New R&D head in Indonesia

Indonesia's newly appointed minister for Higher Education and Research and Technology (a newly merged ministry) Muhammad Nasir, says he wants Indonesia to become a world-class science and academic research player.

Nasir, formerly a university Dean was one of 34 new cabinet ministers sworn in by incoming President Joko Widodo’s this week. Nasir has vowed to improve industry and innovation.

Historic low government funding for R&D has long been a problem. Only half the state R&D budget was spent this year. World Bank data indicates Indonesia spends only 0.08 % of GDP on R&D. Malaysia spent 1.01% and Singapore 2.43%. From 2001 to 2010, Indonesian academics produced under 8,000 publications. Singapore, Thailand and Malaysia published 30,000 or so each.

There is a lot of work to do to boost R&D in Indonesia. The new minister is saying the right things but as with all new cabinets the deeds will be what counts.