An invitation by Indonesian Ministry of Research Technology and Higher Education

Blog by Dr. Bagus Muljadi – Assistant Professor in Chemical Engineering

At the end of 2017, I was invited by the Indonesian Ministry of Research Technology and Higher Education to take part in the “World Class Scholar Symposium” in Jakarta, Indonesia. The symposium entitled “Empowering Science and Technology-Based Civil Society toward Achieving National Development Goals”, aims at improving the quality of our scientific communities at higher education level throughout Indonesia by means of various capacity building programs such as joint research, journal writing collaboration, and faculty exchange. The ministry invited a select group of 40 Indonesian diaspora scholars to take part in a series of seminars and workshops with faculty members from various Indonesian universities and a visit to selected universities in Indonesia. The seminars and workshop took place in Jakarta on the 17th and 22nd December 2017, while the visits were held on 18th-20th December 2017. 

Wearing Batik (Indonesian traditional, formal attire), posing with fellow Indonesian diaspora scholars

This event was a great opportunity for us to follow up on the collaboration we already had in place with Institut Teknologi Bandung (ITB) – my alma mater. I visited and gave a talk at the Faculty of Earth Science and Technology, ITB. In addition, I met with the deans of several faculties and discussed potential collaborative research ideas.

The main event then began shortly after all the delegates returned to Jakarta from their visits. Indonesian Vice President Muhammad Jusuf Kalla (JK), the Minister of Research Technology and Higher Education Prof. Muhammad Nasir, and the ministry’s director general, Dr. Ali Ghufron Mukti, opened the symposium. The vice president in his opening speech challenged Indonesian scholars to set a new standard in higher education, and to collaborate and improve the stature of Indonesian universities — to be within the top 100 universities in the world. I was above all impressed by the dedication of Indonesian government to improve the quality of teaching and research in higher education, and am honoured to partake in the new initiatives.

Representing GeoEnergy Research Centre (GERC), giving a talk at the faculty of earth science and technology, Insitut Teknologi Bandung – a leading Indonesian institute for science and technology

Shortly after the symposium, I was instated in the board of directors of International Indonesian Scholars Association (I-4) wherein my role — as the deputy to the managing director of I-4 UK — I help execute I-4 programmes in the region.  The position allows me to help synergise Indonesian scholars in the UK with the Indonesian government as a means to improve the nation’s education and technology.

The Vice President of Indonesia, Muhammad Jusuf Kalla during his opening speech

Raising a question on energy policy during a panel discussion

I believe that to answer today’s challenges in higher education, culture, geopolitics, economics and scientific research, we need a strong, global collaboration between leading universities. As a member of the GeoEnergy Research Centre at the University of Nottingham (UoN), and also as an affiliated assistant professor at Virginia Tech (VT), I wish to use this momentum to drive and foster an ever-closer partnership between UoN, VT, and leading Indonesian universities in teaching and in research. 

With the Indonesian Minister of Research Technology and Higher Education, Prof. Muhammad Nasir during his follow-up visit to London in January

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