Universities Join Hands to Tackle Funding Issues

The Jakarta Post, page 5

Dozens of state-owned and private universities in the country recently agreed to join hands to overcome limited government funding for academics, research and innovation. Forty-one state and private universities have agreed to take part in the newly established Eastern Part of Indonesia-Universities Network (EPI-UNET).

The forum would help universities cope with the limited amount of research as well as research funds, Surabaya’s 10 November Institute of Technology (ITS) rector Joni Hermana said over the weekend. He said collaboration can manage the issue of limited human resources. Not only that, but the final research in scientific journals or publications could multiply each year because the research is conducted jointly, with varied topics and human resources.

The universities participating in EPI-UNET, under the coordination of ITS, are divided into four corridors: Corridor I for Papua and Maluku, Corridor II for Bali and Nusa Tenggara, Corridor III for Sulawesi and Corridor IV for Kalimantan.

The universities can allocate research funds in accordance with their abilities. The funds will then be used jointly under a cross-subsidy scheme. Citing an example, Joni said that if ITS allocated Rp 2 billion (US$147,820) for 20 research projects in one year, researchers from ITS could ask colleagues from other universities under the EPI-UNET banner to undertake joint research.

The scheme is expected to boost publications from Indonesian researchers. Moreover, it will allow for transfer of knowledge among university employees and expand opportunities for research activities. The forum will also provide shared support facilities for member universities.

The collaboration between universities has caught the attention of the Indonesian Endowment Fund for Education (LPDP) at the Finance Ministry, which is set to donate extra funds for research purposes. LPDP funding director Abdul Kahar said the forum’s work plan was in accordance with the LPDP’s mission of funding research by Indonesian academics.

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