East Kalimantan (Kaltim) is a province that contributes to foreign income from oil and gas sectors in Indonesia and Mining (non-renewable resources, SDA). At current condition as a result of economical down turn, contribution of Kaltim in the national economy is weakened. These unfortunate economic conditions, allegedly, due to reliance on raw commodity and diminishing of natural resources. At present, the sectors are particularly vulnerable to foreign influences such as: foreign market price, demand, and the contraction of world exchange rates. To correlate with geographical advantage, East Kalimantan is now shifting to tropical agricultural and forest products.
The Gini ratio is an indicative index for economic competitiveness between people in a province. The East Kalimantan Gini ratio at the period between 2006 and 2012 tend to fluctuate but show an increasing trend. This, regrettably, indicates the gap between high income earners and low ones is widening. In comparison to the national average of Gini ratio, this gap is relatively low. When combined with the poverty rate, it is concluded that East Kalimantan is relatively at the middle income population with 6.68% of the population is categorized as poor.
Mulawarman University as a regional university located in East Kalimantan has to address key priority of the provincial development include capable of becoming the prime mover of the economic sector in the region, having strong forward and backward linkage with other commodities or sub-sectors, capable of competing with similar products from other regions, having linkages with other regions, capable of absorbing qualified workforce optimally in accordance to the scale of productions, and not vulnerable to external and internal shocks.
Following the analysis of the provincial long term development programs, tropical studies in terms of agriculture and manufacture are planned as successors for mining industry as the leading sector for future development. In response to this agenda, Mulawarman University will strengthen Center of Excellence as a concept of increasing both national and regional competitiveness in coherent with the national priority agenda and provincial agenda, especially in tropical studies.
The overall objective of the program is to improve access, quality, relevance, and competitiveness of Higher Education in Indonesia. Its purpose is to support the education transformation process including both policy and institutional changes deemed necessary to better the quality of services provided, and to increase the efficiency and accountability of the system.
Mulawarman University at the current state is around 90-100 top university in Indonesia ranked by National Accreditation Board for Higher Education (HE-NAB) and Webometrics. However, according to International Colleges and Universities (4ICU), Mulawarman University achieved top 55 in Indonesia. In 2015-2019 strategic mid-term planning, Mulawarman University aims to achieve top 60-70 university in Indonesia. In the light of the IDB project, it is expected that Mulawarman University will achieve a better position. \
Mulawarman University is situated in tropical region. Thus, it has a unique position to serve in research and community service related to education. The academic focus is highly influenced by regional and international issues i.e. conservation and utilization of biodiversity, carbon trading, and intricate ecosystem.
The framework of Mulawarman University as a “Center of Excellence for Tropical Studies” has three missions as an institution of higher education which has to constantly reinvent itself to keep up with the changing demands of stakeholders. Firstly, it generates qualified human resources, good personality and professional through interactive higher education international standard. The second mission is to produce quality and powerful research by promoting the principles of environmental sustainability. The last mission is to devotedly organize community services. It is equally important that the university produces work of science, technology, art, and sports that are meaningful and useful for the realization of the accountable and independent university in accordance to national and international standards.
Mulawarman University market share is 40% of the higher education students, therefore it highlights the importance of the existence of this university in East and North Kalimantan. The university aims to provide qualified human resources in fourteen sectors, namely Economy and Business, Social and Political Science, Agriculture, Forestry, Teaching and Education Science, Fishery and Marine Science, Law, Mathematics and Sciences, Engineering, Medicine, Public Health, Pharmacy, Art and Culture, and Computer Science and Information Technology. The university had produced prominent alumni, working in government, private, state owned company, and business sectors in Indonesia, more specifically in East and North Kalimantan. This emphasizes the strategic position of Mulawarman University in providing competent human resources, thus shaping the development of Indonesia.
The important role of this IDB project is as an enabler for Mulawarman University to achieve as a Service Excellence on Center for Tropical Studies (SE-CTS) by developing five key sectors namely Campus Infrastructure (CI), Teaching and Learning (T&L), Research ®, on Campus Service (CS), and Public Services (PS). The project will indirectly benefit GDP of the nation as a result of higher quality of education. It is expected that the project will increase the quality of graduates, both in academic skills as the core competence and soft skills as an essential added value. It is projected that the project becomes an important trajectory for qualified human resources that are heavily in need to face the embracing ASEAN Economic Community and possibly Trans Pacific Partnerships. Samarinda as the host city for Mulawarman University and East Kalimantan province will also economically benefited through the coming of more young generations that are interested in studying in Mulawarman University.