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This article presents information compiled from different online sources such as universities’ websites, newspaper, articles, and organizations’ websites. The information was searched both in English and Bahasa Indonesia. Information in Bahasa Indonesia was translated into English by Indonesian teammates. The general trend that we have notice from research is that information about synthetic biology in Indonesia is very limited. This might be due to the fact that not many people in Indonesia know about this field. Information of biotechnology, however, was more abundant. Many companies and universities are participating in biotechnology development. Most of the research related to biotechnology focus on agriculture. In the future, following this trend in biotechnology, synthetic biology may also be used to improve agriculture in Indonesia.

Participation in the iGEM Competition

Out of 3100 universities in Indonesia, only three universities in Indonesia joined the iGEM competition. This reflects that very few people know about the iGEM competition and synthetic biology. The first Indonesian university that joined the iGEM competition is Bogor Agricultural University (BAU). This university joined the iGEM 2012 competition, but did not manage to get any awards. Two universities from Indonesia, Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB) and University of Indonesia (UI), have registered for the iGEM 2013 competition

Funding of Biotechnology

In 2012, Indonesian Institute of Science (LIPI) received around US$ 14 million from the Indonesian government ("Dana 2012," 2013). This amount of money is only around 0.1% from national income. This year, in 2013, the government proposed that they would decrease the funding to LIPI by 9% from the total amount of 2012 funding (“Riset bioteknologi: Terkendala,” 2012). This is one of the reasons why biotechnology in Indonesia is far behind the other Asian countries. In fact, the total funding per gross domestic product for Indonesia is around 0.07%. This value is smaller than those of Ethiopia (0.17%) and Colombia (0.16%). Even with the lack of government funding, some institutes and universities have the urge to develop biotechnology. There are around 30 institutes and some universities in Indonesia that join the development of biotechnology industry so far.

Perception of Synthetic Biology

Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB) iGEM 2013 team conducted interviews with 5 random citizens in Indonesia. The interviewees came from different background. The interviews reveal that all of the interviewees did not know what synthetic biology meant. (R.N, 2013). The term synthetic biology did appear in newspapers and blogs, but no formal studies have been conducted to measure the perception of synthetic biology in Indonesia. Considering that not many people fully understand the term biotechnology, it seems like the concept synthetic biology, a relatively new field, is even less prevalent.

Research, People & Organizations

Scientists in Indonesia are actively conducting researches related to biology and biotechnology. For example, Indonesian Institute of Sciences Biotechnology Research Center (LIPI) has been conducting numerous researches related to biotechnology. It is probably these kinds of research institutes that will adopt synthetic biology techniques once it becomes more prevalent in Indonesia.

The following table summarizes some of the researches of LIPI


There are several science organizations that could be found online. Some of them are in the field of biotechnology, however, none of them are explicitly related to synthetic biology.

1. Indonesian Institute of Science (LIPI)
2. Indonesian Academy of Sciences (AIPI)
3. PT. Biotek Sarana Industri: A private industry that works in the field of biotechnology, chemical trading, agro

industry and pharmaceutical for pest control at commodity warehouse and farms.

4. PT. Jirona Agritama: A subsidiary of Biotech Group, which is engaged in trade in agricultural products

and plantations like oil palm, rubber, andcocoa, the main herbicide and insecticide products.

5. KALBE: A public pharmaceutical company, which focused on prescription pharmaceuticals, consumer health

products, nutritionals, and distribution and logistics. Kalbe established two institutes:

a. Stem Cell and Cancer Institute (SCI): SCI is a center for stem cell and cancer research, prepared to be the

basis for future therapy development to replace conventional drugs and therapy.

b. Innogene Kalbiotech: A subsidiary of Kalbe established as a basis to develop competence in biotechnology-

based products. Innogene is actively involved in the acquisition, development and commercialization of products, one of the most prominent being TheraCIM, a monoclonal antibody for targeted cancer therapy.

There are thousands of universities in Indonesia, but only some of them teach synthetic biology or biotechnology. Some universities don’t have biology courses. Biotechnology and synthetic biology are taught mainly in big universities such as University of Indonesia and Gajah Mada University.


iGEM Competition
Daftar lengkap perguruan tinggi negeri dan swasta di indonesia. (n.d.). Retrieved from
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Funding of Biotechnology
Riset bioteknologi: Terkendala minimnya anggaran. (2012, July 16). Retrieved from
&id=1465932 Dana 2012. (2013, July 10). Retrieved from
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Perception of Synthetic Biology
R.N, R. (2013). Imajinasi masyarakat indonesia tentang sel[Web]. Retrieved from:

Research, People, Organization
Santoso, A., Kitagawa, N., Wardiana, A., Kusumawati, A., Puji Septisetyani, E., Kawaichi, M., Rubiyana, Y., & Hadiwisnuwardhani, P. (2012). Producksi Protein Farmasetik Recombinant Human Erythropoietin (rhepo) dengan Modifikasi Pola Glikosilasi. Retrieved from
Zaenal Mustopa, A., Susilaningsih, D., Sukmarini, L., Ridwan, M., Delicia, & Hasim (2012). Pengembangan polisakarida dari mikroalga btm 11 sebagai inhibitor rna helikase virus hepatitis c. Retrieved from
Zaenal Mustopa, A., Tarman, K., & Safithri, M. (2012). Pengembangan protein antikanker dari kapang endofit indigenous laut indonesia xylaria psidii kt30. Retrieved from
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