The Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW) has announced that the first three Indonesian postdoctoral students in its SPIN Postdoc Programme (KNAW) have completed their projects successfully. All three were appointed professor or senior university lecturer at an Indonesian university following their postdoctoral work. Given the aim of the SPIN Postdoc Programme, which is to embed Indonesian postdoctoral students in the Indonesian academic world, these are very positive initial results. Dutch researchers are involved in every project, and close partnerships have evolved between the Indonesian and Dutch universities involved in each one.
Dr Asep Supriatna, who worked as a postdoc for the Faculty of Mathematics at the Institut Teknologi Bandung (ITB), developed mathematical models simulating the spread of dengue among persons of varying ages and in differing areas. He also used the models to analyse the spread of other contagious diseases that are on the rise in Indonesia. The research was supervised by Prof. Edy Soewono (ITB) and Prof. Stephan van Gils of Twente University. Supriatna was recently appointed head of the Mathematics Department at the Mathematics and Science Faculty at Universitas Padjadjaran (Bandung); a second appointment, to the position of Professor of Biomathematics, will soon follow at the same university.
Dr Agung Karuniawan (Universitas Padjadjaran, Bandung) studied traditional and wild species of Vigna Savi in eastern Indonesia. Vigna Savi includes peas, lentils, beans, soybeans, and peanuts. Karuniawan collected seeds from cultivated and wild plants and noted their habitats, distribution and use by local communities. He also analysed the genetic diversity of a number of varieties and deposited them in regional and national seed banks. Prof. Tarkus Suganda heads the Indonesian research group of which Karuniawan was a member when he carried out his study. The Dutch partner was Dr Bert Visser at the Centre for Genetic Resources the Netherlands in Wageningen. The researchers will be able to use the results of the study to breed new crops. Universitas Padjadjaran in Bandung recently appointed Karuniawan professor of Crop Improvement.
Working under the supervision of Prof. May On Tjia, Dr Agustinus Agung Nugroho at the Institut Teknologi Bandung investigated the influence of strain in a metal lattice on the coupling between the magnetic and the electrical properties of the material. The researchers discovered, for example, that ‘contaminating’ the metal with another material strengthened the coupling between the magnetic and electrical order parameters by a factor of almost two. Nugroho worked with Prof. Tom Palstra of the Material Science Centre at Groningen University. He has now been appointed senior lecturer at the Institut Teknologi in Bandung. Part of his task in this position is to intensify collaboration with Groningen.
The Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences set up the SPIN Postdoc Programme in 2005 in order to encourage young, talented Indonesian PhDs to pursue careers in science. The aim is to retain excellent researchers for science and help to strengthen the basis for research in Indonesia. The Academy makes an annual sum of EUR 300,000 available to finance six postdoctoral positions for a two-year period. In the past four years, 24 postdoctoral appointees have been selected within the programme. The fifth and, for the time being, final round will commence this summer. The deadline for submissions is 19 October 2009.
For more information about the SPIN Postdoc Programme, visit the Academy’s website or contact Jeroen Frietman, e-mail email@example.com, phone +31 (0)20 551 0823.
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