Science, Technology and Innovation Policies – A Progress from Indonesia

Indonesia is the largest economy in Southeast Asia region and the world’s 10th largest economy in term of purchasing power. In term of population, Indonesia has a huge number of populations, which is about 250 million people in 2016. This makes Indonesia as the world’s fourth most populous nation. In 2030, Indonesia is predicted to emerge as 7th largest economy in the world with $1.8 trillion market opportunity [1]. The statistic shows both market and human resources potential from Indonesia.

However, in term of competitiveness and innovation, Indonesia is still below neighboring countries. These competitiveness and innovation index are reported in Global Competitiveness Report (GCR) and Global Innovation Index (GII) respectively. GCR is a report published by World Economic Forum that assesses the competitiveness landscape of about 140 countries, by providing insight into the drivers of their productivity and prosperity [2], while GII is a report published by Cornell UniversityINSEAD, and WIPO that provides an annual ranking of countries by their capacity for, and success in, innovation [3].

Both GCR and GII indicate that more efforts should be taken in order to support and strengthen innovation system in Indonesia. Innovation system itself is defined by “ a set of distinct institutions which jointly and individually contribute to the development and diffusion of new technologies and which provides the framework within which governments form and implement policies to influence the innovation process. As such it is a system of interconnected institutions to create, store and transfer the knowledge, skills and artifacts which define new technologies” [4].

The definition above emphasizes a complex and long processes to develop and to diffuse new technologies from Supply to Demand side. Supply refers to those who produce technologies such as academia from universities and R&D professionals from research institutions, while Demand refers to people who utilize technologies such as industries. Moreover, innovation system involves many players both institutions and individuals, including government. Government should play significant roles in order to provide a framework and policies to influence the innovation processes.

Training on Research Reviewer, BSD Serpong,  Tangerang, Indonesia, 12-16 December 2016
Training on Research Reviewer, BSD Serpong, Tangerang, Indonesia, 12-16 December 2016

A current condition of Indonesia shows a strong awareness of the government to provide STI policies in order to strengthen national innovation system. STI policies can be in any form such as Act, Presidential Decree, Ministerial Decree, Directorate General Decree, and etc. Ministry of Research Technology and Higher Education (RISTEKDIKTI) has become a focal point for formulating frameworks and policies related to innovation system. Such major policies (or draft policies), for instances, are (a). Master Plan of National Research 2017-2045 and (b) National System of Science and Technology (draft bill).

a)      Master Plan of National Research 2017 – 2045 (RIRN 2017-2045). RIRN is a planning document for national research sector. One of the goals is to increase the contribution of research to national economic growth.  Strategy and performance indicators such as macro research groups, priority research areas, number of researchers, research funding in % GDP, number of publications, and etc., are formulated in RIRN. RIRN is currently in the process of approval to become Presidential Decree.

b)      National System of Science and Technology (Sinas IPTEK). Sinas IPTEK is drafted to replace Act No.18, 2002. This Sinas IPTEK provides more complete scope of STI regulations such as technology transfer, technology audit and technology readiness level.

It is agreeable that STI Policies is still a major driver in Indonesia in order to promote science, technology and innovation. Major STI Policies provide strong regulations and also become a comprehensive reference for wide STI actors. Besides major STI policies, there are also minor STI policies and activities that can become effective tools to support innovation system. In addition to updating the major STI policies, below are my recommendations to support a viable national innovation system:

