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Programme Information

British Council in partnership with the Republic of Indonesia Department for Higher Education (Dikti) and the Forum of Vice Rectors for International Collaboration

Today, it is recognised that research must be internationally driven and connected at multiple levels both for achieving scale and for rethinking growth for a sustainable future. The adoption of global knowledge and new ideas that work enables increases in productivity in areas such as agriculture, industry and organisations; as well as improvements in health, nutrition, life expectancy and quality of life. Nations cannot afford to tackle the complex problems of an interconnected world alone: global challenges require global solutions.

Good research needs good long-term support. There is a powerful strategic demand for universities to join consortia, work with a range of partners, and position themselves in a global context. The UK and its international partners in Indonesia and in East Asia must look at the scale and the scope of the funding for global research, both from public and private sources.

Themes How can universities maximise their collaboration power and achieve common outcomes at a multilateral scale? Who should they partner, how do they find the right partnerships? How will the role of national and global funders change in a world where the goal of securing a sustainable future will require active collaboration with emerging powers? How do universities help create sustainable futures and solve the challenges of our global society?

Key issues for Indonesia and the region

  • How to do cross-disciplinary collaboration
  • How to work with industry and other stakeholders
  • Funding systems
  • Capacity building - training researchers to do research
  • ASEAN 2015 Economic Integration

National context

Indonesia’s newly elected president, Joko Widodo, is scheduled to be inaugurated on 20th October 2014. The research agenda is high on his list of priorities, which includes the possibility that the Directorate for Higher Education and the Ministry for Research and Technology will be merged. The president elect has already made a commitment to increase the research budget, to ensure research-based policy and to use research to address key issues such as sustainable energy, food security and the development of Indonesia’s maritime sector.

Indonesia occupies a special place in the UK’s international work, due to its influential role as a leading member of ASEAN and the G20 in tackling some of these global challenges.

An overhaul of the research funding system must be addressed if any increase in research funding is to have a meaningful impact on Indonesia’s research quality and output. The Medan GED will provide a

timely opportunity to discuss these and other issues that can feed into the new administration’s decision making process.


  • Representatives of the Indonesian government
  • Universities and colleges, researchers and Indonesian experts Indonesia
  • Universities and colleges, researchers and UK experts
  • Higher education, research and experts from ASEAN and other countries


The British Council’s East Asia Global Education Dialogues series provides an opportunity for experts and practitioners from the UK, Indonesia, ASEAN and other countries to meet and discuss some of the major issues and challenges in the world of higher education.

To that end, the Global Education Dialogues, Medan, 20-21 November 2014, will address the question of how university consortia (and other stakeholders) can work together to address the global grand challenges by:

  • Discussing the issues from a global perspective
  • Discussing the issues from and Indonesian perspective
  • Placing the discussion in the context of ASEAN 2015
  • Providing an opportunity for researchers and experts from Indonesia and elsewhere to meet and discuss the possibilities for collaboration and consortium working,
  • Providing opportunities for researchers and experts from Indonesia and elsewhere to meet and share experiences and information about research funding.
  • Provide opportunities for researchers and experts from Indonesia and elsewhere to meet and discuss how to help provide professional development opportunities for researchers.

Workshop themes

The three parallel workshops in the morning will have a global focus whilst the afternoon sessions will have an Indonesia/ASEAN/Asia Pacific focus. However, both the global and the Indonesia perspective will be represented in both the morning and afternoon sessions.

In addition to the overarching themes of the workshops, it is expected that discussion will result in recommendations in the following three areas:

  • Policy
  • Systems and infrastructure
  • Research culture

Theme 1: Funding

a. Global focus (morning session)

Funding research and research systems that address global grand challenges: poverty and associated development challenges have traditionally been addressed through the disbursement of international aid as the transfer of resources. Today with the shift to a new geography of poverty, a new kind of international co-operation is required in the form of global development cooperation and aid as collective action such as co-financed global public goods, knowledge creation, knowledge sharing and knowledge transfer – including research and teaching, supported by inclusive policy processes and development policy coherence. Key questions: how will funding research in higher education need to change in a world where the goal of securing a sustainable future will require active collaboration with emerging powers? How can the research relationship be made more effective while maintaining research excellence and capturing the value of collaboration in locations where global research

challenges exist? How can the case for HE research be made when e.g. both the MDGs and post-2015 Sustainable Development goals emphasise basic but not higher education? What is the role of industry and national governments? What policy processes need to be addressed to enable more research innovation to take place?

