Exploring Research in Indonesia, from Architecture to Health
The first major initiative of the United States-Indonesia Partnership Program (USIPP) took place last month, with the participation of three University of Michigan faculty members. USIPP is a binational group of twelve colleges and universities committed to advancing academic collaboration between the United States and Indonesia.
The three faculty members who participated in the workshop were professors Herek Clack, an environmental engineer; April Bigelow, a clinical professor in the School of Nursing; and Meredith Miller, an architect and designer. The workshop provided a platform for the scholars to engage in discussion with Indonesian faculty members and with cross-disciplinary and cross-regional research interest groups. Participating faculty reported that the most valuable aspect of this workshop was the opportunity to meet face to face with experts in different fields.
“More so than any other similar activity that I’ve experienced,” Professor Clack said, “the workshop brought together more of the important components needed to develop a new, collaborative applied research project: diverse people, backgrounds, and ideas; compelling real-world challenges on a regional scale; and the right complement of eagerness to work together on the part of the participants.”
Professor Bigelow, who has led student travel to Thailand and is considering expanding student opportunities to Indonesia, participated in a sub-group on food, water, and health, that continues to meet regularly via Skype. Plans include potential research proposals and funding sources.
Despite the geographical distance of Indonesia and the initial investment of time and energy to learn about the country, the participating faculty agreed that research in Indonesia is promising. Professor Bigelow particularly noted the “warm and welcoming” nature of universities, experts, and community members with which she interacted. “There are several federal grants that support research abroad with community partners, and there are many Indonesian community partners that would love to be involved with research.”
CSEAS looks forward to seeing what projects come out of the United States Indonesian Partnership Project.
The Center for Southeast Asian Studies at the University of Michigan is a U.S. Department of Education-supported National Resource Center. The center is committed to promoting a broader and deeper understanding of Southeast Asia and its peoples, cultures, and histories by providing resources for faculty, students, and the community. For more about the center, visit ii.umich.edu/cseas. ###