Thoughts on the way forward in education and research between Indonesia and the Netherlands

Celebrate, strengthen and expand collaborations between the Netherlands and Indonesia, that is the goal of the yearly recurring WINNER conference (Week of Indonesia Netherlands Education and Research). The conference, which took place 26-28 October and was visited by stakeholders from all sectors, is an annual important event for Nuffic.
nadiem makarim

Co-organised by Nuffic Neso Indonesia, the WINNER conference reaches thousands of participants. WINNER is of importance to Nuffic because the yearly event strengthens the position of the Dutch knowledge sector en Dutch knowledge diplomacy in Indonesia. Indonesia is a priority country in the international knowledge and talent strategy (Ministry of Education), as well as in the Orange Knowledge Programme (Ministry of Foreign Affairs). In addition the Netherlands is the largest European investor in Indonesia.

Many contributions focused on collectively achieving the sustainable development goals: from sustainable tourism to a circular fashion industry. In a video message, Indonesian Education Minister Nadiem Makarim emphasized the importance of collaboration with Dutch knowledge institutions with regard to sustainable developments. ‘Our bold movements with Merdeka Belajar - or emancipated learning - will transform the future of education in Indonesia. With strong collaboration we are ready to take further steps to achieve the SDG’s.’ Dutch Education Minister Ingrid van Engelshoven, in a video message, particularly welcomed the students who had gathered both in Jakarta and Utrecht to ask questions during the hybrid online opening session. “It is crucial that we use this week to discuss and collaborate, that is exactly what WINNER is about.”

Knowledge diplomacy

Gerbert Kunst (Director of International Policy at the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, the Netherlands) underlined the strategic importance of Dutch knowledge diplomacy in relations with Indonesia. “We should build on the strong relations between Indonesia and the Netherlands that are already in place.” The ‘triple helix model’ with interaction between academia, industry and government, offers direction for future cooperation, according to Kunst. “Sustainable Development Goals are about including societies.”

Coral reefs and industrial design

Keynote speaker Dr. Lisa Becking, also underlined the importance of co-creation in her research into the resilience of coral reefs. scientific research. “In West Papua where we work, research starts with identifying the needs of the local population”, she said. In a second keynote speech, dr. Dwinita Larasati drew attention to creating an inclusive creative economy. In particular, she discussed the ‘fashion village lab’, a pilot project for circular fashion industry. “People in creative economy possess the main attributes to adapt to future challenges”, she stated.
More balance in student exchange

In the search for global talent, students move everywhere. Yearly some 2400 Indonesian students come to the Netherlands; the other way round not so many Dutch students take their chance in Indonesia. Titia Bredée ( Director-General at Nuffic) therefore underlined that countries should keep investing in the knowledge infrastructure so that cooperation is long-term. “We should work on removing the obstacles for Dutch students to come to study in Indonesia.” Mrs. Bredée also suggested investigating the idea of setting up a new joint PhD-scholarship programme for both countries, an idea which was well received.

Degree collaboration and co-authoring

Universities also took part in the WINNER conference, with Prof. Al Makin (UIN Sunan Kalijaga) focusing on the importance of not only maintaining but also strengthening the relation, the friendship and the collaboration with the Netherlands. Specifically, Mr. Al Makin suggested establishing degree collaboration between UIN Sunan Kalijaga and Dutch counterparts and increasing the number of co-authored articles.

Prof. Tom Veldkamp (University of Twente) on the other hand spoke about joint scholarship programmes, preferably on thematic issues. “PhD-students often work very isolated, it is of great importance that we create structures in which these PhD-candidates can work together.” Mr. Veldkamp also underlined the significance of public-private partnerships: “When industry is involved in research programmes, it guarantees a broader impact on society. We should not only aim for international collaboration, but also public-private collaboration.”

WINNER Utrecht hybrid session

Origins of WINNER

Indonesia and The Netherlands share a long history of collaboration in research and education. The aim of WINNER is to celebrate, strengthen and expand these collaborations. WINNER is a yearly recurring event, where researchers, education enthusiasts, policymakers, businesses, NGOs, and societal stakeholders from Indonesia and the Netherlands are invited to present results from research, discuss how to strengthen the collaboration in research and education, identify mutual priorities, share best practices, and make new connections.

The Week of Indonesia-Netherlands Education and Research (WINNER) is an initiative by the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Jakarta, Nuffic Neso Indonesia, the Indonesian Academy of Young Scientists (ALMI), the National Research and Innovation Agency (BRIN), the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW), and the Dutch Research Council (NWO).