Cablegate: Indonesia Welcomes U.S. Science Engagement

DE RUEHJA #0211/01 0490645
R 180645Z FEB 10





E.O. 12958: N/A

REF: Jakarta 155

1. (SBU) Summary. All corners of Indonesia's science and policy
community welcomed President Obama's science envoy engagement
effort. Despite Science Envoy Dr. Bruce Alberts' last minute injury
preventing his travel, the GOI pressed on with the majority of the
January 18-29 planned schedule with OSTP Senior Advisor Jason Rao
and NSC Senior Director Pradeep Ramamurthy. On January 20, as
planned, President Yudhoyono laid out his national science
objectives in front of an audience of the Indonesian Academy of
Sciences, more than half of his cabinet, and 800 science leaders.
President Obama's statement read by Ambassador Hume received warm
welcome by the science community and media. Dr. Rao visited two
major research clusters, universities in Jogjakarta, and alongside
USAID Jakarta and Embassy Public Affairs addressed 50 universities
and 16 rectors over digital video network. Rao and Ramamurthy
discussed science engagement with former President B.J. Habibie and
top science leaders (reftel). Overall, Indonesian interlocutors
expressed great desire for science and technology cooperation with
the United States. They also noted that compared to the Japanese,
Germans, Koreans and others, the U.S. had been relatively absent for
over a decade since the 1998 Asian Financial Crisis. Many active
collaboration activities with U.S institutions resulted from
Indonesian returnees from their science studies in the U.S. The GOI
has asked to conduct Digital Video Conferences to continue working
on science engagement and hopes Dr. Alberts can visit as soon as
April if his physical rehabilitation allows. End Summary.

President Yudhoyono's Historic Address

2. (SBU) The original conception of the January 20 event at the
Indonesian Academy of Sciences was a lecture by Bruce Alberts
attended by President Yudhoyono. However, former President B.J.
Habibie, a science champion, spoke to President Yudhoyono suggesting
a historic address similar to what President Obama did with the
National Academy of Sciences in April 2009. Yudhoyono embraced the
idea, and, despite Dr. Alberts' sudden injury that prevented his
travel to Indonesia, continued with his address. Ambassador Hume
read a statement from President Obama for this event, which received
warm welcome by the Indonesian science community and the media.
Before an audience of 800 from the Indonesian Academy of Sciences,
other national science leaders, and more than half of his cabinet,
Yudhoyono identified science and technological innovation as the key
to unlocking Indonesia's future growth and development. He laid out
the key steps: changing Indonesia's mindset, being open to
collaboration with the international science community, fostering
entrepreneurship to bring innovation to market, and then protecting
the rights of the innovators. He also listed areas for
international science and technology cooperation: poverty, green
technology, food, industry, medical, disasters, marine affairs,
defense, transportation and biotechnology. Finally, Yudhoyono
announced the creation of the National Innovation Committee that
will design a national innovation system and report directly to

Former President Habibie's Suggestions for S&T Activities
--------------------------------------------- ---------

3. (SBU) In meeting a meeting with OSTP Jason Rao, Habibie proposed
that President Obama address a gathering of the International
Islamic Forum for Science, Technology and Human Resource Development
(IIFTIHAR). IIFTIHAR is an international Muslim science
organization established in 1996 by 84 non-government Islamic
Organizations. (Note: See for more background
information.) As IIFTIHAR's chairman, Habibie offered to invite
members from around the world, including Egypt and Turkey, to gather
for an annual meeting in Jakarta at the time of President Obama's
visit. Dr. Rao agreed to take the proposal back to the White House
for consideration. Turning to U.S-Indonesia science relations,
Habibie pointed out that the U.S. has been absent since the 1998
Asian Financial Crisis, and that "someone else will fill the gap if
the U.S. does not." He recommended that science and technology
cooperation between the U.S. and Indonesia focus on solving problems
at the sector-specific level in a way that can bring new jobs to
both Indonesia and to America. He hoped that cooperation in
aerospace and transportation, including marine, could be revived

JAKARTA 00000211 002 OF 003

with the U.S. "Transportation advances to link Indonesia's 18,000
islands is the key to solving the whole host of development, health,
food security, and social issues in Eastern Indonesia," he said. He
emphasized that transportation must be prioritized, otherwise all
the focus and funding will go to agriculture and medicine. Finally,
he expressed his strong desire to see the U.S.-Indonesia S&T
Agreement concluded as soon as possible. The original
U.S.-Indonesia S&T Agreement that Habibie signed was Indonesia's
first. (See Jakarta 155 on Ramamurthy's lunch meeting with

Ministry of Research and Technology: 7 Priorities
--------------------------------------------- ----

4. (SBU) Dr. Rao met with three deputy ministers of the Ministry for
Research and Technology (MRT), led by Deputy Minister for
International Cooperation Dr. Teguh Rahardjo. They laid out
Indonesia's seven research and technology priorities: energy, food
security, information and communication technology, defense,
transportation, medicines, and advanced materials. Each year the
Ministry provides research grants from a pot of approximately USD 12
million via proposal competition. Of the 4,000 proposals received
each year, less than 10% receive funding. The brainstorming
discussion ranged from the possibility of joint funding and
selection of grant recipients on common scientific goals, bringing
additional USG POCs with Dr. Alberts for the 7 priority areas, short
courses in Indonesia taught by visiting U.S. professors, increasing
STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) students in both
directions, to establishing metrics to measure progress.

