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About KSI

What is the Knowledge Sector Initiative?

Indonesia is a large and diverse countryfacing increasingly complex policy challenges. Decision makers working on public policies to address these challenges need access to quality and timely evidence about the potential - and actual - impacts of their decisions.

The Knowledge Sector Initiative (KSI) supports Indonesian policymakers to develop more effective development policies through better use of research, data, and analysis. KSI works with research providers and government agencies to strengthen the quality and policy-relevance of research and how it used for policymaking. KSI also works to improve regulations and practices that support quality research and make using evidence in policymaking easier.

KSI is a partnership between the governments of Indonesia and Australia. It is funded by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and implemented in cooperation with the Ministry of National Development Planning/National Development Planning Agency (Kementerian Perencanaan Pembangunan Nasional/ Badan Perencanaan Pembangunan Nasional, Bappenas).

KSI is managed by RTI International, in association with the Nossal Institute at the University of Melbourne, the Overseas Development Institute and the Australian National University.

What does KSI aim to do?

KSI’s overall goal is to improve the use of evidence in development policymaking. The program focuses on:

  • Better quality and more effective communication of policy research
  • More and better spending on policy research 
  • Better management, availability and accessibility of data and information for policymaking

KSI aims to address underlying barrier sholding back Indonesia’s knowledge sector. These barriers hamper both the production and use of quality evidence to inform policymaking.

What does KSI expect to achieve?

KSI is working towards five outcomes by the end of Phase 2 in 2022:

  • Policymakers have ways to fund policy research to meet their needs for evidence.
  • Researchers and lecturers in universities have better incentives to produce quality policy research.
  • Researchers, policy analysts, and policymakers are engaging with each other more regularly to share knowledge, engage in policy dialogue and do joint research.
  • Development plans and budgets are based on better quality data.
  • Policy research institutes are producing more quality policy research and communicating it effectively to policymakers. They are alsoworking together - and with government and the private sector - to improve the environment for policy research.

Cross cutting strategies

Gender equality and social inclusion
Policymakers need better access to research and information on inequality and exclusion and the different impacts that policies have on women and socially excluded groups. KSI's work on gender equality and social inclusion aims to improve the use of evidence on gender and social inclusion issues in development policymaking.

Sub-national engagement
Local governments in Indonesia have significant responsibility for developing and implementing policy. Although KSI’s work is mostly focused at the national level, the program is working through existing partners and their networks to strengthenthe supply of policy research and analysis to local governments and improve the use of data for local development planning and budgeting.

Engagement with the media
Although Indonesia has a vibrant media landscape, there is a shortage of evidence-informed analysis on important public policy issues in the Indonesian media. KSI is working with selected media partners to promote more evidence-informed public debate on policy issues and raise awareness of the importance of using evidence in making policy decisions.

How does KSI work?

KSI’s overall approach is to act as a catalyst for change. This means that KSI’s work focuses on bringing stakeholders together to discuss problems, develop joint solutions, and work together to implement these. KSI also works with its partners to develop new knowledge and share this with a broader audience to raise awareness, promote debate, and mobilise broader support for change. To ensure that change is sustainable KSI works to improve the underlying systems that support better use of evidence in policymaking.

Who are KSI’s partners?

KSI’s partners include non-government research and advocacy organisations, universities, government agencies, and professional and scientific associations. Our key national government partners are the National Development Planning Agency, the Ministry of Research, Technology and Higher Education, the Ministry of State Administration and Bureaucratic Reform, and the National Institute of Public Administration.

KSI also partners with Australian universities and other international organisations to facilitate access to international expertise, experience, and networks, and strengthen links between Indonesian and international institutions.

What are the barriers to a healthy knowledge sector?

Funding for research and efficiency of spending
There isn’t enough public funding for research. Existing funding isn’t well-spent and doesn’t align with policymakers needs. The private sector contributes a very small proportion of all funding for research.

The research environment
The research environment is over regulated.The government agencies responsible for research don’t always coordinate well and often have overlapping functions. A significant proportion of researchers’ time is spent on administration and not on actual research. Procurement rules make it difficult for policymakers to commission research.

Demand for research
Policymakers are often under pressure to roll out policies quickly, without adequate research, and research isn’t always a formal requirement. Funds for commissioning research are limited and policymakers’ attitudes towards research vary. There is little demand for research on gender and social inclusion, and limited understanding of how to address these issues in policymaking.

Quality of research and analysis
Universities don’t provide adequate research training and peer review isn’t a common practice. Lecturers and researchers receive low salaries, leading to ‘brain drain’. Academics are rewarded for teaching or administration rather than research. Policy analysis skills in government are limited.

Availability and accessibility of data
Data isn’t shared between government agencies and data systems aren’t well-integrated. Only a small amount of government data is shared publicly. Regulations, policies and procedures on data collection, classification, quality, privacy and protection are weak. Gender and social inclusion issues aren’t considered in data collection and analysis.

Links between researchers and policymakers
Connections between researchers and policymakers often depend on personal networks and interaction is mostly informal and irregular. Policy-relevant research isn’t readily available to policymakers and research findings aren’t communicated in accessible ways, with actionable policy recommendations.

About KSI

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