On Research

Research is probably not quite a hot topic for many people, including to the legislators and policy makers, and yet its impacts to the development of the country’s economy and prosperity are actually quite profound.

The very first article that I posted in this blog, The 5-Step Research Cycle, shows my genuine interest about the topic. I do believe to the power of research, whether they are conducted in universities, research facilities, or anywhere else to improve the performance of products, services, countries or regions.

One of the headlines at the Jakarta Post on Wednesday was “Govt hopes tax breaks will boost research”. It says that the government is to appoint an independent committee to formulate guidelines on the new regulation offering tax and customs incentives to businesses that invest in research.

This is a positive development, although some might say that it’s too little too late. Still, every step taken is important.

In the article, State Minister for Research and Technology Kusmayanto Kadiman says that Indonesia's annual spending on research averages only US$300 million, dwarfed by China with $76 billion, Malaysia's $1.2 billion and Singapore's $2 billion. How can we catch up with advancement enjoyed by those countries with such a huge differences in commitment?

Hence, not only excitements are needed, but also strong political commitments from both the government, the lawmakers and the society in general.

In almost every government institutions we can actually find Litbang, Penelitian Pengembangan, or Research and Development. However, they are all lacking of good people, funding and strategic directions.

Litbang shall actually be like elite units in the military, such as SEAL, GSG 9, or Kopassus. They are all well equipped, well trained and very well paid, and hence they are prestigious. Only the best people can be the member of the elite units, and therefore they deliver.

Research and education are equally important. One can not make significant advancement without the other.

In university, there are thousand of students conducting many different type research activities as an academic requirement before graduating. Little attention had been given to capitalize it though. How about arrange it like a huge orchestra playing harmonious songs for the attainment of a grand common goal?

We definitely need a good visionary conductor.

Fellow citizens, if we all want to have a more prosperous Indonesia for our children, let’s support strongly the constitutional demand for the government to allocate at least 20% of the state budget for education, and research. Seal the source of leakages as well.
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