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The global economy will shift from the stage of factor and efficiency driven economy to innovation driven economy. It coherently moves forward with knowledge-intensive activities that are contributed as an accelerated pace of technical and scientific advance. The key components of the innovation driven economies are in greater reliance on intellectual capabilities and at the same time are green industry oriented. In the near future, the industry grows with eco-friendly product and production aspect that are approached by biotechnology, tropical studies, educational innovation, and food security.


In general, In Global Competitiveness Report 2015-2016, an annual assessment report of the factors driving productivity and prosperity in 144 countries, Indonesia dropped three places to 37 from 34 in comparison to the previous report. Switzerland, Singapore and the United States retained the top three spots in the rankings with Germany and the Netherlands, rounding up the top 5 most competitive economies. Among emerging and developing Asian economies, Malaysia scored at the highest of 18, or better than Indonesia.



Three aspects to be improved in creasing the Global Competitiveness of Indonesia, namely, innovation and also higher education and training. These two aspects can only be done by improving the quality of higher education. Innovation shows that the quality of higher education is still very low. Research produced by universities has not been able to produce competitive products and innovative ways to support industry-based research and development.


Kalimantan supports the largest expanse of tropical rainforest in the Indomalayan realm, of 18.6 % of Indonesia forest coverage. It is the main center for the distribution of genera of Malesian flora and Indomalayan fauna. In the aquatic zone, tropical wetland ecosystems, including mangroves and peat lands, provide a broad array of ecosystem services. These ecosystems are often highly productive and harbor a unique assemblage of aquatic and terrestrial biodiversity. Biodiversity and utilization of non-timber forest product potency in East Kalimantan are among the main agenda of research that catch international collaboration. Climate change is tightly related to sustainable agriculture, reducing deforestation, and protecting forest, peat lands, and mangroves from ecological disasters. Moreover, East Kalimantan is situated in the vicinity of Makassar Strait which is known as the main path of Indonesian Through Flow (ITF) and connecting water mass from Pacific Ocean to Indian Ocean. This area also famous with ALKI II (the 2nd route among the three international north-south sea routes passing through the Indonesian Archipelago).


With regard to the specific medicinal potency of tropical region, commercial utilization of tropical origin products can be the starting point of overall tropical area conservation. Mutual relations among communities that utilize the tropical area, the national economy, and the tropical area itself can be better established. This challenges Mulawarman University to deepen and preserve the local knowledge, thus producing innovation and better understanding on the interest of people in the region.




Leading sector of the center of excellence for tropical studies in Mulawarman University is currently supported by human resources, i.e. 55 Professors (6%) and 221 Doctors (24%). Mulawarman University is equipped with 25,000 Ha educational and research forest, botanical garden of Samarinda, and field research facility for tropical agriculture. Mulawarman University realizes that the current facilities and human resources are not adequate to play greater role in the context of tropical studies. Therefore, Mulawarman University aims to improve the curricula and to increase the number of researchers and lecturers with S3 qualification by the end of this project through various breakthrough. It is equally important for Mulawarman University to build integrative multi-discipline research and supporting infrastructure to lay better foundation of basic and advanced science in the region.


The framework of Mulawarman University as a “Center of Excellence for Tropical Studies” as a part of the 4 in 1 initiative. This initiative is projected to excel in Teaching and Learning, Research and Innovation, and Staff Development as soft programs and Campus Infrastructure as hard program. With the assistance of this IDB program, the 4 in 1 initiative has two umbrella programs of research consortium and curricula development. The outcomes of this initiative are increase of competent graduates, publication, increase the quality of teaching-learning, excellent services, increased student body, increased academic atmosphere, IPR, prototypes, increased research collaboration, and increased employability. In short, the 4 in 1 consortium will have positive impact on developing nation competitiveness by providing competent graduates, collaboration in research, academic reputation, and excellent services and management.

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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.

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The framework of Mulawarman University as a “Center of Excellence for Tropical Studies”, it has missions as an institution of higher education which has to constantly reinvent itself to keep up with the changing demands of stakeholders. 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). It is aimed that the systems and services can provide service to internal and external community University with adequate quality assurance; Mulawarman University can become a reference center in the study of the Tropical Rain Forests; and produce graduates that have sufficient competence to develop tropical forest and able to compete in obtaining a job in the national and global level.


With regard to the current condition, two prospective faculties are newly established with modest research and learning facilities, therefore it requires more attention to develop suitable environment in support to providing good exposure of teaching, learning, and research in the future. Faculty of Science is to support basic science for the whole university, therefore basic science laboratories in the theme of science learning park is proposed to be erected. The faculty of agriculture has a burden to provide qualified graduate to sustenance learning capacity in tropical agriculture, and this mission is in line with the Nawacita program, that is to increase national capacity in strengthening food self-sufficiency. To boost internationally qualified research, Mulawarman University strategically plans to establish integrated laboratory, providing better access for postgraduate students and academic staffs to develop fundamental and applied research, which in turn produce more publications.


