Research Director’s Update: September 2016

Welcome to my update on the research activities of the Australia-Indonesia Centre and our colleagues and friends.

A few weeks ago at the third Indonesia-Australia Research Summit more than 220 researchers and community leaders came together to discuss research and innovation. I’d like to extend a heartfelt thanks to all involved for making it such an enjoyable few days.

It’s one thing to talk about collaboration and the mission of the Australia-Indonesia Centre. But it’s another to see researchers sharing their ideas—and doing so over a bowl of nasi goreng or cup of kopi in Surabaya. This is what the Australia-Indonesia Centre is all about: achieving far more in international innovation by working together, rather than alone. With more time, I’d have loved to have spent longer with each of you and heard about your activities and aspirations for the future.

Some highlights of the Summit for me included:

  • Seeing students and researchers meeting their collaborators in person, sometimes for the first time.
  • Hearing from Surabaya’s Mayor Ibu Tri Rismaharini on the first day, and from Dr John O’Sullivan, the chief innovator behind a faster and more reliable Wi-Fi, to round out the second and final day.
  • Attaining exceptional attendance by industry stakeholders with a keen interest in what our researchers are doing.
  • The enthusiasm of Australian Ambassador HE Paul Grigson and Professor Kerry Arabena on Twitter throughout the Summit!

It was exciting to hear about on-the-ground work, demonstrating how our researchers in Energy, Health, Urban Water and Infrastructure are contributing in some way to the improvement of both nations.

There’s still plenty of work for us to do to foster more collaborative relations between Australia and Indonesia. But with the collective brainpower of the researchers involved in our teams, I think we’re well-prepared to meet these challenges.

You can read more about the Summit below.

This update is the first in a series that will help you get to know your colleagues and their work even better. And by “colleagues”, I mean the wider family of researchers, governments, industries and communities who are all connected by the inter-related nature of the Centre’s various research domains. Yes, in my vision, each of you has a very close relationship to each and every other participant.

I’d like to use it to tell the stories of your research, give notice of key events and funding opportunities, and more. Please feel free to share this edition with your colleagues and encourage them to sign up to receive it themselves. I’ll have a version translated into Bahasa Indonesia.

So, read on below, and remember to follow @AusIndResearch and @AusIndCentrefor all the latest news as it happens.

A rockstar mayor, cities of the future, and innovation on an international scale: the third Indonesia-Australia Research Summit

I had an inkling that we’d get a good roll-up, but even I was surprised that more than 230 researchers, academics, and industry and government figures met at Surabaya’s Universitas Airlangga for the third Indonesia-Australia Research Summit on August 22 and 23.

Among the topics for discussion were: what Indonesians think of Australians and vice versa; how innovation can change the lives of Indonesians and Australians for the better—locally, nationally, and internationally; how higher education can drive national innovation goals; and more.

Delegates also had the chance to break into their research streams, to share insights across the areas of health, energy, infrastructure and urban water research. Here some of the topics included:

  • improving trains and railway tracks, for port and transport efficiency and safety,
  • local nutrition resources to fight the obesity epidemic,
  • eco-technologies for urban rivers, and
  • remote electrification—stories from the solar frontline.

Presented by the Australia-Indonesia Centre and the Ministry of Research, Technology and Higher Education of Indonesia (RISTEK-DIKTI), the theme of the Summit was ‘Innovating Together: Starting local, reaching global’.


For me, some highlights from keynote speakers included:

  • Surabaya’s pioneering Mayor Ibu Tri Rismaharini, who was named one of the world’s 50 greatest leaders by Fortune magazine. Through a translator, she revealed the innovative strategies—including e-health, environmental management and educational support—that have helped save taxpayer money and improve the standard of living for the citizens of Surabaya. Who will ever forget Ibu Risma’s heartfelt confession: “If one day I’m told by God that I could not come to heaven because there was one citizen in Surabaya who was not served very well, what could I say?”
  • RISTEK-DKTI Secretary General Ainun Na’im, who said “If we look at Indonesia and Australia, we see huge potential to develop. We have enthusiasm, we have an optimistic plan in many areas, including in energy, food security, water, and maritime. The Government of Indonesia has creative plans in developing science, technology and innovation.”
  • Australia’s Ambassador to Indonesia, His Excellency Paul Grigson, who urged both nations to take advantage of the benefits of educational exchange.
  • EY Sweeney CEO Marc L’Huillier, who explored the results of the recently-released Australia-Indonesia Perceptions Report.
  • University of Zurich Future Cities Laboratory Programme Director Professor Stephen Cairns, who spoke of the cities of the future that will likely develop in Asia and Africa. A highlight was demonstrating how the outputs of each of the Centre’s research clusters can come together to sustainably manage cities in an effective, integrated approach.
  • Australian Academy of Sciences Fellow Dr John O’Sullivan, who made Wi-Fi fast and reliable, discussed innovation and new technologies, and provided a recap of the discussions from the Summit.

Thank you in particular to the gracious staff at Universitas Airlangga for all their assistance and hosting the Summit, to RISTEK-DIKTI, and those of you who engaged with the event electronically even if you couldn’t make it in person. And thank you so much for hosting Katrina Reid, for what she says was a highlight of her working career! (see her report below)

If you haven’t already done so, I’d love to get your feedback on the Summit. We have anevaluation form here.

Planning is starting for the fourth Summit. And I encourage you to follow the Australia-Indonesia Science Symposium in Canberra from November 28 to December 1, 2016. It’ll be great to see our students who first met in Surabaya next meet in Canberra.

