Monday, July 30, 2012

Indonesia's R&D problems

R&D levels are too low in South East Asia. At present Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand lead the region. Now the Indonesian Academy of Sciences has issued a report complaining about the poor state of R&D in Indonesia. As reported earlier here, patent filings and Japanese data suggests Indonesia punches far below its weight, a fact recognized by Indonesia's Vice President Boediono when he cited Indonesia as the weakest patent filer in the G20. Spending on R&D at USD300 million is only 0.02% of GDP, far below the global norm of 1%.

But worse, 80% of this is public funds so ends up in bureaucratic wrangling, and often doesn't make it to finding actual research. This is hampered by the government's efforts to stop corruption, by making it so hard to secure money (for illicit purposes), that grants are hard to get and research is stifled.

The Academy asks for a National Academy of Sciences to be set up based on the US model, to manage the grants and research process. At present government plans are unrealistic, (2014 spending is aimed to be 1%, then it proposes to overtake US spending in 10 years!) and so the scientific community is deeply frustrated.

The Academy identifies several problems - private industry is still too weak and cautious to fund R&D, the government system is a mess and IP protection is a poor so academics often don't patent anything. 

1 comment:

  1. Indonesia spends 1% of the GDP proportion on R&D that Australia spends, if you compare the LIPI data with CSIRO's, (2.25% v 0.02%)  which is very sad.