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Van der Chijs in Indonesia

The power of Indonesia

Visiting Indonesia at a turning point in history, is truly special. The new Indonesian cabinet, installed during our visit, wants to make important changes. The fact that UT alumna Siti Nurbaya Bakar (ITC) will be part of this process, is historic as well. Environment and Forestry, of which she will be the Minister, were major issues during our visits to Bandung and Jakarta.

This started with a visit to the Institut Teknologi Bandung (ITB), one of the major technical universities in Indonesia. One of the double degree programmes UT and ITB offer, is Sustainable Energy Technology. Our partners showed a lot of enthusiasm about projects concerning solar energy, for example. There’s enough reason for expanding these contacts in the near future.

The same holds for Padjajaran University (UNPAD), which clearly is a university with a mission. We discussed further collaboration with our BMS faculty there. UNPAD is keen on sending more students to the UT campus for exchange programmes. A third partner we met is Telkom University, with which UT behavioural scientists already cooperate. This is a high tech university working on its human touch: a transformation in which UT will play a role.

Already during our visit to Kenia, I was impressed by the impact of the work of our ITC faculty. In Indonesia, I once again noticed the scale of ITC’s network. One of the best examples we visited is the GEOCAP project on sustainable, geothermal energy. ITC is a key player in this. I surely will not forget our visit to the Tangkuban Perahu volcano with its geothermal plant. Traveling there was an experience in itself, passing narrow roads with thousands of mopeds.

In Jakarta, I was amazed by the enormous efforts needed to protect the city against water. The Deltares engineers from The Netherlands play a major role in this, UT water management experts already have a project going on. Finding solutions for these problems, clearly requires more than technical solutions. I see several opportunities for our IGS institute, for example.

During a visit to the Embassy of The Netherlands in Indonesia, I was invited to address UT alumni and representatives of Dutch companies in Indonesia, explaining to them our entrepreneurial approach of research and education. During subsequent visits to the Ministries of ICT and ‘Research and Technology’ we signed a Memorandum of Understanding concerning a new scholarship programme.

What has become clear, is that major changes happen in Indonesia right now. In challenging areas like sustainable energy and ‘smart cities’, UT involvement can help these changes being successful, I expect.

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