Ministerial Delegation from the Government of Indonesia Visits the SDS Lab at Northeastern
A high-level delegation from BAPPENAS, the Indonesian Ministry for National Development Planning, visited the Sustainability and Data Sciences Laboratory (SDS Lab) at Northeastern University on May 1, 2023 to discuss long-term collaborations. The ministerial delegation from Indonesia included the Chief Secretary Dr. Taufik Hanafi, the Director of Data and Information Dr. Agung Indrajit, Special Adviser Dr. Kemal Taruc, as well as Ms. Ndarumukti Lestari. The SDS Lab participants included current PhD students Dian Indrawati (originally from Indonesia), Puja Das, Jack Watson, Ashis Pal, incoming PhD students Aayushi Mishra and Danish Mansoor, former PhD student Nishant Yadav (now at Microsoft Azure AI), postdoctoral fellows Rachindra Mawalagedara, Rishi Sahastrabuddhe, and Arnob Ray, professional researcher August Posch, and undergraduate student Sophia Bailey. Others from Northeastern University included Prof. Dan O’Brien from Public Policy and Urban Affairs, and Prof. Jared Auclair representing the Provost’s Office. The invitee list also included Dr. Ardeshir Contractor, a successful entrepreneur in sustainability and cleantech with teaching and research experience in both developed and emerging economies. The Northeastern University delegation was led by the SDS Lab PI Auroop Ganguly, a COE distinguished professor in Civil and Environmental Engineering. The first part of the discussions focused on SDS Lab capabilities in data and complexity sciences, including AI, machine learning and network sciences, as they relate to climate resilience, water resources, coastal and ecological systems, and infrastructure sustainability, with presentations by Auroop Ganguly, Puja Das, Jack Watson, and Ashis Pal. The second part of the discussions focused on Indonesia’s priority and needs, with important messages from Taufik Hanafi, Kemal Taruc, and Agung Indrajit. The group collectively discussed initial premises for collaboration, including objectives, case studies, capacity building, budgeting, and timelines, which will be discussed in depth in future discussions. The fundamental and translational research of the SDS Lab, including socially impactful entrepreneurships leading to both community-based work and private sector startups, as well as implications for workforce development, were discussed with a focus on how they could be leveraged to address Indonesia’s national priorities. The delegation from the Indonesian ministry and the participants from the SDS Lab discussed their respective connections with research and translation in emerging economies as well as with global efforts such as those led by the United Nations. The Indonesian delegation was able to spend some of their time in the SDS Lab with students and postdocs to discuss research and translation. The Indonesian governmental delegation and the SDS Lab participants and Northeastern University would like to thank everyone, especially SDS Lab PhD student Dian Indrawati who is funded on an Indonesian government scholarship, along with her peer PhD students, for helping organize the meetings and hosting the ministerial delegation.