The Indonesian Academy of Sciences

Founded in 1990

The Indonesian Academy of Sciences was founded on 13 October 1990. The origins of the Academy, however, go back much further and are closely related to the history of Indonesia. After years of domination by the Dutch East India Company, when the Company became bankrupt in 1800 the Netherlands established the Dutch East Indies under Dutch control. During World War II the Japanese invaded and took control from 1942 to 1945. Following the defeat of Japan in August 1945, Indonesia declared independence but the Dutch tried to reassert control. An armed struggle followed while the Dutch were under international pressure to recognise Indonesian independence. During the period of the Indonesian War of Independence from 1945 to December 1949, the 'Organisatie voor Natuurwetenschappelijke Onderzoek' was founded, based in Koningsplein Zuid (now Jalan Merdeka Selatan), one of the main streets in the centre of Jakata. Formed on 1 May 1948, this organisation was an Indonesian-Dutch collaboration. It worked in many ways like an Academy [2]:-
... establishing links with state and private institutions in Indonesia and the Netherlands, attracting members from both countries to work in Indonesia, delegating Indonesian scientists to international congresses, conducting study tours, establishing contacts with scientists and institutions for future cooperation, and publishing news bulletins.
On 17 August 1950 the Republic of Indonesia was proclaimed, being officially recognised by the Dutch and all other nations. A new constitution was set up for the country, markedly different to that proposed in 1945 when they first declared independence. At this time the 'Organisatie voor Natuurwetenschappelijke Onderzoek' was renamed the 'Organization for Scientific Research' (OSR). This renamed organisation published a newsletter in English in 1950 in which it drew up plans for establishing the Indonesian Academy of Sciences. Andrew Goss writes [1]:-
The Indonesians had inherited the OSR from the Dutch, which in 1951 received an Indonesian name (Organisasi Penyelidikan Ilmu Pengetahuan Alam).This organization kept the building on the Koningsplein Zuid, now renamed Jalan Merdeka Selatan, and in November of 1951 it organized a small workshop in Bogor. After 1950 all scientific and higher-education institutes were to comply with the government's nationalization regulation, which decreed that institutions must be in compliance with Indonesian national tendencies. In 1951 the minister of education and culture established a committee charged with investigating the founding of an Indonesian council of sciences. Sarwono Prawirohardjo, a prominent obstetrician, headed the committee. By the middle of 1954, the committee had a basic outline of the future council. First, it would be a central organization dedicated to the advancement of Indonesian science, especially research, in the name of national development. The council leadership would coordinate, in theory, all national scientific matters by promoting public understanding of science, providing research grants and fellowships, publishing scientific journals, ensuring cooperation be tween institutions, coordinating research activities, conducting surveys on the status of Indonesian science, and maintaining international relations. Second, the council would advise the government on problems, projects, and activities related to science. Third, legally the council would be autonomous and would be officially recognized as such through a law signed by the president of Indonesia. Thus the council was to be run by scientists and would not be influenced by either bureaucrats or politicians. Fourth, the OSR would be disbanded (since the early 1950s it had existed in name and building only), but its infrastructure would serve as a building block for the council. By early 1955 the council was effectively in operation, although it would not be until April 1956 that Sukarno signed the Madjelis Ilmu Pengetahuan Indonesia (Indonesian Council for Science, MIPI) into law.
It was proposed that the Indonesian Council for Science should transform itself into the Indonesian Academy of Sciences as described in [2]:-
[The MIPI] had a coordinating function to promote and lead the development of science and culture; provide science-based input to the government on national development, coordinate research and collaborate with various government and private institutions, publish books and scientific journals, assist library management, provide funding support for research, and improve bilateral and multilateral relationships with various international science institutions. The MIPI planned to develop into the Indonesian Academy of Sciences.
A draft proposal was agreed with the Indonesian Ministry of Justice in 1956 to create the Indonesian Academy of Sciences but it did not progress further as nothing was put before the Indonesian government. Major political changes took place in Indonesia. President Sukarno had a difficult position keeping control and survived a coup attempt on 30 September 1965. In 1966 the Provisional People's Consultative Assembly annulled the law establishing the Madjelis Ilmu Pengetahuan Indonesia (Indonesian Council for Science, MIPI). It was to be replaced by the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI), which was established on 23 August 1967. The Indonesian Institute of Sciences had the same role as the MIPI with the additional task of establishing the Indonesian Academy of Sciences. This had taken place in the middle of major political changes. The Provisional People's Consultative Assembly transferred power to General Suharto, although President Sukarno continued to hold what was basically a figure-head role. In March 1967 Suharto was made acting president and, in March 1968, was formally installed as President. Former President Sukarno was put under house arrest.

