PAIR: An overview

The Partnership for Australia-Indonesia Research (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 domains – transport, energy, water and young people. Through ongoing consultations with government ministries, agencies and at provincial level, we have further refined the domains, 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 domains and sub-domains.

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 domains across the Research Program.
  • Our Associate Fellows support the Senior Fellow and 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.

PAIR was launched in Jakarta on 27 August 2019 and in Makassar on 18 November 2019. The Senior Fellows Induction Workshop was held in Melbourne in September 2019 and the Discovery Workshop was held 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. Research will commence in the first half of 2020.