The Australia-Indonesia Centre

Aus indo logoWe worked with The Australia-Indonesia Centre from October 2015 to January 2018.

Read some highlights from their research stories here.

And read Stories of Australia-Indonesia Innovation here.

Find out more about the Centre on their website.

Fighting the rise of non-communicable diseases starts with children and adolescents

Indonesia and Australia’s rising burden of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) is being tackled with a suite of projects designed to bring attention to risk factors early in life and improve overall health.

The work, which is supported by The Australia-Indonesia Centre, focuses on three areas: tobacco use, mental health and improving communication between healthcare providers and young people.

Funding for nine projects in Indonesia comes from The Australia-Indonesia Centre’s Health Cluster, with the aim of building healthier, more empowered communities for generations to come.

NCDs such as diabetes, cancers, cardiovascular disease and mental disorders are the world’s leading cause of morbidity and mortality in adults. Prevention is a critical part of reducing this burden.

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Improving rail safety in Indonesia and Australia

The sweet spot for rail repair vs efficiency

Computer models to predict how railcars will respond to different track conditions are being developed by Indonesian and Australian researchers, to improve rail safety and efficiency in both countries.

They’ve already created a successful model for passenger carriages, which has been validated against the performance of trains in Indonesia. Now the researchers are working on models for freight trains.

“For railways, it’s standard practice to measure the conditions of the track periodically,” says Dr Nithurshan Nadarajah, a research engineer at the Institute of Railway Technology at Monash University.

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Stunted, obese and unhealthy: can cocoa help rebuild impoverished communities?

In West Sulawesi, 400,000 families depend on cocoa farming. But downturns in price and production are pushing families into poverty, with profound implications for public health.
Fifty per cent of children stunted, 90 per cent of males smoking, and an increasing number of obese women. These were the results from a health and livelihood survey of 140 households in the subdistricts of Anreapi and Mapili.A team of Indonesian and Australian researchers want to address these issues.
The households surveyed are all located in cocoa-producing villages, and they’re under strain with the downturn in Indonesia’s cocoa production. So the team is looking at links between smallholder productivity, health and livelihood, to identify which public health factors have the biggest impact on livelihood in cocoa farming areas.

Cocoa is currently a major livelihood provider for farming families across Indonesia. The supply chain supports more than 400,000 smallholder families, as well as enterprises and services. The crop also provides essential products for international export, including to Australia.

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Renewable ‘alternatives’ cheapest option for Australia, Indonesia

Electricity from photovoltaics and wind are likely the cheapest options for large-scale energy generation in both Australia and Indonesia, according to research from the Australian National University (ANU) and Institut Teknologi Bandung, supported by The Australia-Indonesia Centre.
“Reductions in the cost of photovoltaics and wind, coupled with developments in high-voltage direct current (HVDC) and off-river pumped hydro energy storage, allows photovoltaic and wind to strongly compete with all fossil, nuclear and renewable alternatives,” says Professor Andrew Blakers, who led the project along with Dr Rachmildha Tri Desmana. 
“Indeed, photovoltaic and wind are the cheapest options for new large-scale generation capacity in both Australia and Indonesia.”

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Smarter electrification: providing energy isn’t enough 

Four years ago life in Pulau Bau, a village on a tiny island off North Maluku in Indonesia, was transformed. The community was supplied with electricity via small-scale diesel generators and a state-of-the-art solar energy system with battery backup.

Every house was receiving some electricity—not a lot, but some. But early in 2017 the system broke down, and the cost to repair it (equivalent to AUD$20,000) was beyond the budget of the community.

The Indonesian government is committed to providing energy to all citizens by 2020. It isn’t going to be easy for a 5,150km-long archipelago where more than 65 million people, many in remote communities, currently go without.

An Australia-Indonesia Centre project is working to identify the opportunities and challenges in meeting the real needs of these communities.Technology alone won’t deliver. The solutions will need to be tailored to community aspirations, and be resilient so they keep working when the engineers go home.

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What could giant batteries mean for Indonesian energy?

In response to blackouts and concerns over energy supply, South Australia is getting the world’s largest lithium-ion battery. What exactly does this mean for the future of energy in Australia, and could such an approach work for Indonesia?

“The announcement of the Neoen and Tesla investment in a 100MW/129MWh battery adjacent to the Hornsdale wind-farm in South Australia is ground-breaking, and clearly foreshadows the shape of the Australian energy future,” says Dr Ariel Liebman, Co-Lead of the Australia-Indonesia Centre Energy Cluster and Deputy Director of the Monash Energy Materials and Systems Institute (MEMSI).

“However, we shouldn’t get too complacent because there are still significant challenges in turning this kind of activity into business-as-usual.

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Radar-in-a-suitcase makes bridges safer

Assessing ageing bridges just got safer and easier, thanks to a high-tech radar device that fits inside a suitcase.

Developed by Dr Lihai Zhang of The University of Melbourne as part of a collaborative research project supported by The Australia-Indonesia Centre, the IBIS-S radar technology can scan a bridge in 15 minutes from a kilometre away with an accuracy of 0.01mm, quickly assessing its condition and stability.

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Detecting high risk pregnancies in Indonesia

Women in Indonesia were 21 times more likely to die from childbirth than women in Australia in 2015. Many pregnant women in Indonesia, particularly in remote areas, do not regularly visit health clinics and so complications are not detected and dealt with early enough.

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Breeding mosquitoes; turning Aussie wheat into Indonesian exports; connecting land and sea; the first 1,000 days of life

Aus indo logoToday in Surabaya, the third Indonesia-Australia Research Summit discusses research to change lives, including:

  • What happens when islands and remote communities get electricity? How does 24/7 power change families, businesses, and hierarchies?
  • Families hatching and releasing mosquitoes to fight dengue
  • Joint competitive advantage – working together to build our economies
    • Australian wheat becomes Indonesian noodles for global export
    • Australian cotton and rayon transform into Indonesian fashion exports

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Ports that work; saving children’s lives; water smart cities and more

Aus indo logoToday in Surabaya, the 3rd Indonesia-Australia Research Summit with research to change lives including:

  • Making ports that work with rail, road, and the surrounding communities
  • Could vitamin D reduce child deaths?
  • Designing the coolest and most energy-efficient tropical houses
  • What do children learn about diet and nutrition on the street: from advertising to school posters and street rubbish?
  • How do island and remote communities change with access to 24/7 power?

These are some of the challenges being tackled by researchers from 11 Indonesian and Australian universities meeting today and tomorrow in Surabaya for the 3rd Indonesia-Australia Research Summit.

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