About the Partnership for Australia-Indonesia Research (PAIR)

PAIR is an AIC initiative supported by the Australian Government, the Indonesian Government and 11 leading universities to advance the research linkages between the two countries and improve the impact of that research.


PAIR, operating from 2019 to 2022, focuses on the importance of knowledge production and research capability building to support development, planning and policy-making for both countries.

It demonstrates a research pathway-to-impact model that spans countries and institutions and that can be applied to any problem or location. Through the model, we seek to achieve two end-of- program outcomes (EOPOs):

  1. A better quality of researched evidence that is relevant to and that addresses key policy challenges;
  2. Building a network of researchers that conducts demand- driven, applied and interdisciplinary research.

Our research tackles the challenges of ‘Connectivity, People and Place’. Connectivity is about connecting people and places, physically or non-physically, through transport or other communications.

As Indonesia invests big in building stronger physical linkages, especially in roads, ports, air and rail and between cities, towns, villages and islands, connectivity will have a significant impact and open up new possibilities for local communities. Our research explores how newly connected communities can take advantage of new opportunities.

Three principles


Anchoring research in one location – South Sulawesi – allows us to focus our activities and concentrate limited resources. One location also makes it possible for our researchers to engage meaningfully with real communities, immerse themselves in real settings and work with communities to tackle real challenges.


Complex problems transcend disciplinary boundaries which require scientists and social scientists to work together. Our collaborative research model and university partner network draws together an interdisciplinary team of experts.


We are engaging with stakeholders from villages, cities, provinces and at national level when defining problems and co-creating solutions. By engaging stakeholders from the start and throughout the program, we increase the likelihood of ideas and solutions being embraced and adopted at the end.

Why South Sulawesi?

Eastern Indonesia is a priority region for the Indonesian Government. Sulawesi is of particular importance, with significant government investment to improve its infrastructure and connectivity. Makassar is building a new port, which will position it as a gateway to eastern Indonesia. New industrial economic zones are emerging and an ambitious trans-Sulawesi railway network is under construction.

The Research Program

The Research Program focuses on ‘Community-centric Infrastructure and Empowered Communities’. We are exploring the challenges and opportunities new connectivity presents to local communities and how community-centric infrastructure can support urban-rural sustainability, resilience and productivity.

The PAIR design initially identified a broad set of research groups – transport, energy, water and young people. Through ongoing consultations with government ministries, agencies and at provincial level, we have further refined the research groups, their inter- dependencies and interaction – commodities; transport, logistics & supply chain; young people & development; and young people, health and wellbeing (see diagram in brochure, above).

We are working with policy makers, businesses and communities to define a vision of community-centric infrastructure, and bring together an interdisciplinary team with complementary expertise to explore the connected research groups.

The Research Process

Through our research process we are creating an enabling environment where genuine collaboration can take place and researchers are fully supported to get on with what they do best: find solutions to big challenges – anchored to the local context.

Our interdisciplinary, multi-institutional, demand- driven, team-based approach is fundamental to the way our researchers tackle problems that transcend disciplinary boundaries. Our approach fosters open, collaborative, multi-sectoral, and impactful research.

We support our researchers to deliver research outputs – often of the non-traditionally academic variety – such as scoping studies, technical guidelines, case studies, explainers and infographics to reports and articles, including co-authored international scientific papers.

Our goals: to produce better quality evidence- based research and build an enduring network of researchers and collaborators.

Our research team

The AIC is a platform that connects the next generation of Australian and Indonesian research leaders. To pursue this ambition we are working with and supporting early, mid-career and established researchers in all our programs.

We involve them in our research and networking activities. We support their capability development and work with them as collaborators to identify research priorities, commission research and broker research partnerships.

Critical to the Research Team-based model is the team structure. There are three levels of researchers: Senior Fellows, Fellows and Associate Fellows:

  • Our Senior Fellows are core to the program and will play an active role in the research process and spend time on the ground.
  • Our Fellows have an essential role in linking research groups across the Research Program.
  • Our Associate Fellows support the Senior Fellows in conducting the research and provide administrative support to the projects.

We are building a team that develops strong working and research relationships. We have worked closely with each university partner to identify the Senior Fellows to ensure research complementarity, equality and fairness across the 11 institutions. Our partners have nominated outstanding early-mid career researchers to support them as Associate Fellows. In early 2021, we will work closely with the Senior Fellows and our partners to nominate Fellows.

Program progress

PAIR was launched on 27 August 2019 at the Australian Embassy in Jakarta by Ambassador Gary Quinlan AO. It was launched in Makassar on 18 November 2019 by Governor of South Sulawesi Nurdin Abdullah.

The Senior Fellows joined PAIR for the first time at the Induction Workshop in Melbourne in September 2019.  Planning and scoping for the research began at the  Discovery Workshop in November 2019 in Makassar.

In February 2020, the Associate Fellows were inducted into PAIR and joined the Senior Fellows at the Visioning 1 Workshop.  Here the researchers developed the Pilot Project proposals and participated in the PAIR Policy Dialogue with local, provincial and national policy-makers.

Research commenced in the first half of 2020 with the Pilot Projects on the topics of:

Preliminary Pilot Project findings were announced in September 2020, with final findings expected in November 2020.

In August 2020, the PAIR team came together during two Virtual Workshops to discuss the Pilot Project preliminary findings. The researchers also prepared the proposals for the Strategic Integrated Projects (SIPs), and collaborated on points of integration in the projects.

The Research Advisory Panel (RAP) has been established and met for the first time in August 2020. Made up of influential stakeholders, the RAP will advise and guide the PAIR team to ensure the research is demand-driven.

Rapid Research on COVID-19

The AIC’s Rapid Research scheme brings together researchers from Australia and Indonesia to tackle challenges arising from the COVID-19 pandemic. The outcomes of the Rapid Research will provide the policy community with timely access to the best available evidence and information, and inform the Australia-Indonesia Centre’s interactions and collaboration with policy bodies related to COVID-19.

The research focuses on the following three areas:

  1. COVID-19, people and health – explore issues relating to health and wellbeing; national and provincial public health policy responses (includes data [collection, sharing and dissemination] and modelling, behavioural change and communication strategies); already marginalised and vulnerable communities, especially women, girls and people with disabilities.
  2. COVID-19, people and connectivity – with a focus on the pandemic’s impact on connectivity and supply chains, including issues relating to data, digital technologies, transport, and logistics.
  3. COVID-19, people and economic recovery – exploring issues and responses in areas such as the emergence of the “new poor”, data, digital economy, young people, gender inequality, and already marginalised and vulnerable communities.

The Rapid Research projects commenced in August 2020 and will be completed by the end of 2020.