Indonesia launched its first funding agency for fundamental and frontiers research

Indonesia launched its first funding agency for fundamental and frontiers research

JAKARTA- The Indonesian Academy of Sciences (AIPI) launched the Indonesian Science Fund (Dana Ilmu Pengetahuan Indonesia, DIPI) on March 30 2016, the country’s first research funding institution that provides multi-year grants for fundamental and frontier research. DIPI aims to elevate the quality of Indonesian research and output value of scientific explorations, by creating a supportive ecosystem for a vibrant scientific research community. The establishment of DIPI is supported by the Government of Indonesia, United States, Australia, and United Kingdom.

DIPI has the ability to raise funds from the government as well as from national and international private and donor institutions, ensuring its autonomy to manage funds separately from the annual state budget cycle. This is an answer to many complaints about the state of Indonesia’s scientific endeavor. “Many researchers stated, research funding mechanism and administration that follows the annual budget cycle has hindered their ability to achieve the best research outcomes,” said Sangkot Marzuki, President of AIPI, during his speech.

DIPI_launching_2

Minister of Finance Bambang Brodjonegoro, launched the Indonesian Science Fund (March 30, 2016)

Such obstacle for researchers is also recognized by the Government of Indonesia. As an experienced economist and researcher, Minister of Finance Bambang P.S Brodjonegoro said that DIPI can spearhead the country’s effort to elevate its global competitiveness through science.  “Such mechanism will encourage Indonesian scientists to propose cutting edge research. Principal investigators can also hire research assistants, which will in turn expand the number of Indonesian scientists,” said Brodjonegoro.

With this scenario, DIPI seeks to strengthen Indonesia’s capacity in science, technological innovations and the necessary cultural mindset to pave the way towards a knowledge based economy and society. The establishment of DIPI is supported by the Ministry of Research, Technology and Higher Education and the Ministry of Finance through Indonesia’s Endowment Fund for Education (LPDP).  DIPI is also supported by the US government through United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Australian Government through Knowledge Sector Initiative, and the United Kingdom through Newton Fund.

Despite having more than 3,000 universities and 400 research institutions, Indonesia has been trailing behind its neighbouring countries in scientific research. Indonesia is ranked 57 in the number of academic journal articles produced, behind Thailand (43rd), Malaysia (36th) and Singapore (32nd). It has yet to properly invest in science, as Indonesia’s gross R&D investment is less than 0.1% of the GDP, far behind Singapore (2%), Malaysia (1,06%), even Vietnam (0,19%).

 

DIPI_launching_3

DIPI’s Science Steering Board, President of AIPI, Minister of Finance, and reperesentatives from Australia, US, and UK Government at the launch of DIPI

In general, DIPI has established eight science focus areas that are mentioned in SAINS45-Indonesian Science Agenda Towards a Century of Independence, they are:(1) Identity, diversity and culture; (2) Archipelago, maritime and bio-resources; (3) Life, health and nutrition; (4)Water, food and energy; (5)Earth, climate and the universe; (6) Disasters and community resilience; (7) Material and computational science; and (8) Economy, society, and governance.

Anggrita Desyani