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Dutch-Indonesian cooperation guided by SDGs

Dutch-Indonesian cooperation guided by SDGs

Photo caption: Talk show on the WINNER day 1, featuring Edy Giri Rachman Putra, PhD -Prof. Ir. Nizam, M.Sc., DIC, Ph.D., IPU, Asean Eng. – Prof. Inge Hutter | Moderator : Dr. Evi Eliyanah & Prof. Dr. Dirk-Jan Koch.

How can international and interdisciplinary cooperation contribute to achieving the sustainable development goals (SDGs)? That was the key question of the opening day of the Week of Indonesia Netherlands Education and Research (WINNER) October 26. Students in particular called for more attention to sustainability.

In a video message, Indonesian Education Minister Nadiem Makarim emphasized his great ambitions in the field of education and the need to transform vocational education through public-private partnerships. ‘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 a hybrid online session. ‘It is crucial that we use this week to discuss and collaborate, that is exactly what WINNER is about.’

Questions arose from the students in Indonesia and the Netherlands about how students and educational institutions can themselves contribute more actively to the SDGs, for example by integrating them into the curriculum. One student pointed out that the sustainability goals fit seamlessly with “Kampus Merdeka”, the Indonesian educational policy that pursues an innovative, demand-driven way of learning.

Technological and social
Dr. Laksana Tri Handoko (Chairman of the Indonesian National Research and Innovation Agency, BRIN) explained that his agency’s explicit mandate is to better use technological capacity to achieve the SDGs, so that research leads more to concrete innovations.

According to Professor Inge Hutter (Rector of the International Institute of Social Studies), innovations can be technical, but also social. ‘Interdisciplinary cooperation is a big challenge. It is therefore important that research priorities are agreed upon in co-creation.’

Professor Nizam (Director-General of Higher Education in the Ministry of Education) agreed, saying that innovation is not only about “hard sciences”. ‘The foundation for sustainable development is education: we need to strengthen education in order to attain the SDG’s.’

Coral reefs and industrial design
Keynote speaker Dr. Lisa Becking, brings this innovation from the bottom up into practice. In her contribution, she talked about the success of international and interdisciplinary collaboration in researching the resilience of coral reefs. ‘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 a inclusive creative economy for human centered development. 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.

‘Innovation comes in many forms’, concluded moderator Dirk-Jan Koch (Chief Science Officer at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs) on the Dutch side. ‘The strength of the cooperation between the Netherlands and Indonesia is that we share the principles of independent research and academic freedom. This is crucial: if necessary, independent researchers can call governments to order when SDGs go off track.’

WINNER 2021: innovation for sustainable development
The WINNER conference continues on October 27 and 28 with an expanded and very diverse program. Interested parties can still register to participate. You can register here