Indonesia and Finland are two great Countries who have common interests in developing and encouraging cooperation in Science, Technology, Innovation and Higher Education (STI-HE). Following the Courtesy Call of H.E. Ms. Päivi Hiltunen-Toivio, the Finnish Ambassador to HE Vice President Jusuf Kalla dated on November 20th, 2014, which was accompanied by HE Prof. M. Nasir, Minister for Research, Technology and Higher Education (RISTEK-DIKTI); HE Ms. Krista Kiuru, the Finnish Minister for Education and Communication had a bilateral meeting with HE Minister Nasir in Jakarta on March 19th, 2015. During this meeting, both Ministers shared their common interests in developing the future collaboration on STIHE, among others in the fields of transportation, energy, forestry, information and communication technology (ICT), health as well as the Science and Technology Park (STP) development.

After several communication and consultation amongst Indonesian-Finnish stakeholders and parties, the partnership was realized through the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Government of the Republic of Indonesia (RI) and the Government of the Republic of Finland on STIHE on 26 April 2015 in Helsinki, Finland.

The signing of MoU was also attended by HE Mr. Elias Ginting, Ambassador of the RI for Finland; Ms. Nada Marsudi, the Director of International S&T Network, Ristek-Dikti Ministry; Mr. Made Sentanajaya, First Secretary; Ms. Nelvy Syah, Third Secretary; Mr. Riva Sandhiajaya, Staff/Photographer from the Embassy of Indonesia in Helsinki, Finland (KBRI Finland). Attending the MoU signing were also Madame Hasbiyah Ginting and Madame Agnes Ginting.

From the Finnish side, HE Minister Krista Kiuru, was accompanied by Mr. Tapio Kosunen, Director General for Higher Education and Science, Policy, the Ministry of Education and Communication (MoEC); Ms. Jaana Palojärvi, the Director for International Relation; Ms. Tiina Vihma-Provaara, Councellor of Education; Ms Päivi Rissanen, the Secretary of International Relation; Mr. Kalervo Väänänen, Rector, University of Turku; Mr. Jukka Mönkkönen, Rector, University of Eastern Finland; Mr. Pasi Halmari, Project Manager, Haafa Helia, University of Applied Sciences; Mr. Pasi Kaskinen, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Finland University Inc., Mr. Juha Christensen, Senior Advisor, Finland University.

Prior to the signing, on Saturday, 25 April 2015, through a working dinner, HE Minister Prof. M. Nasir was engaged in interesting discussions and he exchanged of STIHE perspectives and programs; with rectors and or representatives, from the Finland University Inc, University of Turku, University of Eastern Finland, F-Secure and Nokia Network companies, as well as the University of Helsinki. While on Sunday, 26 April 2015, during the breakfast meeting, HE Minister Prof. M. Nasir expressed his interests during a very fruitful discussions with CEOs of ‘No-Cart Oy’ which has technological and innovative competency in producing the ‘Power Management Unit. In addition, the Indonesian delegation was also impressed by the innovative technological achievement of the electrical bus company (‘Linkkerbus Oy’). Even, the Indonesian delegation had the opportunity to ride and to test the electrical bus, which has environmentally-friendly innovation and technology. This kind of buses, in the future, may be considered as one of the solutions to the transportation system in Indonesia, especially in DKI Jakarta Province. HE Minister M. Nasir expressed his desires to have a joint research collaboration and production of such kind of buses in Indonesia. He then shared the information to the Finnish delegates that Indonesia is also continuously doing research on electrical buses in some of the universities as well as the Non-Ministerial R&D Agencies (LPNKs), in which that in the future, a joint-venture collaboration could be explored.

Concerning the initiative for having collaboration on nuclear energy research for safety purposes, ie for Nuclear Plant Production (NPP), the meeting with VTT Technical Research Center was very productive. HE Minister M. Nasir explained that Indonesia will need more power in the future for the people as well as the national development; so electricity from NPP, would be one of the alternative energies. In the forestry research collaboration sector, the representatives from the University of Helsinki and the University of Finland, shared their experiences for working with the Indonesian partners, they also wished to explore more joint research on the forest productivity opportunities; but in the same time, reforestation and rehabilitations of forest tree programs, should be maintained.

In relation with the higher education issues, HE Minister M. Nasir also discussed with representatives from the Haaga-Helia University of Applied Science, Elsa Value and EduCluster in Finland; which are eager to identify future cooperation with based on common interests. Learning and teaching, including teachers’ education and professional development, e-learning, education technology and e-Governance program were discussed. In addition, visiting Professors and researchers, are some of the programs that could be further explored.

In conclusion, the working visit to Helsinki, Finland, 25-26 April 2015, was conducted successfully and productively. The willingness of HE Minister Krista Kiuru and the whole Finish partners in receiving HE Minister Prof. M Nasir during the week-end; as well as an integrated-comprehensive working visit program, that was conducted within the two days really showed the Finnish appreciations and desires to welcome the future collaboration.

During his working visit in Finland, HE Minister M. Nasir also conducted a dialogue with representatives from the Indonesian Students Associations (Persatuan Pelajar Indonesia – PPI) from Finland and Estonia, in Wisma Duta Helsinki. As the follow up the working visit, by end of May – early of June 2015, some Finnish delegates will conduct a working visit to Indonesia to discuss on the implementation of the signed MoU of STHE, as well as on the technical details of each areas of common interests.