Although the Indonesian Institute of Sciences put forward proposals to establish the Indonesian Academy of Sciences in 1969, again there was no government follow-up and no further action was taken until 1983 when a new committee was set up to draw up statutes for an Indonesian Academy of Sciences. This took longer than many hoped but, on 13 October 1990, the Academy formally came into being. Its statutes state:
The Academy of Sciences of Indonesia, established under the Law of the Republic of Indonesia (No.8 / 1990), as an independent institution: (i) to provide opinions, suggestions and considerations on matters relating to science and technology to the Government and to society. (ii) to encourage the development of science and its excellence through scientific conferences and policy discussion forums, publications, and national and international relations.
The founding members of the new Academy were Bacharuddin Jusuf Habibie, Samaun Samadikun and Fuad Hassan. We give brief details of these three men:

Bacharuddin Jusuf Habibie was an engineer who was the third President of the Republic of Indonesia in 1998 but at the time the Academy was founded he was Secretary of State for Research and Technology.

Samaun Samadikun was an engineer and educator who, at the time the Academy was founded, was chairman of the Indonesian Institute of Sciences.

Fuad Hassan was professor of psychology at the University of Indonesia who, at the time the Academy was founded, was Minister of Education and Culture of Indonesia.

These three chose the first leading Indonesian scientists to be members of the Academy.

The Academy's present structure has five Commissions: the Commission for Basic Sciences; the Commission for Medical Sciences; the Commission for Engineering Sciences; the Commission for Social Sciences; and the Cultural Commission. Mathematicians and astronomers would be members of the Commission for Basic Sciences. At present there is one astronomer, Bambang Hidayat, and one mathematician, Hendra Gunawan, among the 15 members of that Commission.

Bambang Hidayat.

Bambang Hidayat was elected to the Indonesian Academy of Sciences in 1991. Let us quote from the description of Bambang Hidayat given in [4]:-
Bambang Hidayat was born on September 18, 1934 in Kudus, Central Java, Indonesia. He obtained his PhD from Case Institute of Technology in Cleveland, Ohio in 1965 in the field of Astrophysics, where he worked with Professors McCuskey and Blanco. Professor Hidayat became a Full Professor in 1976, Associate Professor in 1974 and Assistant Professor in 1968. In 1968, he was appointed Director of the Bosscha Observatory, a post he held for over 15 years. Dr Hidayat has more than 40 scientific papers to his credit as well as a number of Astronomy textbooks. He was the Chairman of the Indonesian-Dutch Astronomy Programme in 1982, Chairman of the Indonesian-Japan Astronomy Programme from 1980 until 1994 and the Vice-President of the International Astronomical Union from 1994-2000. He was the President of the Indonesian Academy of Sciences (2004-2008).
We note that he is also a member of the International Astronomical Union; the American Astronomical Society; the Royal Astronomical Society; the Indonesian Astronomical Society (he was the founder in 1978); and the Indonesian Physics Society (he was a co-founder).

Hendra Gunawan.

Let us quote Hendra Gunawan's own description of his career to date [3]:-
I [Hendra Gunawan] obtained my first degree from Department of Mathematics, Bandung Institute of Technology. My supervisor then was the late Professor Moedomo. My PhD degree was earned from School of Mathematics, the University of New South Wales in 1992. My thesis was on Maximal Functions and Harmonic Analysis and my supervisor was Professor Michael G Cowling. I am currently a professor of mathematics at Bandung Institute of Technology. I belong to the Analysis and Geometry Group at Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences. My areas of interest are Fourier analysis, functional analysis, and their applications. To know my research results in these areas, see my publications and my citations in Google Scholar. In 2009, I received an Australian Alumni Award for Excellence in Education, presented by Australia Education International in Jakarta. In 2015, I was elected as a member of the Indonesian Academy of Science (AIPI). In 2016, I received a Habibie Award for Basic Sciences.
Let us end this description of the Indonesian Academy of Sciences by giving some of its stated aims for development in the future:

(i) Strengthen the Indonesian Academy of Sciences' ability and expand its role in providing science-based policy advice.

(ii) Strengthen the face of the Indonesian Academy of Sciences to the wider community.

(iii) Extend the foundation of the Indonesian Academy of Sciences' strength by engaging young Indonesian scientists through the Indonesian Young Science Academy.

(iv) Take part in the Indonesian Science Agenda which seeks to answer fundamental scientific questions of strategic importance to major challenges faced by Indonesia today and find solutions which will make a significant impact in meeting these challenges.

(v) Enhance the scientific excellence of Indonesia through the Indonesian Science Fund.

(vi) Extend the Indonesian Academy of Sciences' outreach through publications focusing on e-publications.

(vii) Strengthening the Indonesian Academy of Sciences' ability to manage (a) APBN funds and (b) non-APBN funds. We note that the APBN (in Indonesian: 'Anggaran Pendapatan dan Belanja Negara') is the state budget drawn up by the Indonesian government each year that outlines revenue and spending targets for a financial year.

Visit the society website.

References (show)

  1. A Goss, The Floracrats: State-Sponsored Science and the Failure of the Enlightenment in Indonesia (University of Wisconsin Press, 2011).
  2. Akademi Ilmu Pengetahuan Indonesia website.
  3. Hendra Gunawan, Institut Teknologi Bandung.
  4. Professor Bambang Hidayat, Islamic World Academy of Sciences.

Last Updated September 2018