IPB University and Two Indonesian Universities Embark on COVID-19 Variant Collaboration with Universities in England

IPB University, Gadjah Mada University (UGM) and Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB) establishes a joint collaboration with three universities in England through the UK-Indonesia Consortium for Interdisciplinary Sciences (UKICIS). The collaboration was made official through a virtual event held on 25th February 2021. Three universities from England which are involved in the collaboration are Warwick University, Conventry University, and the University of Nottingham.

The Ministry of Research and Technology/National Research and Innovation Agency, Prof Bambang PS Brodjonegoro expresses his support and appreciation of the strong partnership shown by the six universities from both England and Indonesia, as well as the Indonesian diaspora in England who are part of UKICIS. He also mentions his hopes for the international research collaboration to promote research held by Indonesia. This collaboration also acts as a strategy for Indonesia to create new innovations. The UKICIS Scheme which was initiated by the Indonesian diaspora with the three universities in England is highly unique. Prof Bambang also relays his hopes for UKICIS to function well and create significant impacts. Furthermore, Prof Bambang conveys that he has learned a lot from the research developments in England and has received reference from UKRI (United Kingdom Research and Innovation). He mentions that the collaboration can act as inspiration to increase a bilateral partnership in science and innovation.

Prof Bambang continues to explain that regarding COVID-19, England has been acknowledged as the best country for its surveillance. This is proven by the finding of a COVID-19 variant, B117, which was found in England. The existence of this new variant results in a faster rate of infection in England. Inspired by UK’s surveillance system, Indonesia has performed a genome surveillance created in Indonesia which was then able to detect a new variant in Indonesia similar to the one found in England, South Africa, and Brazil. Due to this, Prof Bambang wishes for the collaboration to enable a transfer of technology from England to Indonesia.  

The Rector of IPB University, Prof Arif Satria explains that for IPB University, it is an honor to be involved in the research collaboration between England and Indonesia through UKICIS. This consortium is special due to the role that the Indonesian Diaspora academicians in England play in its establishment. Prof Arif agrees that through the consortium, a global defense against the pandemic could be built.

Prof Arif also conveys his hopes for the partnership to make significant contributions in the implementation of vaccination policies which would require a strong network composed of the government, private sector, academicians, health professionals, and the general public. He expresses that he welcomes the UKICIS forum to provide answers in the identification of challenges causes by the new COVID-19 virus variant towards vaccination efforts, and also to exchange knowledge on methods to increase public awareness on the importance of vaccination and health protocols.

At his welcoming speech during the virtual event, Prof Arif had introduced the IPB University team which would be steering the path of the collaboration which is composed of Prof Dodik Ridho Nurrochmat as the Vice Rector of Internationalization, Collaboration, and Alumni Affairs, Dr Berry Juliandi, the Dean of IPB University’s Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences, and Prof Iskandar Z Siregar, IPB University’s Director of International Program.

Also attending the event to present his speech was England’s Foreign Affairs for Asia, HE Nigel Adams MP, England’s Ambassador for Indonesia and Timor Leste, Owen Jenkins, Indonesia’s Ambassador for England, Ireland and IMO, Desra Percaya, the All UKICIS Representative, Prof Christine Ennew from the University of Warwick, Prof Reini Wirahadikusumah from ITB, Prof Richard Dashwood from Conventry University, Prof Dame Jessica Corner from the University of Nottingham, and Prof Panut Mulyono from UGM.

Indonesia and England are currently vaccinating their citizens with both local and global challenges. Besides that, Indonesian scientists are also working together to develop a vaccine against the local variant. Prof Arif mentions that UKICIS’ involvement in the development of this vaccine is welcome.

Published Date : 26-Feb-2021

Resource Person : Prof Bambang PS Brodjonegoro, Prof Arif Satria

Keyword : MoU, IPB University and UKCIS, Diaspora Indonesia, Covid-19