A review of the AIC’s collaborative research model
The AIC’s new collaborative research model that supports its Australian government-funded Partnership for Australia-Indonesia Research (PAIR) program, is built on learnings from the Centre’s first five years of operations.
To better understand how researchers collaborate, the Centre commissioned Dr Martijn van der Kamp of Monash University’s Business School to review the first five years of its research process. This involved interviewing 24 research leaders and coordinators from across the AIC’s five clusters, or domains – energy, food, health, infrastructure and water.
“Participants spoke enthusiastically about their work with the AIC and were proud of their achievements together,” said Dr van der Kamp.
“There are many ways to strengthen the collaboration model. It is important, for instance, to establish a level playing field between researchers from both countries. This involves, in particular, having the time and resources. We found Australian researchers have more support staff and research students available to them. It is not the same in Indonesia. As a result, Indonesian researchers found it difficult to contribute equally to the projects they work on.”
“Another thing is ensuring that all researchers are equally involved in shaping proposals. Having a facilitated process that allows researchers to represent ideas is important to owning a project and achieving team commitment to its outcomes. One example of how the Centre can facilitate a shared model is by ensuring team members are on the same page about who is on the team, what the team will do, why and how they will go about it. Creating a shared process in developing a research proposal is one way to establish a shared model,” Dr van der Kamp points out.
“The Centre is about growing the people-to-people links in science which adds another exciting dimension to the bilateral relations,” said Dr Eugene Sebastian, Executive Director of The Australia-Indonesia Centre.
“We’ve learnt many lessons from our network of 430 researchers from 11 universities and diverse disciplines. We’ve learnt what’s worked in the bilateral collaboration and how researchers collaborate. The incentives and disincentives to collaboration. The importance of culture, especially when more than sixty per cent of our researchers have never worked with each other before. We have also learnt how important it is to engage government, business and communities from the start if you want ideas and solutions adopted at the end,” said Dr Sebastian.
Together these recommendations are already at work, aiding a more integrative research network that is on the way to producing high-quality outcomes in less time than was previously required for setting up through to publication of results, and then translation into impact.