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The Australia-Indonesia Science Symposium seeks to promote scientific collaboration and exchange, and strengthen people-to-people links between the two countries. The Symposium builds on existing links and partnerships between Australian and Indonesian scientists, universities and public research institutions.
The Symposium will bring together members of the Australian and Indonesian scientific academies, early and mid-career researchers, and government agencies. In addition to public events showcasing scientific research, the event will include in-depth exchanges between Australian and Indonesian scientists working on questions of common concern. Researchers from both countries will also be able to explore opportunities for research funding, discuss career pathways in science, and examine the challenges in linking science to policy.
The Symposium is jointly organised by the Australian Academy of Science, the Indonesian Academy of Sciences, the Australian Early- and Mid-Career Researcher Forum, and the Indonesian Young Academy of Science with the support of the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the Knowledge Sector Initiative.
The Symposium focuses on science that is of mutual interest to Australia and Indonesia. The themes for 2016 are health, marine and climate change, and agriculture. A cross-cutting theme is the uses and transformative potential of ‘big data’ and other emerging technologies.
Chronic and infectious diseases have a major impact on the people and economies of Indonesia and Australia. Changing diets and lifestyles have caused a rising epidemic of non-communicable diseases: heart disease and diabetes are among the leading causes of death and disability in both countries and are a major burden on public health systems. Increasing global interconnectedness, urbanisation and climate change have contributed to the spread of infectious diseases, with implications for human health and biosecurity.
Developing effective responses to mosquito-borne diseases, HIV/AIDS and other re-emerging and newly-emerging infectious diseases is a significant public health challenge in both countries. Australia and Indonesia have much to gain from collaborating and sharing knowledge and experiences in addressing these and other public health issues.
The conservation and management of oceans, coasts, climate and atmosphere is fundamental to the development and prosperity of Australia and Indonesia. Coastal and marine ecosystems provide livelihoods and food for millions of people and help protect coastal communities against storm surge and sea-level rise.
However, overexploitation, climate change, loss of habitat, pollution, and threats posed by exotic species pose significant threats to the integrity and health of these ecosystems.
The importance of coastal and marine resources to the economies of both countries means that Australia and Indonesia have a shared interest in exchanging knowledge and working together to protect their marine environments, mitigate the impacts of climate change, and manage marine resources sustainability.
Agriculture is an important part of Australia and Indonesia’s trading relationship, and makes a significant contribution to economies and livelihoods in both countries. Indonesia is Australia’s fourth-largest agricultural export market, with agricultural exports to Indonesia valued at over AU$3 billion. Agricultural imports from Indonesia have also risen sharply in recent years, to over AU$200 million.
Scarcity of agricultural land, sustainable management of water resources, agricultural productivity and efficiency, food security, and environmental issues such as deforestation, fires and climate change are common challenges.
Enhancing agricultural cooperation and sharing knowledge of new technologies and practices can help build a more profitable, resilient and sustainable agricultural sector in both countries and drive economic growth.
Over the coming decade, technologies such as next-generation genomics, the Internet of Things, cloud computing, and ‘smart’ materials will have potentially transformative social, economic and environmental impacts.
Advances in robotics have the potential to improve efficiency and productivity in manufacturing while nanomedicine can be used to deliver targeted drugs. Genomics can be used to optimise crops for speci%uFB01c soils and climates, and unmanned vehicles can help to navigate, explore, map and understand the world's oceans.
Australian and Indonesian scientists, policymakers and citizens need to understand how technology might shape their own economies, societies and environments as well as the regional and global impacts and work together to ensure that the benefits can be equally enjoyed.