Jakarta – During the past four years under the administration of President Joko Widodo and Vice President Jusuf Kalla, non-ministerial government agencies (LPNKs) coordinated by the Ministry of Research, Technology and Higher Education (Kemenristekdikti) have contributed to the development of science, research and technology in Indonesia and to the efforts to address problems faced by the country.

Those agencies are the Indonesian Science Institute (LIPI), the Agency for Assessment and Application of Technology (BPPT), the National Nuclear Power Body (BATAN), the National Aviation and Aeronautics Agency (LAPAN), the National Nuclear Power Supervisor Body (BAPETEN) and the National Standardization Body (BSN).

Minister for research, technology and higher education Mohamad Nasir said achievements of the agencies could be divided into six areas: food, energy, health, information and communication technology, transportation and disaster management.

“In the national research master plan [RIRN] document, which has been developed since 2015, there are ten areas of government focuses. Specifically in the science and technology area, there are six aspects that have become our concerns, which are food, energy, health, information and communication technology, transportation and disaster mitigation. Non-ministerial agencies coordinated by the ministry have done important contributions to the people,” said Nasir at a press briefing related to LPNKs at the ministry’s building.

The press briefing was attended by: BATAN head Djarot Wisnubroto, BAPETEN head Jazi Eko Istiyanto, LIPI head Laksana Tri Handoko, acting BPPT head Wimpie Agoeng Noegroho, LAPAN head Thomas Djamaluddin and BSN head Bambang Prasetya. It was hosted by member of ministry’s expert staff on infrastructure issue, Hari Purwanto.

Nasir said Indonesia for many years had not had any research blue print, but had managed to issue the RIRN under the Joko Widodo-Jusuf Kalla government. The RIRN would be crucial for development in Indonesia, which needs planning to integrate various agencies.

In the food sector, BATAN has created a rice seed variety which is able to increase productivity 35.5 percent than that of others. BPPT has developed a method named Area Sampling Framework (KSA) to improve agriculture data. LAPAN has invented a remote sensing tool to map agriculture land. LIPI has produced a natural fertilizer which is able to increase productivity by 25-50 percent, while BSN has issued 2,458 agriculture certification.

“These achievements show that non-ministerial agencies have given important contribution and jointly tried to increase national food production. Kemenristekdikti and LPNKs are working in the upstream area to ensure national food security,” said Nasir.

In the energy sector, those agencies have invented several important devices such as LIPI-created Smart Micro Grid, which converts alternative energy sources to electricity. There are also BPPT’s geothermal power plant and BATAN’s experimental power reactor.

“To ensure safety of nuclear power use, Indonesia has BAPETEN. BATAN’s reactor has obtained security permit from BAPETEN,” said Nasir.

At the press briefing, Nasir singled out achievements in disaster management. He expressed his grief on various disasters that had taken place in Indonesia recently. Ministry-coordinated agencies have been actively contributing to disaster management. Various technologies have been used in response to disasters, such as LIPI’s Wiseland which monitors landslides.

“BPPT’s Baruna Jaya vessel is also a technology on which the government relies its disaster management policies. This ship has been used by the national search and rescue agency and the national transportation safety committee to search for victims of KM Sinar Bangun incident in below 450m in Lake Toba. The vessel harnessed the remotely-operated underwater vehicle technology. This has also been used in post-disaster relief efforts in Palu and in the Lion Air JT-610 plane crash,” said Nasir.

For disasters caused by weathers, LAPAN has a weather monitoring satellite named SADEWA, which stands for satellite for disaster early warning, while BPPT has a weather modification technology which has been used in forest fires prevention.

BATAN head Djarot Wisnusubroto said his employer had created products that had been distributed to the society, especially related to food and health sectors. For instance, excellent rice and soy seeds, flour, prototypes of radioisotope and radio pharmacy to diagnose kidney and thyroid diseases.

Bapeten head Jazi Eko Istiyanto said his agency ensured that the use of nuclear power in Indonesia was safe to help create products in food, health and energy sectors. He said the society needed to be educated on how nuclear was safe under adequate supervision from a dedicated agency.

LIPI head Laksana Tri Handoko said the agency held important role in the development of research in Indonesia. He said he hoped that the agency could foster cooperation with the industry. LIPI has been teaming up with the Health Ministry to support small-scale food enterprises.

Acting BPPT head Wimpie Agoeng Noegroho said his agency had cooperated with the Central Statistics Agency (BPS) to develop a method to collect agricultural monitoring data. This method has been used since January 2018 to improve rice production data and has been able to update BPS data on rice fields, from 7.75 million hectares in 2013 to 7.1 hectares in 2018.

LAPAN head Thomas Djamaluddin said a synergy of national science and technology sectors could become an answer to challenges faced by the nation. He said his agency had teamed up with the Agriculture Ministry to monitor rice growth using remote sensing application.

BSN head Bambang Prasetya said every marketed product had to undergo standardization process from the agency. He said standardization was a key to improve the nation’s competitiveness. As global trade has become more open, Indonesia has to be able to control the global market – and this could be achieved by implementing the Indonesian National Standardization (SNI) on local products. SNI could convince consumers that a product was suitable and proper to use, apart from being safe, comfortable and high-quality. SNI is one of the important instruments to win the global competition.

The press briefing was also joined by ministry’s director general for learning and student affairs Intan Ahmad, high-ranking officials from the ministry and non-ministerial government agencies, as well as other invitees.