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Thematic introduction

Resilient society is a term that permeates many political agendas the world over. It has become shorthand for what we need to ensure an ecologically, economically and socially sustainable future for our planet. OSM2017 will put resilient society centre stage. Science will be our starting point, but civil society, the private sector and government policymakers are indispensable partners, because a society (people, communities, organisations and institutions) is only resilient when it can cope with and absorb external shocks and rapid transformations; preventing society from collapsing and preparing it for the future.

What challenges are we facing? Providing sufficient food and nutrition as well as clean and safe water; organising sanitation, health care, logistics and clean energy; maintaining biodiversity and natural resources; coping with tensions resulting from religious differences, migration, or (in)security.

These challenges have found their way into national science agendas, including in our two countries. In Indonesia they are expressed in the National Research Agenda by RISTEK/DIKTI and there is the powerful new Sains45 Agenda issued by the Indonesian Young Academy (ALMI), while President Joko Widodo’s Nawa Cita promises to the nation, touch on them as well. In the Netherlands, the government’s Topsectors address some of these challenges and, more recently, the National Research Agenda (NWA) has reflected a broader range of issues to be addressed by science. The Grand Societal Challenges of the European Union Horizon 2020 science programme are a regional attempt to address these issues. The most potent and pressing way in which these questions are being tackled on the global stage is through the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): 17 specific targets to which countries, including our own, have committed themselves.

Starting with a survey of the strengths of our joint networks and expertise, Dutch and Indonesian scientists have brainstormed and come up with a circle of interrelated themes. They presented them at the Erasmus Huis in Jakarta on 21 April 2016, at a meeting focusing on the future of Indonesian-Dutch cooperation in Science, Innovation and Education (read more HERE) circle-of-themes

OSM2017 will feature exciting scientific results and explore cooperation between scientific disciplines as well as between science, society, the private sector and policymaking. And because we are talking about the future of our planet, early career scientists and innovators – the next generation to take up these challenges – will play a pivotal role.

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