currently underway. CONCLUSIONS: Such a collaborative effort will herald a turning point in the surgical management of aortic arch pathologies and will provide better powered analyses to assess the impact of varying surgical techniques on mortality and morbidity, identify predictors for neurological and operative risk, formulate and validate risk predictor models and review long-term survival outcomes and quality-of-life after arch surgery.