Fast Tracking the Nation’s Science and Innovation Capacity through Indonesian Science Fund
Jakarta, 27 Mei 2015 – The Indonesian Academy of Sciences (AIPI) launched the Indonesian Science Fund (ISF), an independent mechanism that will directly fund scientists and engineers to produce the world-class research needed to build Indonesia’s global competitiveness.
The need for the ISF was proposed in the report “Creating an Indonesian Science Fund,” a collaboration between AIPI, the World Bank, and Australian Aid in 2012. Supported by the government of Indonesia, Australia, and the United States, the ISF will provide competitive rewards and incentives for quality research. The ISF will also create funding instruments for the specific innovations needed to address Indonesia’s development issues.
Prof. Satryo Soemantri Brodjonegoro, Vice Chairman of AIPI, said “Sustainable funding is essential to bolster the national productivity for science and technology. However, Indonesia does not have the financial infrastructure to support cutting-edge science and innovative technology; nor does it have flexible budgeting system for scientific research. ISF, as an autonomous institution that provides science funds, becomes a solution to manage the problem.”
Many countries have acknowledged that the establishment of national fund that awards grants on a competitive basis is the most effective way to encourage the best world-class science and engineering. “Through this way, researchers and scientists will be motivated to submit their best ideas in their research proposal, in addition to implementation of more prescriptive, results-oriented projects,” he added.
Speaking at the launch, U.S. Ambassador Robert Blake said, “As always, the United States Government is committed to supporting Indonesia-led efforts to improve their scientific ecosystem. We appreciate the importance of research and innovation in promoting the advances that will drive Indonesia’s economic prosperity.”
Indonesia currently allocates less than 0.1% of its GDP to research and development – this is one tenth of the average for similar economies such as Brazil, China and India. “By funding merit-based research, we also hope to improve the quality of policy making in Indonesia by generating the evidence needed for sound decision making,” added Ambassador Blake.
James Gilling, Minister Development Cooperation at the Australian Embassy in Jakarta, highlighted the importance of innovation and scientific research in boosting Indonesia’s competitiveness. “These are areas that our economic partnership with Indonesia will continue to emphasise,” said Mr Gilling.
Indonesia is the fourth largest country in the world with over 230 million people. Illiteracy rates are very low, and the country has several good universities and research institutes. Nevertheless, Indonesia is behind the countries of its size and resources in the measures of national productivity for science and technology.
For the years 1996–2010, Indonesia is in 64th place in the world in numbers of papers published in peer-reviewed journals. In addition, majority of Indonesian scientific projects are international collaborations, so that the credit is shared with other countries. The low national investment in research and development – less than 0.1% of GDP, continues to stifle Indonesia’s capacity to grow.
The Australian Government through the Knowledge Sector Initiative and the United States Government through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) will continue to collaborate with AIPI in its important work to develop the Indonesian Science Fund. ISF will also create different funding instruments directed to achieve the expected scientific or innovation results.
AIPI/ Anggrita D. Cahyaningtyas