Surabaya, IO – Indonesian Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto visited two universities in Surabaya, Airlangga University (Unair) and Sepuluh Nopember Institute of Technology (ITS), to sign a collaboration agreement in the fields of education and research development, Monday (9/6).
Prabowo pointed out the important role of science and technology in national defense. As national defense involves multiple sectors, he invited the best universities in the nation to collaborate. He expects to be able to champion the valuable innovations and creations of Indonesian youth. “They prove to have secured many accomplishments and we will develop them,” he explained.
Prabowo mentioned that Unair is currently focusing on developing vaccines, and he hoped the Merah Putih vaccine research can be concluded as soon as possible. In addition to the Covid-19 vaccines, Unair also conducts research and development for malaria treatment and vaccines, because the disease is still common in Indonesia.
Unair Rector Mohammad Nasih conveyed that the Defense Ministry has been Unair’s partner in the area of education “Our collaboration with the Ministry has been carried on effectively year after year.” He added, “Almost every year, there are specialist doctors (from the Defense Ministry) studying at Unair.”
He also mentioned some of Unair’s strong suits, particularly in health research. The Minister was shown to a sophisticated research facility, a Level-3 Biosafety Laboratory (BSL-3) which is the largest in Southeast Asia.
Mohammad Nasih stated that Unair is ready to collaborate with the Ministry regarding science and technology development to support national defense. “Within our capacity, we will expend our best efforts,” he said.
At ITS, Prabowo expressed his interest in ventilators and oxygen generators, to anticipate the surge of Covid-19. “So we don’t have to import them. These are created by our younger generation, our innovation. If God is willing, we will place a lot of orders,” he explained.
Meanwhile, ITS Rector Prof. Mochamad Ashari said the Minister requested the ITS oxygen concentrator prototype to be enlarged, not only for individual use. “At the surge of the pandemic, we created an oxygen concentrator, a device that converts ordinary air into oxygen, with a concentration of 93 percent. The Defense Ministry wants it on a bigger scale, to use in hospitals or other purposes,” he added.
In addition, Prabowo also conveyed his interest in the developments of ventilators, electric motorcycles (Gesits) and several other innovations, such as The Crocodile submarine. “We hope that they can be completed and used for the military and regional transportation. We are still waiting for the budget. For the military, we just need to equip the weaponry,” he said. (Ekawati)