One of USAID SHERA’s goals is to improve the capacity of faculty, PhD students, and postdoctoral researchers in targeted Indonesian universities through research collaboration, conferences, trainings, and various activities. Nissa Aulia Ardiani, S.T., M.Sc., a researcher from Institut Teknologi Bandung (ITB), had the opportunity to improve her capacity as a researcher by presenting her work at several conferences abroad after she joined in Center for Development of Sustainable Region (CDSR). CDSR is one of SHERA’s five Centers for Collaborative Research (CCRs), which focuses on multidisciplinary collaboration in conducting research to promote energy efficiency and independence in Indonesia.
For Nissa, presenting her research at international conferences has been a tremendous achievement. She had conducted research and written academic papers on designing environmentally friendly buildings, but she had not had an opportunity to present her work abroad. A lack of funding and limited professional networks were her initial obstacles. “In 2017, I tried to submit my paper to an international conference in the U.K. and got accepted, but I couldn’t go. I had no funding at that time,” said Nissa.
However, Nissa never gave up of her dream to present her academic papers abroad. She started to broaden her networks and kept looking for new opportunities. Finally, she met a researcher from CDSR in early 2018 and was soon asked to join the CCR due to her research’s fit within CDSR’s sustainable energy research. According to Nissa, CDSR truly opened the door for her. She started to meet researchers and professors from universities across Indonesia, such as University of Gadjah Mada (UGM), University of Indonesia (UI), University of Gorontalo, and others. She often discussed her research papers and received valuable feedback from her colleagues. “I asked them to review my papers because I still wanted to submit them to international conferences,” Nissa added.
In May 2018, Nissa’s paper entitled, ‘Building Retrofit to Improve Energy Performance from Office to Accommodation. Case Study: Tower Building, Nottingham, UK’ was accepted for presentation at the 7th Laser Display and Lighting Conference 2018 in Vietnam. Thanks to CDSR funding, Nissa was finally able to attend an international conference for the first time. The conference committee even recommended that she submit her paper for publication to the 7th International Conference on Engineering Mathematics and Physics 2018, which accepted the paper and later published it. “My first international conference went very well. I met a lot of scholars and researchers from around the world, and they also asked me various questions regarding to my research, which is good for me to improve my knowledge,” said Nissa.
After attending her first international conference, Nissa did not stop there. She kept improving her writing skills, particularly in English academic writing, by joining the CDSR-hosted ‘Workshop and Assistance in Writing International Reputable Scientific Journals’ in November 2018. According to Nissa, the workshop improved the style and structure of her English academic papers. The workshop also gave Nissa and the other participants the valuable opportunity to exchange knowledge across their research topics, thereby enriching their own research.
Only two months after that workshop, Nissa’s second paper, ‘Application of Building Integrated Photovoltaic in Hot Humid Climate. Case Study: Office Building in Indonesia,’ was accepted for presentation at the 3rd International Conference on Energy and Environmental Science in South Korea in January 2019. Three months later, another paper was accepted for an international conference, this time in Melbourne, Australia in April 2019. There, Nissa’s paper, ‘Feasibility of Algae Photobioreactor as Façade in the Office Building in Indonesia’ was presented at the International Conference on Smart Power & Internet Energy Systems (SPIES 2019). Both papers were also published in the IOP Conference Series: Earth and Environmental Science (EES) Journal. In reflecting on the impact CDSR has had on her career, Nissa noted, “I have to say that CDSR has given me a lot of opportunities to improve my capacity and skills as a researcher through [providing] various [capacity building] activities and funding opportunities.”
Nissa, who is currently a lecturer in ITB’s School of Architecture, Planning, and Policy Development, feels that CDSR has greatly impacted her capacity to write sound, scientific papers for international audiences. This can be seen in the three academic papers she has presented at conferences abroad since joining CDSR. Additionally, CDSR has broadened her networks. “Not only did I meet researchers from Indonesia, but I also interacted with scholars from different countries through [attending] international conferences. The network I gained after joining CDSR will be very useful for me as a lecturer, particularly in seeking further collaborative research opportunities,” she added.