  1. Ministry, Universities, and Research Institutions should increase the number of STI related activities such as conferences, workshop, and expo.
  2. It is necessary  to break down existing STI Policies in Indonesia  into 3 main categories: (a). Policies designed to support SUPPLY side , strengthening Science, Technology and Innovation capabilities , (b). Policies designed to support DEMAND side, creating market needs, (c). Policies designed to support EFFECTIVE linkages between Demand and Supply.
  3. There are 5 directorate generals in RISTEKDIKTI;
    Directorate General of Learning and Student (Ditjen Pembelajaran),
    Directorate General of Institutional Science, Technology and Higher Education (Ditjen Kelembagaan), Directorate General of Resources Science, Technology and Higher Education (Ditjen Sumber Daya),
    Directorate General of Strengthening Research And Development (Ditjen Penguatan Riset dan Pengembangan), and Directorate General of Strengthening Innovation (Ditjen Penguatan Inovasi). Ditjen Pembelajaran, Ditjen Kelembagaan and Ditjen Sumber Daya should play active roles in formulating STI policies to strengthen SUPPLY side.  Ditjen Penguatan Riset dan Pengembangan can support both SUPPLY and DEMAND. Ditjen Penguatan Inovasi should provide STI policies to support EFFECTIVE linkages between SUPPLY and DEMAND.
  4. There should be a policy for facilitating mobility of academia /R&D professionals especially when they get involved in the technology transfer.
  5. There should be more events on Innovation Management Training. A comprehensive Training Module should be developed.
  6. Qualified research reviewer is needed in order to assess the quality of research especially for research projects funded by government. The assessment should be based on research output (publications, intellectual property, R&D prototype). The assessment is not based by process and financial statements. This will simplify the administration and also can increase research productivity.

References:

[1] Oberman, R., Dobbs, R., Budiman, A., Thompson, F., and Rosse (2012), The Archipelago economy: Unleashing Indonesia’s Potential, The McKinsey Global Institute, MyKinsey & Company.

[2] World Economic Forum (2016), Global Competitiveness Report 2015/2016, http://www3.weforum.org/docs/gcr/2015-2016/Global_Competitiveness_Report_2015-2016.pdf

[3] Cornell UniversityINSEAD, and World Intellectual Property Organization (2016), Global Innovation Index 2016, https://www.globalinnovationindex.org/gii-2016-report

[4] METCALFE, S. (1995), “The Economic Foundations of Technology Policy: Equilibrium and Evolutionary Perspectives”, in P. Stoneman (ed.), Handbook of the Economics of Innovation and Technological Change, Blackwell Publishers, Oxford (UK)/Cambridge (US).

 

About the Author:

Dr. Edi Kurniawan recently worked as a researcher at the Indonesian Institute of Sciences. His research focuses on control system design for robotics and industrial applications. During his academic career, he spent time as a visiting research fellow at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, the Swinburne University of Technology in Australia, and the Technische Universitat in Berlin.

Through the ASEAN-U.S. S&T Fellowship, Dr. Kurniawan hopes to provide a policy recommendation  related to Indonesia’s National Innovation System in order to fill the gaps in the existing policies. He also looks forward to exploring multidisciplinary collaboration opportunities with Fellows from other ASEAN Member States.

Dr. Kurniawan holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Engineering from Gadjah Mada University in Yogyakarta, Indonesia (2003); a Master’s Degree in Engineering from the University of Adelaide Australia (2009) specializing in Electrical and Electronics Engineering; and a Ph.D. in Control Systems from Swinburne University of Technology in Hawthorn, Australia (2013).

Perspective Workshop to Foster for University, Research Institute and Industry (URI) Collaboration in Myanmar

I recently organized a one day workshop hosted by Department of Research and Innovation (DRI) under Ministry of Education (MOE), Yangon on 20th October, 2016. The purpose of the event is to setup a guideline for University, Research Institute and Industry (URI) collaboration practice in Myanmar. The guideline is expected to assist companies when they introduce new product innovation, provide incentives to researchers and to manage expectation of R&D. With an effective URI collaboration, the industry and the SMEs would be able to upgrade raw materials into value-added products by supporting research facilities from university such as measurements on their properties, maintenance on quality control, setting the required norms and standards of university and research institute.

Director General (U Win Khaing Moe) gave opening speech on URI workshop
Director General (U Win Khaing Moe) gave opening speech on URI workshop

Participants were from the ministries such as the Ministry of Industry (MOI), Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation (MOALI), Ministry of Construction (MOC), Ministry of Home Affairs (MOHA) and Ministry of Public and Sports (MOPS), Government universities under MOE. Representatives from non-government organizations, including Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (UMFCCI), Myanmar Industry Association (MIA), Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), Myanmar Engineering Society (MES) also attended. This workshop attracted more than 130 participants, where 25 from industry sector, 36 from University, 45 from Research Institutes. Media was also invited.

