Australia and Indonesia co-invest in university research in ground breaking agreement

Image of Makassar city rooftops and mosque.

PAIR Sulawesi


Melbourne | Jakarta 30 May 2024

A program that brings Indonesian and Australian universities together to ensure both governments have the best possible research to tackle regional challenges, including climate change, is being further funded to expand its work.

Following a successful pilot of the Partnership for Australia-Indonesia Research (PAIR) in South Sulawesi, the Australian and Indonesian governments are jointly investing AU$12 million to expand research to more universities across Sulawesi — an island which is home to five of Indonesia’s six fastest-growing provinces.

This innovative agreement marks the first time the governments of both countries have co-invested on an equal basis to deliver research findings.

The funding follows the meaningful results delivered by PAIR over the last four years such as working with provincial and national officials to inform the framing of a roadmap for a more sustainable seaweed industry. PAIR has also provided recommendations on reducing microplastics in coastal environments and creating safe train stations for women and people with a disability.

As Sulawesi’s economy develops with more jobs in manufacturing, tourism and other industries, PAIR will underpin this growth by providing robust evidence and solutions.

Led by the Australia-Indonesia Centre (AIC), PAIR Sulawesi builds on its proven experience in leading research teams across multiple universities and academic fields. This model allows governments and higher education institutions to investigate shared concerns, such as climate change and its effects on coastal communities.

The AIC is headquartered at Monash University in Melbourne, the centre’s lead agency. The Sulawesi program is based at Hasanuddin University, in the city of Makassar, continuing the strong partnership forged from the PAIR South Sulawesi program with eastern Indonesia’s largest university.

The Australian government, through the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and the Indonesian government, through the Indonesia Endowment Fund for Education (LPDP) in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, Culture, Research and Technology, are providing AU$6 million each to fund the PAIR Sulawesi program.

The continued support for the PAIR program aligns research with both government’s national priorities. It engages with the vision of the Australian government’s new International Development Policy and the Southeast Asia Economic Strategy to 2040 and the Indonesian government’s National Long-Term Development Plan (2025-2045) and the National Research Master Plan (2017-2045).

Quotes attributable:

Dr Eugene Sebastian, Executive Director, AIC
“We have been working hard over the past four years to show how universities can work together to investigate issues and develop evidence that helps policymakers who are facing a range of issues around social and economic development. Thanks to the support of the Australian and Indonesian governments the PAIR model will now have a wider impact.”


The Australia-Indonesia Centre is a consortium of leading research universities in both countries. Its mission is to advance people-to-people links in science, technology, education, innovation and culture.

The AIC is the lead agency for the Partnership for Australian Indonesian Research (PAIR) program. More information on research projects can be found here.

Partner universities:
Australia – Melbourne University, Monash University, University of Queensland
Indonesia – Universitas Airlangga, Universitas Gadjah Mada, Universitas Hasanuddin, Universitas Indonesia, Institut Pertanian Bogor, Institut Teknologi Bandung, Institut Teknologi Sepuluh Nopember.

National plans referenced:
Australia’s International Development Policy, August, 2023
Invested: Australia’s Southeast Asia Economic Strategy to 2040
Indonesia National Long-Term Development Plan (2025-2045)
Indonesia National Research Master Plan (2017-2045)

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