By April 2012, a high-tech research center is expected to open at the country’s premier educational institution to independently develop nanotechnology.
The Rp 10 billion ($1.1 million) Mochtar Riady Quantum Plaza nanotechnology research center (MRPQ UI) at the University of Indonesia’s school of engineering in Depok will conduct research focused initially on single-electron devices.
At the groundbreaking ceremony on Monday, Mochtar, the Lippo Group founder and chairman, said global developments meant all countries needed to be competitive, especially in technology. He said a number of nations had already established nanotechnology research centers to fuel their growing industrial bases.
“The current hotbeds of technological development are the US, China and Japan. I strongly feel that Indonesia is not far behind,” he said. “Indonesians need to play a role in this new world. Without human resources, Indonesia cannot be competitive on the global stage. That is why education is important.”
Mochtar also expressed his confidence in the quality of education at UI, and said that developing education was not the responsibility of the government alone. “The public as well as private enterprises have a role to play in increasing the quality of education,” he said.
UI rector Gumilar R. Sumantri said at the ceremony that more involvement was required from parties such as corporations to further develop education in the country. He said cooperation in the field of education had to be aided by financial management and the improvement of human resources.
“Contributions from the private sector really need to be based on trust with no strings attached,” he said. “This [center] is proof of industry helping UI and for that we thank Mochtar. We hope the involvement of the Lippo Group brings great benefits to advance research in this field.”
Education and Culture Minister Mohammad Nuh noted that engineering students made up only 11 percent of all university students in Indonesia. This, he said, is not a large enough base to kick-start the drive to further develop the nation.
“To address this problem, we have rolled out an extensive and intensive program to increase the development of education,” he said. “One of the ways we are doing this is by building more universities. So far this year, we have established five to seven new state-run institutions of higher learning.
Nuh added that the drive to provide more universities had to be accompanied by the need to create learning conditions that kept up with the times.
“More important, however, is to instill the belief in students that Indonesia is a great country,” he said. “We have one of the largest populations in the world. Our responsibility is to shape a wise and healthy population.”
Nuh said the costs of this effort should not be the responsibility of the government alone.
“Today, UI is happy to receive the trust of Mochtar Riady,” he said. “If there were 10 people like him, our education system would be in a much better state. We hope Mochtar will in the future help develop other facilities.”
Mochtar said he felt that as an Indonesian citizen, it was his responsibility to help develop education in the country.
“Education is a foundation for nation-building. So those with the means should support educational programs, and because of that, today I announce the development of the MRPQ UI,” he said. “I have long wished to contribute to the field of education, including through setting up schools throughout the country. Now the Pelita Harapan Lantern school program includes around 30 schools across the nation.”
Mochtar also joked that he wanted the new research center named after himself to guarantee that it would continue its work into the future.
“I fear that my grandkids would think that their grandfather wasted millions of dollars on a nonprofit project,” he said. “Because the center carries my name, they wouldn’t dare shut it down.”
Nanotechnology is the study of manipulating materials at the atomic and molecular scale. The technology is used to develop materials, devices and other structures possessing at least one dimension of from 1 to 100 nanometers (a millionth of a millimeter).
The field includes applications in surface science, organic chemistry, molecular biology, semiconductors and microfabrication.
The Jakarta Globe is affiliated with the Lippo Group.
Fonte: The Jakarta Globe