The Australia-Indonesia Centre
We 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
Today 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
Today 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.
World TB Day on March 24 reminds us of the growing TB threat
Scientists available for interview in English and Bahasa Indonesia for World TB Day. Read the release in Bahasa Indonesia.
More images below.
Better vaccines are needed for the global fight against tuberculosis (TB). The Global Fund reports an estimated nine million new cases globally per year of TB, which is second only to AIDS as the world’s most deadly infectious disease. Indonesia had more than 320,000 reported cases in 2014 according to the World Health Organization, while Australia’s reported cases were just over 1,000. But the rise of drug-resistant TB poses a threat to all countries.
Two proteins from the tuberculosis bacterium have shown promising results in investigations in mice for a new vaccine. Scientists from the Centenary Institute and the University of Sydney, with colleagues at Universitas Gadjah Mada (UGM) in Yogyakarta, have found that the injected proteins can prime the immune system to induce protection against TB in mice.
The team has established a laboratory and immunological techniques to test if the two proteins from the tuberculosis bacterium can be used as the basis for a vaccine. Credit: Centenary Institute
Scientists available for interview in Bahasa Indonesia and English.
Background information here.
Photos here. Read the release in Bahasa Indonesia.
The possibility of a link between vitamin D deficiency and pneumonia is being investigated in two studies by Indonesian and Australian scientists in Indonesia.
They’re tracking the incidence and severity in early childhood of respiratory tract infections, including the common cold, asthma, pneumonia, and bronchiolitis, in hospitals and the community, in the hope of providing more information for treatment and management for respiratory diseases.
Researchers are investigating a possible link between pneumonia and a lack of vitamin D.
Pneumonia is the number one killer of children under five in the country, and around six million young Indonesians suffer from it each year, according to a 2008 study. This collaboration is going to update those 2008 figures, and hopefully lower them – while trying to find the causes of it and other respiratory tract infections. [continue reading…]
Read in Bahasa Indonesia.
In 2008, a study funded by the World Health Organisation, UNICEF and the Gates Foundation estimated that Indonesia was among the top six countries in the world for the number of new cases of pneumonia in children under five, says University of Melbourne PhD student and physician, Dr Vicka Oktaria of Gadjah Mada University.
She is coordinating collaborative research with scientists from Australia and Indonesia, to see if there’s a link between vitamin D deficiency and pneumonia in Indonesian children.
“But that estimate was based on an epidemiological model and most of the data is now 10 years old.”
Scientists available for interview in Bahasa Indonesia and English. More images below. Read the release in Bahasa Indonesia.
Fish form a large part of the diet for many living on small islands. Credit: Australia Indonesia Centre
Local fishermen in Indonesia are catching less fish. Whatever the reason, it is a significant problem for those who live on small islands in particular, as fish make up about 90 per cent of the protein they eat.
A team of Indonesian and Australian social scientists is looking at how communities adapt to these changes.
Scientists available for interview in Bahasa Indonesia and English. Read the release in Bahasa Indonesia.
From 2016 a specially-equipped standard railcar will be rocking and rolling along the tracks of East Java. It will have carefully positioned sensors to detect its movement during normal operation, including its displacement and vibration.
Improving the rail systems may have far-reaching benefits. Credit: Institute of Railway Technology (IRT)
Scientists available for interview in Bahasa Indonesia and English. More images below.
View the release in Bahasa Indonesia here. Or read about the other collaborative research projects announced with the opening of the Indonesian Clean Energy Centre of Excellence in Bali on Thursday 11 Feb.
Over sixty-five million Indonesians live off the grid. But what does that mean in the era of micro-grids, batteries and efficient solar panels? And how do communities change with 24/7 energy?
Providing reliable electric power is one of the keys to unlocking the potential of the remote islands and landlocked areas of Indonesia and of Australia’s north, a priority for both countries.
How do communities change with 24/7 energy? Indonesian and Australian scientists have study sites, including villages in the Kai Islands, to find out. Credit: Max Richter
Indonesia and Australia to research delivering power to remote communities and to grow cities
View the release in Bahasa Indonesia here.
Announcing a portfolio of research projects:
- To bring sustainable energy to remote communities.
- To increase the reliability of Indonesia’s urban power.
- To guide Indonesia as it boosts its electricity generating capacity by 70 per cent.
- To help Australia decarbonise/move away from coal.
- Trials in Borneo and Kai Besar (off West Papua).
Researchers available for interview in Bahasa Indonesia and English. More images below.
Today the Indonesian Minister for Energy and Mineral Resources, Sudirman Said, will open the Indonesian Clean Energy Centre of Excellence in Bali, with Australia to be an important partner in the Centre’s new activities.
Local and national projects assessing clean energy options are underway by Indonesian and Australian scientists. Credit: Max Richter
Melbourne and Indonesian scientists work to improve shipping efficiency
Scientists available for interview in Bahasa Indonesia and English. Video overlay and photos of ferry available below.
Read the release in Bahasa Indonesia.
Every shipping manager wages an endless battle against fouling – the bacteria, seaweed, barnacles and other marine life that take residence on the hull of ships. This biofouling is thought to add more than 20 per cent to the fuel costs of commercial shipping. That’s a big cost for the maritime trading nations of Australia and Indonesia.
Using lasers and a window in a ship’s hull, researchers will assess how quickly the efficiency of the ship declines, and then how to balance fuel efficiency and the cost of putting a ship in dry dock to clean it.
A ship travelling between Java and South Samatra has had 30 centimetre windows installed in its hull for the research. Credit: Nadia Astari