Indonesian and Australian scientists test new TB vaccine targets

Better vaccines are needed for the global fight against tuberculosis (TB). The Global Fund reports an estimated nine million new cases globally per year of TB, which is second only to AIDS as the world’s most deadly infectious disease.

Indonesia had more than 320,000 reported cases in 2014 according to the World Health Organization, while Australia’s reported cases were just over 1,000. But the rise of drug-resistant TB poses a threat to all countries.

Continue reading Indonesian and Australian scientists test new TB vaccine targets

Can sunshine help prevent pneumonia?

The possibility of a link between vitamin D deficiency and pneumonia is being investigated in two studies by Indonesian and Australian scientists in Indonesia.

They’re tracking the incidence and severity in early childhood of respiratory tract infections, including the common cold, asthma, pneumonia, and bronchiolitis, in hospitals and the community, in the hope of providing more information for treatment and management for respiratory diseases.

A post-delivery mother with a midwife, after cord blood has been collected
A mother and her newborn with a midwife, after cord blood has been collected. Credit: Mr Noor Qodri H

Pneumonia is the number one killer of children under five in the country, and around six million young Indonesians suffer from it each year, according to a 2008 study. This collaboration is going to update those 2008 figures, and hopefully lower them – while trying to find the causes of it and other respiratory tract infections. Continue reading Can sunshine help prevent pneumonia?

Power to the islands

Over sixty-five million Indonesians live off the grid. But what does that mean in the era of micro-grids, batteries and efficient solar panels? And how do communities change with 24/7 energy?

Providing reliable electric power is one of the keys to unlocking the potential of the remote islands and landlocked areas of Indonesia and of Australia’s north, a priority for both countries.

But there’s much more to it than installing the right mix of technologies. Bringing night-time activity, television, the internet and smart machines within the reach of people who have never had access to them before involves huge, potentially disruptive changes to their daily lives, their economic and political relationships, their whole culture.

Access to new technologies may have huge impacts on behaviour. Credit: Max Richter
Access to new technologies may have huge impacts on behaviour. Credit: Max Richter

A team of Australian and Indonesian scientists and social scientists is coming to grips with the scope of the problem by studying two sites in Indonesia where a start has already been made on introducing electricity. The seed project is financed by the Australia Indonesia Centre. 

Continue reading Power to the islands

Putting a window and lasers in a ship’s hull

Melbourne and Indonesian scientists work to improve shipping efficiency

Scientists available for interview in Bahasa Indonesia and English. Video overlay and photos of ferry available below.

Read the release in Bahasa Indonesia.

Every shipping manager wages an endless battle against fouling – the bacteria, seaweed, barnacles and other marine life that take residence on the hull of ships. This biofouling is thought to add more than 20 per cent to the fuel costs of commercial shipping. That’s a big cost for the maritime trading nations of Australia and Indonesia.

Using lasers and a window in a ship’s hull, researchers will assess how quickly the efficiency of the ship declines, and then how to balance fuel efficiency and the cost of putting a ship in dry dock to clean it.

Ships travelling between Java and South Samatra had 30 cm holes installed in their hulls for the research. Credit: Nadia Astari
A ship travelling between Java and South Samatra has had 30 centimetre windows installed in its hull for the research. Credit: Nadia Astari

Continue reading Putting a window and lasers in a ship’s hull

Australia-Indonesia Innovation

View the book as a PDF here.

Indonesia and Australia have been collaborating in science and innovation for many years. And we continue to build on these partnerships: developing a better vaccine for rotavirus, the gastro-bug that kills around 200,000 children globally each year; discovering the Hobbit; helping each other in times of crisis such as the Black Saturday bushfires or Bali bombings; and predicting fires, floods and earthquakes that will affect the region.

With the largest economy in Southeast Asia and the world’s fourth-largest population, Indonesia has its sights set on continued economic growth. There are opportunities for Australia both to support and learn from its neighbour— particularly in the shared challenges the countries face with infrastructure and sustainable development.

The following short stories are just a taste of the diverse projects that are engaging Indonesian and Australian scientists in research that’s changing both nations. You can view the PDF of the book (right) or read the stories as individual pieces below.

About the collection

Stories of Australia-Indonesia Innovation is the result of a collaboration between Science in Public and The Australia-Indonesia Centre. The stories were selected after Science in Public put out a public call for ideas.

The list is not meant to be a comprehensive summary of Australia-Indonesia research underway or completed—it is a celebration of the diversity of collaborative projects. Science in Public and the Centre wish to thank the researchers and institutions that have made this publication possible.


Building port cities
Riding the rails to an efficient freight system
Building sustainable, resilient ports and cities: The Australia-Indonesia Centre Infrastructure Cluster

Keeping ahead of a child killer: stopping gastro from birth
Breeding mosquitoes to eliminate dengue
Helping Javanese children hear
New targets for tuberculosis vaccine
The future of Indonesian mental health
Ultra-sensitive dengue detection
Can sunshine help prevent pneumonia?
Detecting high risk pregnancies in Indonesia
Identifying the Bali bombers; testing for bird flu; and better selection of anti-malarial drugs
Fighting the new killers: The Australia-Indonesia Centre Health Cluster
Signs of the dietary environment
Identifying victims in the Black Saturday bush fires
Healthcare for the ‘missing middle’
Health shorts:
The impact of rotavirus
A universal flu vaccine
Boosting vaccine performance
A five-in-one vaccine for all Indonesian children
PT Bio Farma
What’s killing people?

Giving start-ups a fair go
Better shelters for Indonesia’s street vendors
Citizen science recovering volcanic farmlands
Carving out success in wooden exports

Environment and conservation
Using mangroves to fight climate change
Clever spending for orangutans, elephants, and people
Lemons to keep elephants out of trouble
Manta rays munching on micro-plastics
Is the Bali ocean sunfish tourism sustainable?
Lessons in conservation from indigenous practices
Better ways to conserve the Coral Triangle
Leapfrogging towards water sensitive cities: The Australia-Indonesia Centre Urban Water Cluster
What roles do women play in fishing communities?

Putting a figure on the cost of algae to ships
Better, safer lithium batteries
Designing the coolest tropical houses
Affordable, sustainable energy for all: The Australia-Indonesia Energy Cluster
An end to Indonesia’s hospital power blackouts?

Sharing expertise, not pests
International demand for Indonesian coffee
Safer farms for poultry and people
Saving Indonesia’s cocoa

Earth sciences
Predicting where gold and copper lie 
Finding the Hobbit and more
Making artificial tsunamis to prepare for the worst
What happened to Asia’s lost ‘elephants’ ?
Re-evaluating Jakarta’s seismic risk
Predicting fire, flood, and food shortages

Concept: Niall Byrne,
Editor: Lydia Hales,
Writers: Lydia Hales, Niall Byrne, Ellie Michaelides