Indonesia has launched a new research fund which will provide multi-year grants to scientists in the country. The country has given single year grants up to now, limiting the scope of research in the country to smaller exercises.

“We have been pledged an allocation of up to US$40 million [of government funding] a year to start with,” J.W. Saputro, Executive Director of the new Indonesian Science Fund told GovInsider.

But it will not give out the entire amount this year, he added. Each proposal will get up to IDR 1.5 billion (US$113,938) in a year.

Indonesian researchers have so far had to rely on funding which follows the annual budget cycle. This has limited scientists from producing their best research, said Sangkot Marzuki, President, Indonesian Academy of Science, according to The Conversation.

The new scheme is “more flexible and more compatible with the needs of the research community”, with a focus on fundamental and frontier research, Saputro said.

For some universities, the amount of yearly funding has been a problem for some time. Universitas Indonesia, the country’s top ranked university, has received half of the funding it requires to support a new startup lab.

Each project in the lab will likely need at least US$37,000, Dr Djoni Hartono, Director of Innovation and Business Incubator has said. But the Ministry of Research, Technology and Higher Education has provided US$18,5000 for each project.

The ISF was set up by the Indonesian Academy of Sciences, with support from the American and Australian governments. Earlier this month, President Joko Widodo signed a decree formally creating the autonomous body.

In the first year, ISF will focus on funding health and environment research. Apart from government, it can also get funding from donors and the private sector.

As a whole, Indonesia spends 0.08% of its GDP on research and development, according to 2013 data from World Bank. Singapore and Korea spend 2.03% and 4.13% of their GDP, respectively.

Source: Indonesia launches new multi-year research fund | GovInsider