The Roles of Interdisciplinary Research in Developing Knowledge-Based Economy: By Prof. Dr. Bustanul Arifin

The Roles of Interdisciplinary Research in Developing Knowledge-Based Economy

Prof. Dr. Bustanul Arifin

Professor of Agricultural Economics at the University of Lampung (UNILA)

Jl. Sumantri Brojonegoro, No. 1, Bandar Lampung 35145, Indonesia

E-mail:, Fax: +62-721-702-767


This paper examines the roles of interdisciplinary research in developing knowledge-based economy, taking the case mostly on the Indonesian economy. The pathway towards the knowledge-based economy that has been established during the previous government administration seems to deviate a bit further as the global economy downturn significantly affects the Indonesian economy. Major macroeconomic indicators have show some declines in recent years as the global price decline of important commodities have affected the Indonesian economy and the regional economy relied on natural resources. The Indonesian performance of innovation and competitiveness has declined seriously in the last two years, mostly due to lack of direction in and consistency in developing the strategy of knowledge-based economy. In this paper, the knowledge-based economy (KBE) is defined as the economy that has effective systems of education and skills, information and communication technology (ICT) and data technology (DT), research and development (R&D) and innovation, and economic and institutional regimes conducive for knowledge. Interdisciplinary roles play important and strategic roles in integrating these four major components of the knowledge-based economy, from the very beginning of ideas development, stability and adaptation of research results in the real world conditions to the adoption and application level in the economy. The development and continuous improvement of knowledge creation, knowledge as a source of value and the sustainability of knowledge-based economy should be conducted both at micro and industrial scales and at macro and policy level.

The paper strongly recommends that interdisciplinary research (and trans-disciplinary) should start from campus before being applied to private sectors and public institutions. The government and universities could establish centers of excellence to strengthen coordination between research and development (R&D) in public institutions and private industries. Indonesia is really in needs of increasing budget allocation for R&D and R-for-D at least 1 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP), from the public funds, state-owned enterprises (SOEs) and private sectors, and empowering innovation networks, involving academics, business, government and civil society (ABGC). Therefore, Indonesia needs continuous improvement and capacity building of researchers and research institutes and strengthening the institutions of extension system in the country. Finally, new and futuristic policies are needed to remove key barriers to establishing, developing and financing creative industries and creative economy that would shape the future of knowledge-based economy in Indonesia.

Short Bio of Bustanul Arifin


Bustanul Arifin is Professor of Agricultural Economics in the University of Lampung (UNILA) and Professorial Fellow at the Graduate School of Management and Business at Bogor Agricultural University (MB-IPB), Indonesia. Dr. Arifin has over 30 years experience on comprehensive range of research in agricultural and resource economics, food security, political economy and development strategies. He has a wide range of consultancy experience in the fields of economics and development issues for international agencies such as: World Bank, USAID, AusAID, JBIC, UNDP, ILO, GTZ, ICRAF, WWF, DANIDA, etc. Professor Bustanul Arifin holds a Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison (USA) and Sarjana from Bogor Agricultural University. He has served as Director of INDEF in Jakarta, Adviser to the House of Representative (DPR-RI) for the commissions of agriculture, economics and finance. Professor Arifin has published 40 titles of books, over 80 journal articles, presented over 100 research papers in international conferences and symposiums, and over 300 research papers in national seminars, workshops and meetings in Indonesia. Professor Arifin has completed assignments as Visiting Professor in the Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison (2002-2003) and in the School of Geosciences at the University of Sydney, Australia (2007-2008). He is now serving as Executive Council for the professional associations, such as Asian Society of Agricultural Economists (ASAE), Indonesian Society of Agricultural Economics (PERHEPI) and Indonesian Economists Association (ISEI). He is also serving as Chairman of Forum of Statistics Society (FMS) and Head of Expert Group at Food Security Council (DKP) of the Republic of Indonesia.


Universitas Lampung
Jl. Prof. Dr. Sumantri Brojonegoro No. 1
Bandar Lampung, 35145, INDONESIA.
Telp +62 721 701609 . Fax +62 721 702767702767