via Science, 12 January 2022: While focusing on the Eijkman Institute for Molecular Biology, Indonesian archaeology is also affected with the national and research centres being absorbed. Budgets have not been allocated, jobs have been cut and there is fear that there will be even less resources allocated to archaeology under the new system.
Eijkman, which focuses on genetic disorders, population genetics, and tropical and emerging diseases, has been absorbed into Indonesia’s National Research and Innovation Agency (BRIN), established last year to streamline Indonesian science. So far, BRIN has swallowed up 33 research agencies in fields as diverse as archaeology, botany, meteorology, and astronomy, including the entire Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI). Despite protests at Eijkman and elsewhere, hundreds of researchers, technicians, and assistants have lost their jobs because they did not have contracts as civil servants, and BRIN won’t offer them such contracts now.
“This is an extraordinary setback for Indonesian science,” says Satryo Brodjonegoro, head of the Indonesian Academy of Sciences. He suspects the government is centralizing the research institutes in part to strengthen its control over them. Brodjonegoro says the exodus is disruptive for research and should have been avoided. Science is teamwork, he says: “We can’t just break up the research team.”