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Jakarta Post

Tanoto Foundation supports innovations by student researchers with annual contest

  • Nina A. Loasana

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Sat, February 27, 2021   /   05:38 pm
Tanoto Foundation supports innovations by student researchers with annual contest Tanoto Foundation scholarship and leadership division head Aryanti Savitri (left) observes the research project of student researchers from the Bogor Agricultural University (IPB) during the 2019 Tanoto Student Research Award media briefing in Jakarta on Nov. 27, 2019. The Tanoto Foundation has supported 582 applied research projects as of February. (JP/Wendra Ajistyatama)

The Tanoto Foundation recently held its annual Tanoto Student Research Awards, a research contest for university students, with the aim of boosting innovation in technology and science.

Scholarship and leadership division head Aryanti Savitri said the foundation aimed to increase the number of aspiring researchers across the country through the competition.

“As an organization that focuses on education, the Tanoto Foundation wants to encourage students to implement their knowledge through various applicable innovations that could benefit the public,” Aryanti said in a virtual press briefing recently.

Twenty-four teams from six universities across the country participated in this year’s competition, namely the University of Indonesia (UI), Bogor Agricultural University (IPB) and the Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB) in West Java, Hasanuddin University in South Sulawesi, the Brawijaya University in East Java and Diponegoro University in Central Java.

A team from IPB led by Abdul Azim won first place in the technology category. The team created a portable device used to check the quality of cooking oil in seconds.

Abdul said the main purpose of the device was to help authorities quickly identify used cooking oil, which is often sold illegally in markets. Authorities often launch raids on bulk cooking oil as the government officially banned the reselling of bulk cooking oil on Jan. 1, 2020.

Read also: Indonesia still lacks female researchers: Ministry

Used oil contains residue that can increase the risk of cancer and other diseases in the human body if consumed.

“It usually takes officials a long time to check the quality of the oil as they have to bring it to the lab and wait for lengthy procedures. We hope this product can be a solution for such a problem,” Abdul said.

Meanwhile, a team from Brawijaya University won in the science category for its research on chitinolytic bacteria to boost soybean growth.

“The main benefit of the bacteria is to boost soybean growth without harming the environment,” said team leader Achmad Roekhan.

The research also suggested that chitinolytic microorganisms could act as biological agents to fight diseases in plants.

Aryanti said the foundation had also helped downstream potential research by connecting student researchers with potential partners from the business and industry sectors. Since the first award in 2007, she said the foundation had supported 582 applied research projects as of February.

The Tanoto Foundation, founded in 1981 by forestry tycoon Sukanto Tanoto, is a philanthropic organization focused on education, community empowerment and improving people’s quality of life.