During a high-level meeting in Yogyakarta, Universitas Gadjah Mada (UGM) and the University of Groningen (UG) signed a comprehensive strategic partnership agreement, enshrining mutual commitment to strengthen and expand the already long-standing and fruitful collaboration.
Moving forward, the establishment of joint research and educational projects and programmes will be prioritised across all faculties, departments, schools and centres of both universities. This should lead to more online and face-to-face opportunities for staff, students, PhD candidates and postdoctoral fellows from UGM and UG to exchange knowledge, conduct joint research, and study together.
Building on concrete results
Over the past two decades, UGM and UG have built a strong portfolio of joint activities, and this gives confidence to invest further in the partnership. UGM Rector Prof. Ova Emilia indicated: “The successful collaboration we have had with Groningen over the years in, for example, the joint bachelor’s degree in international business, serves as a stepping stone and an inspiration. In the coming years we want to develop more online, blended and on-site education programmes to allow our students to learn from each other and gain a global experience”. A concrete next step was already taken on the day with the signing of the agreement for a joint degree between the Faculties of Law of both universities that aims to allow students from both universities to study in the Netherlands and Indonesia.
Also in research, UGM and UG are preparing for the next step. There will be special focus on joint interdisciplinary research that will help in contributing to issues the world faces in for example public health, urban planning or energy transition. UG President Prof. Jouke De Vries added: “In Southeast Asia and Europe we face similar challenges in different contexts. Sharing and creating knowledge, for example in jointly supervised PhD projects, will help us in better understanding our challenges and in creating solutions.”
Visit to UGM KKN project in Kampung Code, Yogyakarta
During their visit to Yogyakarta, the UG delegation also spent a morning in Kampung Code, a district located on the banks of the river in Yogyakarta. Here, students of the university put into practice their academic research to help local communities, for example by using simple micro-bubble technology to clean greywater from local laundries before it enters the river system, or using digester units to turn kitchen waste into liquid fertiliser that is used to grow fruit and vegetables.
Members of the community, from local primary school pupils right through to the older generation are able to see first hand how academic research can improve their daily lives. All UGM students spend two months living in a local community somewhere in Indonesia, and produce a written report for academic credit on their work. The programme mirrors the UG’s commitment to societal impact of academic research, and President Jouke de Vries was inspired by the potential for the UG to learn from UGM’s work. He hopes that there is potential for UG students to join UGM KKN projects themselves so that their studies can be enriched by this practical learning experience.