INDONESIA: $29 million nanotech initiative

Indonesia will spend US$29 million to foster communication between industry and universities in order to encourage the use of nanotechnology and improve the nation's industrial competitiveness.

The initiative was announced by the Ministry of National Education which will provide $26.5 million with the remaining funding ($1.59 million) coming from the Ministry of Industry.

The fund will be used to support 60 nanotech research projects in universities and research centres, focusing on applications for industry including ceramics, textiles, food, environment, energy, and information technology and communications. The research projects will be identified by the Indonesian Nanotechnology Society, Masyarakat Nanoteknologi Indonesia or MNI, which is staffed by industry representatives and academics.

Zulkarnain Jalil of the graduate school of materials science at the University of Indonesia said the Ministry of Research, Science and Technology was planning an integrated and coordinated national effort from government, academia, industry and public.

As well as the nanotech fund, several strategic initiatives were needed, including strengthening policy-making institutions and formulating nanotech policy guidelines, establishing research and educational institutions and infrastructure and formulating scientific human resource development plans, he said.

The MNI promotes nanotechnology in Indonesia and organises awards to honour researchers, technologists and policy-makers who have developed, published, and facilitated nanotechnology. It also coordinates a number of research and educational projects including one for early education in nanoscience for young students.