The incremental progress for national competitiveness is achievable through six objectives contributed by the 4 in 1 project, namely: adapting curriculum to the national and regional standard, enhancing the quantity and quality of research and innovation activities, improving the qualification and competence of lecturer and supporting staff, improving the environment for teaching and learning, improving the research and innovation ecosystem, and strengthening education and research collaboration.
In particular, to Mulawarman University, the development projects are described as primary objective and long term objective. The primary objective is to develop Mulawarman University as a “Center of Excellence for Tropical Studies” as a realization of the main scientific pattern of Mulawarman University.
In the long term, this project aims to develop Mulawarman University in providing access, quality, relevance, and competitiveness of Higher Education in Indonesia especially in East Kalimantan Province. The systems and services are intended to provide excellent services to internal and external community with adequate quality assurance Furthermore, Mulawarman University is expecting to be a reference center for tropical studies and provide graduates with a sufficient competence and able to compete in obtaining job in the national and global level.


These objectives produce variety of output as a direct result of conducting this project. The outputs include new curriculum and educational innovation, research grant, number of PhD lecturers and certified staffs, newly erected building and establishment of complete research and teaching equipment, ICT system, a learning resource material. This will also contribute to the establishment of new laboratories, and procured books and journals. As parts of the soft program, this initiative is expected to establish research consortia, diploma supplement programs, and joint lectures.


The outcomes of the project are gained through activities in the umbrella program of research consortia and curricula development. These include increase of competent graduate, publications, increase the quality of teaching-learning, providing excellent services, increased student body academic atmosphere, IPR, and prototypes. In the light of the program, this will increase research collaboration and increase employability of the graduates.


Additionally, for Mulawarman University, the benefits received from this project will be:
1. Improvement in the teaching learning processes at the university to provide better quality of graduates.
2. Better revenues will be generated from university services such as Research Centre and Internet Services. Better revenues will be received because of the increase number of research activities conducted by university due to better research facilities. This benefit is calculated from the expected incremental of other incomes that will be generated from university services due to a better quality and this is the primary benefit of the project.
3. The increasing number of research and training program contracts between the university and other institutions (government and private institutions) due to the improvement of the facilities and better qualification of the teaching staff.

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Mulawarman University is situated in East Kalimantan province, a border province to Malaysia Sabah and Sarawak. The climate is characterized as humid tropic with frequent and high debit of rainfall. The main advantages of being a state university in the region are local reputation of this university is relatively high among the secondary education students, abundance support from East Kalimantan and North Kalimantan provincial and district governments for student scholarships, has prominent graduates in the local government sectors, and relatively good academic resources for the purpose of teaching and learning.
Geographically, Samarinda as the host city for Mulawarman University has a good access to more developed cities in Java, Sulawesi, and parts of Borneo (Malaysia Sabah and Sarawak). As a lesser developed university in comparison to the universities in Java, i.e. the big eight and Hasanuddin University in Sulawesi, the views of parents of the prospective students tend to Mulawarman University as a second choice after the universities in Java and in the ASEAN region.


The project sites located in lowland and hilly terrain. Based on soil investigation for another project near the project sites, lowland location has a bedrock layer from 40 to 50 meters under the surface while in the hilly terrain, the bedrock is found in relatively shallow about 15 to 25 meters. Mulawarman University is established on a 63-Ha area that consists of 14 faculties. The social condition of Mulawarman University is as a hub to connect two settlements and two main roads in Samarinda. This has an impact of becoming an alternative access through the locations. The geological aspect of the Mulawarman University is lying on the Balikpapan formation and the typical land surface is categorized as soft ground.


Mulawarman University has three campuses. Main campus is in sub-district of Gunung Kelua. Two other satellite campuses are in P. Flores street for FIB campus and Banggeris street which the location of FKIP. The main campus consists of the rectorate buildings and administration, Bureaus, the main library, Faculty of Law, Faculty of Forestry, Faculty of Economics, Faculty of Agriculture, Faculty of Engineering, Faculty of Social and Political Science, Faculty of Education and Teaching, Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences and Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences.


The main campus of G. Kelua has several entrances. The main entrance is at M. Yamin street. The side entrance is from Gelatik street, Pramuka Street and Ruhui Rahayu. street. The main entrance has a unique land topography. In general, Mulawaman University has a flatland area but some area has precipitous topography and other part area are marsh-land.

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The executing agency of the project is the Directorate General of Learning and Student Affairs, Ministry of Research, Technology and Higher Education (MoRTHE). To run the project, there is central project management as Project Management Unit (PMU), and institutional project management as Project Implementation unit (PIU) in each higher education institution. PMU is legally appointed by the Minister of MoRTHE, while PIU is by each rector of the involved university.



The implementation of the project in Mulawarman University is implemented through the Project Implementation Unit (PIU).

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