Australia Awards in Indonesia

The Australia Awards are prestigious, transformational scholarships and short courses offered to emerging leaders for study, research and professional development in Australia

25 Feb 2016

Clean Water Supply for 118 Families

Dr Ahmad Agus Setiawan, Universitas Gadjah Mada Electrical Engineering graduate, was granted an Australia Awards Scholarship in 2004 to complete his Doctorate at Curtin University with a focus on renewable energy systems.

Born in Yogyakarta, the only child of hard-working, although unskilled parents, Dr Ahmad Agus excelled in mathematics and physics at school, and succeeded in gaining entry to Universitas Gadjah Mada where he completed his undergraduate degree.

“I suppose, like many kids at the time, I always thought I’d like to be an engineer,” he mused.

After finishing his undergraduate studies in Yogyakarta, Dr Ahmad Agus joined the newly created Department of Engineering Physics, Universitas Gadjah Mada, in 1999 as Junior Lecturer. In 2000, he received the Swedish Government scholarship STINT to complete his master’s study in the field of Sustainable Energy Engineering at KTH (the Royal Institute of Technology) in Sweden.

Later, Dr Ahmad Agus heard from colleagues and friends about the high reputation of the Australia Award Scholarships and how they could enhance his engineering skills; he also wanted to improve his English.

“Strategically and geographically, Australia is the closest neighbour to Indonesia, so we all need to be aware of the importance of sharing a common future for this region.”

Dr Ahmad Agus applied successfully for an Australia Awards Scholarship and completed his PhD studies at Curtin University in 2009.

“Returning home to Universitas Gadjah Mada after completing my PhD study, I was asked to take—and elected to—the position as Vice Head for Academic Affairs, and later as the Vice Head at the Department of Engineering Physics, a position I held until April 2011.”

In May 2011, Dr Ahmad Agus began his post as Manager of Student Affairs, Research and Community Services at the Faculty of Engineering, Universitas Gadjah Mada.

In 2014, he was appointed as Head of Alumni Affairs at the university level—a position he held until early 2015, when the newly elected first female Rector of Universitas Gadjah Mada, Prof. Dwikorita Karnawati, appointed him to his current position as Head of Student Creativity Centre at the Directorate of Student Affairs.

Dr Ahmad Agus is also actively involved in the Institute for Research and Community Services within the University, where his main activities involve a national project on Energy Self-sufficient Villages in Indonesia.

“And because the topic is very important to me, I am also an active member of Masyarakat Energi Terbarukan Indonesia (or METI), the Indonesian Renewable Energy Society.”

On 22 December 2010 in Jakarta, Dr Ahmad Agus was among 13 individuals and 7 institutions honoured at the Persatuan Insinyur Indonesia – Institution of Engineers Indonesia –Award. He won the prestigious Adhicipta Pratama Emas in the Engineering category, given to individuals under 35 for their achievement in technology deemed beneficial for the development of the nation and state.

Dr Ahmad Agus is regarded to be successful in developing water elevation supply system using solar energy, implemented in Banyumeneng I, one of the areas in Gunung Kidul Regency suffering from shortage of clean water supply.

Using capital from the Mondialogo Engineering Award (MEA) in India that the concept won in 2007 as a collaboration project between two groups of students at Curtin University and Universitas Gadjah Mada, Dr Ahmad Agus installed the system. Realizing that ease of access to water sources tremendously impacts the social-economic dynamics of a region, he made sure to involve community service students across disciplines from Universitas Gadjah Mada as well as the local community.

“The water pumping system is now able to supply 7,800 liter of water per day and meets the need of 118 families. Since 2009, they no longer have to walk four kilometres for water,” smiled Dr Ahmad Agus. The water pumping system is currently being replicated across the nation.

Dr Ahmad Agus was awarded the Australian Alumni Award for Sustainable Economic and Social Development in 2011 and most recently, the Habibie Award for Engineering in 2014.

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