5. (SBU) Director for International Cooperation Nada Marsudi
reported that research permits approved by her ministry for U.S.
cooperative projects were up by 5 to 73 in 2009. However, she
pointed out that it is difficult to know the specifics of all the
cooperative activities. Japan, Germany, UK have placed resident
advisors inside the ministry to help improve coordination on joint
activities. Deputy Minister for Utilization and Dissemination of
S&T Idwan Suhardi noted that USAID grants have helped in the area of
bringing technology to market.

6. (SBU) Deputy Minister for Clinical Microbiology Amin Soebandrio
explained that not all health-related issues fall under the Ministry
of Health. Basic and non-clinical research is done by institutes
coordinated by MRT and by universities. These include vaccine
development, diagnostics, and drug development. He said many
cooperation avenues exist, but politically we need to find a way to
deal with the NAMRU issue. Dr. Rao responded that the important
focus is to help people, noting that disease knows no borders and
health security must be global.

Visits to Research Institutes and Labs

7. (SBU) Dr. Rao visited the main research campus of the Indonesian
Institute of Sciences, the Cibinong Science Center in Bogor. The
40-hectare facility conducts research on Molecular Farming, R
protein inhibitors effective against Avian Flu, Genetic Hunting and
Transgenic Rice, energy production from microalgae, and many other
areas. The center also houses Indonesia's largest botanical (3
million), bird (2 million) and insect (2 million) collections. The
institute struggles to digitize the collections, and so far less
than 10% have been studied. They welcome foreign scientists to come
and use the collections.

8. (SBU) Dr. Rao also visited the 120-hectare Training Center for
Research, Science, and Technology run by the Ministry of Research
and Technology. The center is a science cluster that includes many
other research institutes, including Indonesia's nuclear research
labs. The main labs visited and proposals collected involve
biomass, ocean and earth sciences, and chemistry. Dr. Rao also
visited labs that test and provide verifications based on requests
from industry. Information, proposals and Indonesian POCs have been
provided by e-mail to OSTP Dr. Rao.

Academic Institutions

JAKARTA 00000211 003 OF 003

9. (SBU) In Jogjakarta, Dr. Rao visited and held discussions with
the science faculty of Muhammadiyah University, an Islamic school of
11,000 students. The university currently has programs focused on
developing small-scale clean energy solutions for local communities.
They hope to develop models that can be replicated throughout
Indonesia, and have coordinated closely with local and central
government energy officials. Funding comes from a Dutch grant.
Muhammadiyah hopes U.S. scientists can join their efforts in clean
water, environment management, and organic agriculture. Dr. Nas
Wadi briefed on Muhammadiyah's international program on Law & Sharia
and Islamic Banking, currently carried out in collaboration with
Australia and Malaysia. Wadi invited U.S. lecturers to visit
Muhammadiyah and participate in the program. Dr. Rao also visited
and spoke with students at the American Corner on campus. (Note: 67%
of Muhammadiyah graduates find jobs in their field, while the
remaining 33% become entrepreneurs or housewives who may never enter
the workforce. Muhammadiyah graduates many who enter Indonesian
political careers in both central and local government.)

10. (SBU) Dr. Rao visited Gadjah Mada University (UGM), arguably
Indonesia's premier institute of higher learning with 56,000
students. UGM Rector Sudjarwadi noted that he had read the OSTP
blog that morning and looked forward to working together to make the
unknown known. They discussed a wide range of UGM activities and
links to several U.S. universities. Sudjarwadi expressed desire for
cooperation with the U.S. on mathematics and natural sciences, and
offered to provide facilities for visiting U.S. professors. Dr. Rao
then visited the Institute of Tropical Disease and Faculty of
Veterinary Medicine and discussed Indonesia-specific findings on
Avian Flu resistance and virus characterization. NSC Senior
Director Ramamurthy joined Dr. Rao for discussions with students at
the American Corner, before meeting the regents of the University
over dinner. In contrast to Muhammadiyah University, nearly all of
UGM graduates find jobs in their respective fields of study.

Next Steps

11. (SBU) The GOI has suggested that Dr. Alberts visit Indonesia as
soon as mid-April, pending the progress of his rehabilitation from
surgery. In the meanwhile, they welcome Dr. Alberts' requests for
DVCs to continue the conversation and coordination of activities.

12. (SBU) OSTP Dr. Rao has cleared this message.


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