The Indonesian Academy of Sciences (AkademiI lmu Pengetahuan Indonesia or AIPI) hosted a soft launching of Indonesia Science Fund on 18 December 2014 in Jakarta.
The soft launching was led by the President of AIPI, Professor Sangkot Marzuki and former Science Envoy of President Obama (2010-2012), Dr. Bruce Alberts. Also present at the meeting was the Finance Minister of Indonesia, Bambang Brodjonegoro, US Ambassador to Indonesia, Robert O. Blake Jr., and Counselor (Development Cooperation) Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Jean-Bernard Carrasco.
During the discussion, the Finance Minister acknowledged that Indonesia does not have the financial infrastructure in place to support cutting-edge science and technology. Nor does it have infrastructure in place to allocate and distribute funds to researchers, provide research facilities, or maintain a state budgeting system that would allow the flexibility needed for scientific research. Beyond these issues lies the larger one, low national investment in research and development. Indonesia’s gross R&D investment is less than 0.1 percent of GDP, almost too low to appear on the published charts.
These problems can be addressed by creating an autonomous Indonesian Science Fund that, on a competitive basis, would directly supply scientists and engineers with funds for world class research to support Indonesia competitiveness. The Indonesian Science Fund (ISF) principles are to provide block grants on a multi-year funding basis. Selection should be based on the track record of the grant recipients; and projects will be selected based on international and independent peer review. Professor Satryo Soemantri Brojonegoro, AIPI Vice President, presented the principles of ISF and explained its purpose as filling a gap in research funding that is not handled by existing institutions. The Fund will cover the basic research in hard sciences, social sciences and the humanities. The Knowledge Sector Initiative will continue to support development of ISF and strengthening of AIPI to oversee this important initiative.