Indonesian Forum Seminar: The Role of HDR Students in Public Policy Making

Canberra – The role of Higher Degree Research (HDR) students in public policy making has been discussed by scholars and practitioners in Australia. A seminar organized by Indonesian Forum for a better Indonesia on 31st of July 2012 at University of Canberra focuses on role of research and its publication for public policy making, reveals that researchers have to realise that public policy is the outcome of political process rather than the outcome of academic research. However, scientific research has an important part in public policy making depends on a nation’s culture.

The first speaker on the seminar, Dr. Yogi, a senior researcher at University of Canberra’s National Centre for Social and Economic Modelling (NATSEM), argues that scientific research still have important roles in public policy making in the sense that it provides insights of public policy expectation; and it sets bench mark and allocation as well as influencing people’s perception of the importance of particular policy.

Furthermore, Yogi states that a nation’s culture and political process heavily influencing the role of scientific research in public policy making. In a high “political process involvement” community, research outcome is prominent to form public opinion for creating new policies. This condition exist in many countries, for example of climate change policy. At the beginning, climate change policy is not supported by governments because it is not popular and considered to be the hurdle for economic growth. But when people’s opinión is formed through the publication of independent research in mass media, later on many governments establishing policies on carbón emission.

The second speaker, Adi Budiarso, doctor candidate at University of Canberra and staff of Indonesian Ministry of Finance, acknowledges that research based-public policy creates better problem solving: it base on facts and more strategically. He argues that public policy derives from the outcome of research from researchers will be more satisfying to many parties. Hence, as the result of scientific research, the policy will not be easy to be challenged. Furthermore, Adi states that research based – public policy will be more transparent so that the policy making process will be more understandable for the community affected.

In addition, Adi is challenging HDR student’s contribution for public policy improvement in Indonesia through the research topics and participation in creating “research based policy making culture”, monitoring or evaluation.

Meanwhile, Indonesian Forum Chairperson, Ratih Maria Dhewi, recognize the role of scientific research in public policy making in countries such as the UK, Australia and Singapore. According to Ratih, PhD student in Human Resource Management at the University of Canberra, this forum shares how research and publication drives public debate based on facts and method quality; forms public opinion; and influencing the policy making process for better policies and regulations.

Indonesian Forum is a monthly seminar held in Canberra supported by University of Canberra, Indonesian Embassy in Canberra and several Indonesian student organizations.

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