Jakarta – BRIN Public Relations. A total of 33 research & development units from Ministries/Institutions have been integrated into the National Research and Innovation Agency (BRIN) in 2021. These R&D units include 5 main research entities in Indonesia, namely BATAN, LAPAN, LIPI, BPPT, and the Ministry of Research and Technology/BRIN.

Head of BRIN, Laksana Tri Handoko, in an interview with Tempo media, Tuesday (04/01), said that this government’s policy to integrate research on a national scale is taken to build Indonesian research to be globally competitive.

According to Handoko, there are 2 fundamental research problems in Indonesia. First, research activities in Indonesia are still dominated by the government. Viewed from the national research spending, 80 percent of research activities use State Budget funds, and the rest from outside the government, such as the private sector and industry. In fact, according to Handoko, when referring to global standards, such as UNESCO, research activities should be just the opposite – only 20 percent is from the government, and the rest is from outside the government.

The second problem, explained Handoko, is thus far research resources are spread across many agencies, including human resources, infrastructure, and budgets. Under such condition where resources scatter in many places, according to Handoko, Indonesian research is difficult to compete.

“Research is actually a global competition. Research does not need to be everywhere, but it must be excellent. So if we want to do good research, we have to create a center of excellence,” said Handoko.

He admitted that the culture and research activities in Indonesia are still behind when compared to other ASEAN countries such as Malaysia and Thailand. In fact, in the 70s, many people from ASEAN countries studied in Indonesia. This problem needs to be addressed with the establishment of BRIN.

According to him, to build a research and innovation ecosystem in Indonesia, research activities by the government does not need to be dominant. Therefore, it is necessary to integrate government research institutions. Research contribution from non-governmental organizations should be as much possible to create a sustainable research-based economy.

By integrating R&D into BRIN, continued Handoko, it will improve the critical mass of the three resources. According to him, what prevents the private sector from entering research activities so far is high investment in human resources and research infrastructure. This problem can be settled by BRIN by applying the open platform system to all researches from the government, universities, the private sector or the industry in in utilizing these three resources.

“Research infrastructure and human resources are the most expensive investment. With BRIN in one management, I can open a platform, which can be used by anyone during operation. This means that the industry can enter research without capital. They simply bring up the problem, discuss it with the researchers, and use the infrastructure to work. That’s the world of research,” he explained.

To improve superior human resources, BRIN has research mobility programs, such as the master’s and doctoral programs, post-doctoral by research, visiting researcher program, and visiting professors program. In addition, BRIN aims to receive 500 ASN researchers with a minimum qualification of doctoral degree, both through the civil servant (PNS) scheme and Government Employees under Performance Contract (PPPK) every year.

Nevertheless, explained Handoko, researchers can pursue their careers outside BRIN, such as to universities or colleges.

“So it is not like it used to be, when researchers had to be civil servants first. Now, the civil servants are only for permanent researchers. Under the mobility scheme, researcher and also ASN under PPPK scheme, after thorough research, have a strong network. After a 5 to 15-year work contract at BRIN, for example, we can redistribute them to campuses. Why? Because research needs dynamics, so human turnover must be high,” he said.

At the beginning of this year, BRIN will again integrate 6 R&D units from Ministries/Institutions, so that a total of 39 R&D units will be integrated into BRIN (tnt).