PAIR researchers first consultation meeting with advisory panel
After the first Research Advisory Panel (RAP) meeting in August, PAIR held a second successful meeting on 4 November. This involved not only RAP members from government, industry and community, but also, and for the first time, the Senior Fellows, who are leading on PAIR’s research.
The meeting was held virtually over zoom and led by the RAP Chair and Ministry of Maritime Affair and Fisheries senior advisor Professor Jamaluddin Jompa. In addition to providing updates on the PAIR program activities undertaken so far, this was an opportunity for PAIR researchers to present their preliminary findings and research plans for the years to come and get feedback and advice on their project proposals directly from RAP members. The RAP consists of leaders who have a wealth of experience in their respective fields, that are closely related to the PAIR’s research areas of focus.
PAIR program director Dr Eugene Sebastian explained that the research team have been working hard to understand the context and development challenges of the province by constantly engaging with stakeholders as part of their Pilot Project activities.
“The Pilot Projects are preliminary mapping and analysis work to inform the design of the Strategic Integrated Projects that will guide our work over the next 18 months.”, said PAIR Program Director, Dr Eugene Sebastian.
Although the PAIR research covers four major themes – Commodities, Transport, Logistics and Supply Cain, Young People, Health and Wellbeing, and Young People and Development – the researchers have been working across these themes to ensure that the four projects are integrated.
The Research Team has almost completed the design of their Strategic Integrated Projects, whose drafts will be reviewed by the RAP members by the end of the year. The RAP members’ insights are important to ensure that PAIR’s work is demand-driven, aligned to South Sulawesi’s needs and also focuses on vulnerable communities, including women and girls, and people with disabilities.
PAIR has worked to ensure issues of gender equality and social inclusion are included in the program and research from the start, and the contributions of RAP members strengthen this effort. “We need to focus on gender for the disability community and mental health issues”, said Erna Witoelar, the former UN Special Ambassador for Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in the Asia Pacific.
PAIR’s Gender Equality and Social Inclusion (GESI) principles inform the whole program and its research activities, and cross-cut the research areas of focus.
At the meeting it was emphasised that COVID-19 has not prevented researchers from undertaking research activities as they have collected data remotely during their Pilot Projects. PAIR researchers will continue to be innovative in their research approach and methodology so that travel restrictions that are likely to continue in 2021 won’t hold back their progress.
End of year agenda
Besides its research projects, during the last year PAIR has carried out other important activities. Dr Hasnawati Saleh, PAIR Research Coordinator walked the meeting participants through the series of meetings held by researchers and national and provincial stakeholders before and during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The long distances, the different time zones between the two countries and this year’s travel restrictions have not prevented PAIR from communicating and consulting with its stakeholders.
In addition to focusing on research and producing high-quality outputs, PAIR is also contributing to the development of its researchers’ capability, especially its early career researchers (Associate Fellows), through the Talent Accelerator Program (TAP).
Co-ordinated by Dr Martijn Van Der Kamp, the TAP has delivered two workshops with The Conversation Indonesia to improve researchers’ skills in written communication so that they can better engage large audiences in plain language. As a result, several high quality articles will be shortly published by the Associate Fellows in online medium, The Conversation Indonesia.
The PAIR Program Director, Dr Eugene Sebastian, also explained the important activities that will be held up until early December 2020. The research team will meet in a series of workshops in mid-November, and this will be their third and fourth virtual workshops this year.
Another important event is the PAIR Annual Summit which will be held for 4 days at the end of November and early December 2020. Due to COVID-19, it will be held digitally. This will be an opportunity for RAP members to provide insights on policy issues relevant to PAIR and for PAIR Senior Fellows to showcase their project findings so far and future plans.
More information about this Summit will be announced shortly.
The meeting concluded with closing remarks made by the Australian Consul General in Makassar, Bronwyn Robbins, who praised PAIR’s ability to adapt quickly to COVID-19 priorities and expressed her hopes for this program.
“We hope PAIR research will provide advice on skills, livelihoods, education, opportunities for the needs of the South Sulawesi people,” said Bronwyn Robbins closing the meeting.
As the research continues, the support from the RAP members – as influential figures from Australian and Indonesian governments, industry, research and the community – will ensure high quality research outputs that are able to influence and meet the interests and the needs of policy-makers.