Jakarta (Indonesia Window) – Indonesia and the UK have signed an agreement to establish the UK-Indonesia Consortium for Interdisciplinary Sciences (UKICIS).
The signing was witnessed virtually on Thursday (Feb. 25) by Indonesian Minister of Research and Technology Bambang Brodjonegoro and the Minister for Asian Affairs at the British Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Nigel Adams.
The agreement was signed in a virtual event by the leaders of six Indonesian and British universities, who are also founders of the consortium.
They are Prof. Christine Ennew (Rector of the University of Warwick, UK); Prof. Reini Wirahadikusumah (Rector of Indonesia’s Bandung Institute of Technology/ITB); Prof. Richard Dashwood (Vice Rector of Coventry University, UK); Prof. Arif Satria (Rector of Indonesia’s Bogor Agricultural Institute/IPB); Prof. Dame Jessica Corner (Vice Rector of the University of Nottingham, UK); and Prof. Panut Mulyono (Rector of Indonesia’s Gadjah Mada University).
Minister Bambang stated that UKICIS was a new breakthrough in Indonesian-British research and innovation collaboration which was promoted by the Indonesian diaspora.
The collaboration is expected to continue to boost a memorandum of understanding on research and innovation between the two countries and efforts to advance Indonesia’s National Research Priority program in the fields of electric vehicles, renewable energy, artificial intelligence and science diplomacy.
Meanwhile, Indonesian Ambassador to England Desra Percaya said that the establishment of UKICIS was supported by Indonesian diasporas in the UK in diplomacy and a form of their contribution in the research field.
The agreement between Indonesia and Britain includes the contribution of knowledge from scientists in overcoming challenges faced by people of the two countries, strengthening relations with the community through education, economy and socio-cultures, exchanging advances in science, and efforts to increase impacts of research on society.
British Ambassador to Indonesia Owen Jenkins who was present at the meeting gave a speech regarding various developments in the progress of research and innovation cooperation between the two countries.
According to the UKICIS coordinator, Dr. Bagus Muljadi, the consortium was formed through joint efforts by leading universities in Indonesia and the UK, led by the Indonesian scientist diaspora in the UK.
The Indonesian diasporas have an important role in strengthening bilateral cooperation, especially through science diplomacy.
UKICIS is a form of diaspora ‘soft power’ and is expected to promote knowledge exchange between the two countries.
The signing ceremony for the formation of UKICIS was continued with a discussion on efforts to strengthen global health resilience.
The discussion was on the importance of public awareness about mutations and new variants of COVID-19, strengthening of the track and trace policy to prevent the spread of new variants, and the efficacy of the vaccine booster against new variants.
Reporting by Indonesia Window