More than 130 participants are attracted in URI workshop
More than 130 participants are attracted in URI workshop
Fellow’s Mentor Professor of Mechanical Engineering Department in YTU                                                           (Dr. Mi Sandar Mon) talked about the role of university and expectations on URI collaboration
Fellow’s Mentor Professor of Mechanical Engineering Department in YTU (Dr. Mi Sandar Mon) talked about the role of university and expectations on URI collaboration

On the morning session, speakers talked about URI collaboration including industry, university, research institute and Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) representative share her experiences and knowledge on URI collaboration practices. On the afternoon session, I explained about questionnaires feedback of URI collaboration and briefly discussed about draft guideline of URI collaboration. The Workshop continued with a round table discussion about feedback comments on the URI collaboration where group leader of each representative discussed on how to improve URI partnerships, benefits and potential opportunities for future partnerships and challenges that prevent stronger URI collaboration.

Based on their comments, the crucial points to improve URI partnership are to strengthen the partnerships among URI;  share the benefit of research outcome; networking; improve mutual understanding of different organizations; transparent and clear policy; a sustainable monitoring and evaluation; and collaboration agreement .

Representatives from each group suggested to establish central body institution for URI and launch in website of URI collaboration to spread out up-to-date information among URI, to setup funding foundation without supervision of government organization, to held awareness seminar on national laboratory services and standardization of products, to collaborate with international organization on expert area of URI linkages and access to get high level skills on sustainable development for new product and manufacturing process.

The first approach to enhance URI collaboration is to show off the exhibition of research projects by university and research institute to industry. Then, research facilities and laboratory services from university and research institute could share and access to complementary technology knowledge on commercialization product of industry. In order to access measurement data for private sector, university and research institute have to establish central lab in university campus and launch an information hub of research facilities and laboratory services in university website.

Fellow’s Supervisor Deputy Director General (Dr. Phyu Phyu Win)                                                      discussed about collaboration among URI through STI policy
Fellow’s Supervisor Deputy Director General (Dr. Phyu Phyu Win) discussed about collaboration among URI through STI policy

The Deputy Director General of DRI, Dr. Phyu Phyu Win and Dr. Zaw Min Naing  suggested on the next steps to setup information hub by MOE, to spread out collected data (research facilities and laboratory services) among URI, to propose government incentives to researcher on R&D, to promote skill level of researcher by giving relevant training, to revise syllabus and curriculum of university in-line with industry demand, to encourage employment opportunity by giving intensive training in industry, to establish research funding for R&D project in University charter to start-up URI collaboration model.

As an ASEAN fellow, I have a unique opportunity to communicate with policy maker and stakeholders from different government Ministries and non-government organizations such as UMFCCI, MIA, MES, SMEs during fellowship program. In my opinion, government Ministries (MOE and MIA) should jointly revise government regulations on STI policy by introducing URI collaboration policy and establishing a business incubator and Publicly Funded Research Organizations (PROs) or Technology Transfer Office (TTO) as well as Intellectual Property  (IP) office which will shape existing technology to product innovation. Moreover, STI policy strongly recognize and incentives for researchers by rewarding academic inventors and allowing percentage of the research budget such as R&D funds mobilized from private sources, earnings from consulting, income from patent licensing, and participation in spin-offs or start-ups.

Those PROs protect intellectual property rights to encourage the economic applications of their discoveries for the benefit of the public and help research more attractive and better supported. National government should encourage public authorities to contribute to this capacity-building process on URI collaboration, recognizing that a voluntary and widely-adopted program can yield substantial payback to society as a whole.  I will continue to be involved in this by drafting action plan to draw up guideline of URI collaboration and the network directory of engineering and directory of research facilities to promote URI linkages to be published by AUN/SEED-Net and the Ministry of Education websites.

About the Author:

Dr. Ei Ei Htwe is associate professor and ASEAN-U.S. S&T Fellow (2016-17) working under Department of Research and Innovation, Ministry of Education. Through the ASEAN-U.S. S&T Fellowship program, Dr. Ei Ei Htwe will focus on emphasizing Science, Technology and Innovation Policy to strengthen the collaboration work among Universities, Research Institute and Industry (URI). Dr. Ei Ei Htwe graduated with a Bachelor Degree of Engineering (Mechanical) from Mandalay Technological University (MTU) (2000), Master Degree from Yangon Technological University (YTU) (2002) and Doctoral Degree from YTU, Myanmar (2006).