The World Association of Industrial and Technological Research Organizations (WAITRO) organizes the WAITRO Innovation Award (WIA) which is held every year. The 2021 WIA focused on food security and sustainable agriculture (SDG 2-Zero Hunger). The WIA under the theme ‘Food Security and Sustainable Agriculture, was attended by a research team led by Achmat Sarifudin, a researcher from the National Research and Innovation Agency (BRIN) in collaboration with researchers from the Thailand Institute for Scientific and Technological Research (TISTR). The proposal of “Strengthening Food Sustainability in Southeast Asia by Utilization of Local Tuber of Amorphophallus muelleri Blume” successfully led them to become winner, and received WIA.

Jakarta – BRIN Public Relations. BRIN is the only organization in Indonesia joining WAITRO. Its participation as member is of course in synergy with its main tasks and functions in advancing research and innovation. Head of BRIN, Laksana Tri Handoko, emphasized that through WAITRO Indonesian researchers can expand and strengthen their global network and collaboration to actively participate in solving common problems through scientific research of global standards.

“WAITRO has been BRIN’s partner since its inception. Even now, one of members of the WAITRO Executive Board is from BRIN,” said Handoko. According to him, the success of BRIN researchers in WIA shows that research collaboration is increasingly becoming a global need today. “I congratulate the award-winning team, I hope the collaboration will not stop at this research topic, but will develop more in the future,” he said.

WAITRO Executive Board Member for Asia and Pacific Region Theresia Ningsi Astuti said that WIA aims to seek new ideas and encourage formation of new teams among members of WAITRO. “This is one way to create an innovation ecosystem by establishing cooperation with researchers from different countries and with potential investors,” he said.

He further said the Research Team from BRIN was one of the two winning teams which respectively received USD 25,000 in seed funding. “If this project is attractive to investors, it is possible to get further funding,” he explained. “Out of five teams determined as finalists, three are from BRIN. The five finalists presented their program online on 27 January 2022, and WAITRO announced the winner on 3 February 2022,” he explained.

Researcher Collaboration

Participation in WIA, said Achmat, requires that each team must have two institutions that are also members of WAITRO. Achmat, who is an alumnus of Suranaree University of Technology, Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand, invited his colleagues at TISTR to collaborate. TISTR is also a member of WAITRO.

Achmat Sarifudin, who currently serves as BRIN’s Acting Head of Appropriate Technology Research Center said that WAITRO is a global platform that aims to facilitate researchers around the world to collaborate. “In carrying out this research project, the BRIN team shares research projects and contributes in collaboration with the team from TISTR,” he said during interview with the BRIN Public Relations Team (4/2).

For information, the research team from BRIN consists of Riyanti Ekafitri, Enny Sholichah, Novita Indrianti, Nok Afifah, Dewi Desnilasari, Lia Ratnawati, Woro Setiaboma, Dita Kristani, Satya Andika. While the TISTR research team members are Waraporn Sorndech, Siriporn Butseekhot, Thongkorn Ploypetchara, Wiriyaporn Sumsakul, Chiramet Auranwiwat, and Sinee Siricoon. This team investigated the sustainable strengthening of food in Southeast Asia by using porang tubers. They also tried to combine it with Moringa leaves  and aloe vera.

As in their work plan, the BRIN Team tends to produce glucomannan flour by developing green production methods (using nonhazardous chemicals and not disposing of solvents into the environment, but using with the recovery system). The TITR team handles product and materials development. “Porang, moringa and aloe vera were formulated to make staple food products. Some are in the form of noodles, rice, and healthy snacks,” said Achmat.

“Super grateful for this achievement. Thank God, TISTR and BRIN fellows are also excited and enthusiastic,” said Achmat about their success winning the WIA. He admitted that he had never targeted his team as winner, especially since he had no experience participating in research competitions at the international level.

“This is the first time that BRIN has received an award from WAITRO,” said Theresia. She really hopes and encourages researchers to keep the spirit high in collaborating at the global level. “Collaboration is the key to the success in an innovation,” he said. “Through BRIN’s membership in WAITRO, I hope the researchers can make the best use of existing programs and open up opportunities to establish collaborative relationships with global partners. This WAITRO membership is of course not only for BRIN but is open to other relevant institutions/industries,” he concluded.

About WAITRO

WAITRO is an independent, non-governmental and non-profit association founded in 1970 under the auspices of the United Nations. WAITRO brings together stakeholders in science, technology and innovation, including research and technology organizations and research universities, in an international scale and provides a mechanism for its members and partners to connect, partner, share, inspire and contribute to solving global challenges and contributing to the goal of sustainable development (UN SDGs).

WAITRO consists of more than 100 organizations from various countries from Africa, Europe, Latin America & Caribean, Middle East & North Africa and Asia Pacific, which is also known as the “Global Innovation Family”. To carry out its vision and mission, WAITRO implements several programs including increasing the capacity of science and technology human resources and science and technology management human resources, access to funding, holding international conferences, exhibitions, workshops and providing a platform to bring together researchers and potential investors through the saira application. (drs)