b. Indonesia/ASEAN focus (afternoon session)

Currently Indonesia’s research spending is low at 0.09% of GDP, yet recently funding research in Indonesia has become a hot topic. Ahead of the inauguration of President-elect Joko Widodo, there has been much discussion in the mass media about the importance of research in Indonesia and how research in Indonesia can be funded in an optimal way. One much talked about change may be the merging of the Directorate for Higher Education (currently under the Ministry of Education and Culture) with the Ministry for Research and Technology. The President elect has also stated that he will increase funding for research from the current 0.09% of GDP, both in universities as well as research institutions such as the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI). Key question: But, is it enough just to increase the funding available? What about the distribution of these funds? Is the existing system is adequate? And given the importance of partnerships, both nationally and internationally, what are the implications of this to the research funding system in Indonesia.

Theme 2: Managing international research collaboration and cross-disciplinary working:

a. Global focus (morning session)

Social innovation transcends disciplinary boundaries and social sectors. Many new societal challenges cannot be fully met through the lens of one, two, or even several disciplines. Solutions to complex and systemic problems emerge only when different kinds of expertise and methodologies are brought together so that our collective wisdom is greater than the sum of our expertise. This entails breaking down the silos that compartmentalise knowledge and research into different disciplines, and also putting into sharper focus the role of social science in fostering innovation. It is often at the interconnections between disciplines that innovation takes place. Key questions: How can international consortia of universities manage multilateral research? What about multilateral cross-disciplinary collaboration? How can different research practices come together to find solutions to the global grand challenges? What is the role of industry and national governments?

b. Indonesia/ASEAN focus (afternoon session)

This session provides an opportunity for sharing the experience of Indonesian and international universities and research organisations in interdisciplinary collaboration. Key questions: what changes are needed at the national level (or ASEAN), in particular government policies, research culture, research infrastructure and systems? What lessons can be learnt from other experiences?

Theme 3: Unleashing innovation, practical and relevant research

a. Global focus (parallel sessions in the morning)

Conventional governance methodologies and institutions are not, it is argued, up to the task of identifying and addressing complex and rapidly changing social issues as they are too rigid and inflexible to enable the kind of cooperation and coordination necessary to address such challenges. Instead a complex web of communities and networks are emerging that exchange knowledge and coordinate activities across national borders. Membership of such ‘issue networks’ should be based on knowledge and the ability to contribute to problem-solving as well as the ability to work quickly and geared towards action. Many of these networks aspire to influence whole systems and not just generate ideas and they do this through application and dissemination of new ideas that work in social innovation. Key questions: is this way of thinking relevant to identifying how multilateral research consortia can work together to

address global grand challenges? How critical are university consortia to such issue networks? Should they be at the core of such networks? How can research consortia work together with other stakeholders such as NGOs, community organisations, as well as industry, government and international agencies.

b. Indonesia/ASEAN focus (afternoon session)

Social innovation seeks to provide sustainable solutions that benefit the public widely and less the creators of this research. Universities in Indonesia already have an obligation carry out activities that are beneficial to both local communities as well as at the national level. Indonesia's experience will be shared in this session and discussion will focus on some of the important approaches developed both locally and nationally and internationally including:

  • Social innovation: universities as incubators, universities involving the community, NGOs etc.
  • Research translation and industry: how can universities in Indonesia and ASEAN improve cooperation with industry, both nationally and internationally, and how can national industry be encouraged to view Indonesian universities as key partners.
  • Basic research vs. applied research (basic vs. applied research): strongly associated with the above two approaches. Although Indonesia is more concerned with applied research, this policy has not resulted in adequate cooperation with industry and other stakeholders. What is the future role for basic research in Indonesia?

See also

External links