Photo: Group photo of the SHERA Selection Committee

Context

Indonesia’s contributions to international scientific research are growing but remain small relative to its population. The archipelago has the world’s fourth largest population, but placed 52nd for articles published in Scopus-indexed journals in 2014. Indonesian higher education institutions lack the qualified faculty and researchers needed to help students, especially females, gain the knowledge and skills necessary to become the next generation of scientific leaders with the capacity to solve the country’s developmental challenges.

The Government of Indonesia (GOI) is committed to strengthening the capacity of its higher education institutions to produce world-class scientific research and increasing the number of Indonesian universities ranked among the world’s top 500 from two to five by 2020. In 2015, the GOI created a new Ministry of Higher Education, Technology and Research (Kemristekdikti), which has already taken steps to improve research quality by instituting performance-based budgets that reward international journal publications, bolstering research funding, and supporting doctoral scholarships. Nevertheless, Indonesia faces significant challenges in achieving its ambitious research goals.

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Program

To assist the GOI in this endeavor, IIE is implementing the USAID-funded USAID Sustainable Higher Education Research Alliances (USAID SHERA), a five-year, university partnership program funded by USAID and implemented by IIE in collaboration with Kemristekdikti, to create Centers for Collaborative Research (CCRs) to increase the research capacity of Indonesia higher education sector and improve the enabling environment for quality research within Indonesian higher education institutions (HEIs).Through grants implemented under this award, as well as activities aimed at increasing the research and partnership capacity of Indonesian HEIs, USAID SHERA contributes towards USAID/Indonesia’s Country Development Cooperation Strategy 2014-2018, which focuses on advancing Indonesia’s development, both nationally and globally, with a particular focus on increasing collaborative achievement in science, technology and innovation (ST&I).


Approach

SHERA is based on the following pillars:

Local Ownership

Each CCR includes at least one U.S. partner university and three Indonesian affiliate HEIs—thereby increasing the number of local universities benefiting from this program and improving research quality across the higher education sector.

Moreover, each CCR engages the private sector to promote innovative solutions to global challenges affecting Indonesia while fostering learning and knowledge sharing around university research partnerships.

Collaboration and Engagement

By promoting cooperation between Indonesian and U.S. universities, as well as within and among Indonesian institutions, the CCRS are models for collaborative research.

Oversight and Learning

SHERA is based on a model of robust grants oversight and continuous monitoring, evaluation, and learning (ME&L) over the life of the program.


Goals and Objectives

Program Goals

  • Increase the capacity of faculty, staff, Ph.D. students, and post-doctoral researchers at targeted HEIs in Indonesia to develop world class research skills.
  • Strengthen the institutional environment that enables and encourages university research in Indonesia.

Program Objectives

  • Enhance research capacity of Indonesian HEIs in ST&I.
  • Support the development of CCRs at Indonesia HEIs to:
  • Bring together Indonesian and U.S. researchers to conduct worldclass research, and enhance the general understanding of international research partnerships;
  • Focus on critical research issues for Indonesia’s development in line with Kemenristekdikti’s Master Plan;
  • Enhance the skills and expertise of Indonesia’s top researchers, and share these resources within their institutions as well as across Indonesian HEIs in diverse regions of the country; and
  • Expand the institutional environment for research, and increase access to research and professional development opportunities for women.

Research Focus Areas

  • Food Security and Self Sufficiency
  • Environment, Energy and Maritime Sciences
  • Public Health and Infection Disease
  • Urban Development and Planning
  • Innovative Technologies