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Indonesia restarts research scholarship programme
Publication Date : 08-10-2013
The Research and Technology Ministry has restarted its scholarship programme for young scientists to study abroad after a suspension of 15 years.
The Riset-Pro, or Research and Innovation in Science and Technology Programme was terminated in 1998, following the East Asian financial crisis.
The current Riset-Pro is expected to see 273 local scientists going overseas between 2013 and 2018 to study and conduct research at the master’s and doctorate levels.
The programme will also send 1,250 researchers to non-certificate programs such as training, courses and visiting-scholar programmes.
Research and Technology Minister Gusti Muhammad Hatta said the programme was designed to improve the skills and knowledge of the country’s young scientists and create a better environment for them to conduct research.
“You will be bringing the good name of Indonesia to other nations, so maintain it,” Hatta said as he inaugurated recipients of the scholarship late last week.
The ministry will send an initial 35 scientists this year to universities in Japan, Germany and Australia.
Freddy P. Zen, the ministry’s deputy for human resources, said each researcher would receive either 1 billion rupiah (US$87,000) and 1.5 billion rupiah throughout their studies, depending on whether they enrolled in a two-year master’s degree program or a four-year doctorate programme.
Scholarship recipients include those who work in government research-related agencies, such as the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI), the National Nuclear Energy Agency (BATAN), the Agency for the Assessment and Application Technology (BPPT), the National Institute of Aeronautics and Space (LAPAN), the Geospatial Information Agency (BIG) and the National Standardization Agency (BSN).
Conni Margaretha Sidabalok, 36, a LIPI biologist, is one of the scholarship recipients, she said that she would conduct research in marine biology in Australia for her Phd.
“I’m planning to study isopods associated with coral reefs and how they can be bio-indicators of a reefs’ health. I believe this is important for Indonesia considering its vast oceans and reefs,” she said.
Ridwan, 25, a BPPT researcher, is expected to depart for the UK to learn about public policy specializing in management of nuclear energy.
“I’m interested in moving Indonesia toward technology-driven development,” said Ridwan.
Under the New Order regime, the country’s researchers and scientists could apply for numerous scholarship programs offered by the government including the Overseas Fellowship Programme, the Science and Technology Manpower Development Programme, the Overseas Economic Cooperation Fund and the Science and Technology for Industrial Development.
Most of the programmes were scrapped in the wake of the financial crisis in the late 1990s.
Hatta said that his ministry was working to increase the amount of payment every scholar and researcher received.
“I remember when I studied in the Netherlands on a scholarship and bought a bicycle for 100 Dutch guilders (US$57) to save on transport costs,” Hatta said.
“I also bought my own groceries, and learned to cook. Make most of what you have, and you’ll be fine,” he added.