Articles and Blogs

Signs of the dietary environment: what children learn about nutrition from their surrounds

To the extent I can, I’d like in this edition and in future editions, to highlight some of the research currently being supported by the Centre that touches on the collaborative nature of our projects. As a parent and grandparent, this one strikes a particular chord.

Click here to learn about the research

Learning the true meaning of cultural privilege

In each edition I’d also like to elicit and share the views of a young researcher, entrepreneur, administrator or just a concerned and interested citizen about their experiences and aspirations with respect to the Australia-Indonesia relationship. It was easy to find the first volunteer, the Centre’s very own young Indonesianist: Katrina Reid.

Click here to read Katrina’s blog

In the news

Have you or your research team been in the news lately?

Our Engagement team keeps me pretty informed, but I’d love to know if we are missing anything—so send through a photo or link to a story you’d like to share. And if you have a paper or article coming up, let us know in advance so we can help spread the word.

A story on day one of the Research Summit made it into the Jawa Pos (left), and a story on day two made it into Kompas (right): “Indonesian and Australian researchers collaborate.”

Speaking of our Engagement team, one important role it undertakes is to communicate up-to-date news about matters relevant to Australia and Indonesia. If you have an interest in stories on trade, politics, innovation, culture, finance or research, please consider signing up to the Centre’s Daily Media Update.

Stories of Indonesia-Australia collaboration

From my perspective, one very practical way for Australians and Indonesians to better understand and respect one another is to work together, and what better way to do that than through collaborative research and discovery. I’m constantly amazed hearing about how much has gone on between our countries, and it seems I’m not the only one who would like to know more.

So, do you know of Indonesian-Australian collaborative research that resulted in benefits to both countries?

Science in Public is looking for examples of innovation between the two countries, to write and publish online and in a print publication in the near-future. They’re only short (around 200 words) and are intended to give a flavour of the diverse research collaborations, whether they’re from 50 years ago or projects that are just seeing results now.

The collection is supported by the Australia-Indonesia Centre, but isn’t limited to work by researchers from the Centre and collaborating universities.

So if you know of a good yarn, drop an email to Lydia and Niall and

Upcoming events: conferences, launches, etc.


  • November 28 – December 1: Australia-Indonesia Science Symposium, Canberra. Contact Megan Power
  • October 13 – 14: 1st UGM International Conference on South East Asia Studies (ICSEAS), Yogyakarta, Indonesia
  • November 15 – 16: International Conference On Contemporary Social And Political Affair (ICoCSPA), “Re-examining Governance: Strengthening Citizenship in The Changing  World,” Universitas Airlangga, Surabaya

Contact Igor Skryabin

  • November 28: Energy Change Institute Open Day – research presentations in the morning, tours in the afternoon, Canberra
  • November 29: ECI annual flagship event – Energy Update (see draft program, especially the morning keynotes and the ANU/ACT Government Solar Oration in the evening), Canberra
  • November 30 – December 1: Asia-Pacific Solar Research Conference – with a special session on Indonesia on Day 2, Canberra

Contact Rebecca Hateley

  • December 6: Infrastructure Cluster Executive Meeting, Hobart
  • December 7-9: 6th Asia-Pacific Workshop on Structural Health Monitoring, Hobart

Urban Water

  • November 1 – 2: 8th International Conference on Architecture Research and Design, Department of Architecture Institut Teknologi Sepuluh Nopember (ITS), Surabaya


  • November 18 – 22: 2nd International Meeting of Public Health, Universitas Indonesia, Jakarta

If you know of abny forthcoming events that your colleagues would be interested in, get in touch at

Tips and tools for researchers

Also, the AIC team will bring you research tips and advice from across the AIC Research Community. We begin with some tips from Science in Public.

Twitter – Getting Started

Did you know that Jakarta is the world’s #1 city in terms of Twitter usage? Other Indonesian cities are not far behind. Here’s some tips for communicating by Twitter:

  • Have a plan (and stick to it): just as there’s a difference between communication and strategic communication, there’s a difference between random, reflexive tweeting and a more deliberate approach. Understand why you’re on Twitter, who your intended audience is and what you hope to achieve, and have a plan to achieve this.
  • Know your message: if you want to be seen as an expert in a particular area (maybe it’s fishing communities in rural Indonesia, how to build safer railway tracks, or the experiences of young Indonesian energy researchers) decide on your online ‘profile’ and keep an eye over the research in that space, contributing where you feel comfortable.
  • Don’t tweet too much… too many tweets, with little interesting content, is viewed as spam on the Twittersphere. Choose quality over quantity.
  • …or too little: however, a Twitter account with infrequent activity suggests a user that’s out-of-touch, less connected and of less value. You’re less likely to gain followers, build an audience and influence.

Read more Twitter tips at Inspiring Australia

Have your stories in these updates

You’re receiving this update because you’re an integral part of the research team, or a supporter of the work that the Australia-Indonesia Centre does in research.

And because you’re part of the family, I want to hear from you: so please don’t let this be a one-way information flow.

Lydia Hales from Science in Public is helping me put the updates together.

So send us ( and information you’d like to see included and shared with your peers.

It might be conferences and events you’re speaking at or attending, invitations for collaboration, questions you want to ask your international colleagues, etc.

In ending this edition, I’d like to say,

Selamat, and all good things,

Adjunct Professor Richard Price
Director of Research, Australia-Indonesia Centre