IGN Bioscience responds to Nature article

In June 2015 the following article appeared in Nature:

“Don’t distort policy in the name of national pride”


Here is the response that the IGN Bioscience posted on the Nature Website as a comment to the article.

Response by scientists from IGN-Bioscience, a network of ten collaborating Indonesian universities to the article “Don’t distort policy in the name of national pride”

Column: World view from July, 15, 2015

Dear Madam or Sir,

We agree that emerging countries like Indonesia still require improvements in various fields including science policy. However, we disagree with the author who takes two examples to come to a general conclusion on the countries science politics.

The ECVT technology on which the controversial cancer therapy is based, was developed by WarsitoTaruno at Ohio State University. The device is currently used by NASA. No matter how controversial Taruno’s current research may be, he can undoubtedly be regarded as a great scientist. Research on further developments is carried out since 2008 in the private company CTECH Edwar Technology.

The “Pyramid” at Gunung Padang is also controversial and there are good reasons for doubts. It is true though that former president SusiloBambangYudhoyono strongly encouraged researcher Danny Hilman to continue his work at Gunung Padang.

The new Indonesian government is taking the right steps by combining the Directorate General of Higher Education and the Ministry of Research and Technology. It is strengthening science, increasing competitive funding, setting up rigorous research targets, boosting technology innovation in industry. It has financially supported the establishment of nine National Centers of Excellence (PUI) and a significant number of further centers is being developed according to the 2011-2025 Master Plan for the Acceleration and Expansion of Indonesian Economic Development (MP3EI). We believe that this policy is pointing in the right direction and some success can be seen.

We ask the question why, at this time, Nature addresses two projects that could have been questioned several years ago.

On the other hand, we observe that the European Union decides that it does not need a scientific advisor. We notice with surprise that high amounts of money are invested in biological safety research– and that the results are ignored, leading to prohibition of green gene technology in several countries. We wonder why the very high standards in animal research (established by very generous funding from the EU and national governments) almost resulted in a total ban of scientific animal experiments.

This is, in our opinion, science policy which is guided not by national pride, but by ideology rather than by science.

We need better education and better research in Indonesia, we need higher standards in ethics and in safety, we need more competition and more collaboration. We will move in this direction and we will try to spend the available money wisely. We need encouragement and support from more developed countries – not a slap in the face!

Sincerely IGN-Bioscience Office: MIPA, UniversitasBrawijaya, Jl. Veteran, Malang 65145 East Java, Indonesia Widodo, PhD. Med.Sc Biology Dept. Faculty of Math. and Nat. Sci. Brawijaya University, Malang, Indonesia

Dr. YektiAsihPurwestri Faculty of Biology, UniversitasGadjahMada, Yogjakarta, Indonesia

Dr. Trina Tallei Dept. of Biology, Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences Sam Ratulangi University, Manado, Indonesia

Dr. Tatas H.P. Brotosudarmo Ma Chung Research Center for Photosynthetic Pigments, Malang, Indonesia

Dr.rer.nat. Yunus Effendi Faculty of Science and Technology Al Azhar Indonesia University, Jakarta, Indonesia

Dr. Sc. AkhmadSabarudin. Department of Chemistry, and Research Center for Advanced System and Material Technology, Brawijaya University, Malang, Indonesia

Prof. MuhaiminRifa’i, PhD Biology Dept. Faculty of Sciences, Brawijaya University, Malang, Indonesia

Dr. CondroWibowo Faculty of Agriculture, JenderalSoedirman University, Purwokerto, Indonesia

ZulfaidahPenata Gama, PhD. Faculty of Sciences, Brawijaya University, Malang, Indonesia

Kartika Senjarini, (Dr. rer. nat. – Molecular Microbiology) Head of Biology Department, Mathematic & Natural Sciences Faculty University of Jember, Jember, East Java, Indonesia

Prof. Dr. sc. agr. Ir. Jamsari, Plant Breeding Section, Faculty of Agriculture, Andalas University, Padang-West Sumatera, Indonesia