EPLP CIPS: Kick-Starting Career as a Young Policy Researcher

I was interested in joining the Emerging Policy Leaders Program (EPLP) by the Center for Indonesian Policy Studies (CIPS) because the program aligned with my interest in the policy area. When I first heard about the program, I knew that I had to be one of the trainees. At that moment I saw a major chance to accelerate my prospective career as a policy researcher – and I was right.


As with other management trainee programs in the private sector, my impression and expectation were that EPLP would provide trainees with both on- and off-the-job training related to all the essentials at CIPS as a think tank, with a particular focus on the research field.


Up until now, I still see EPLP that way and I believe that this kind of program is quite rare to be adopted by think tanks in Indonesia. Therefore, it has been a privilege for me to be a part of this prestigious program.


I am aware that to be a researcher or other similar positions in the research field in Indonesia, there are certain academic qualifications to be met. In this case, master’s degrees are mostly set as the minimum or preferred requirement by think tanks, research centers, and government institutions.


Fortunately, holding only a bachelor degree, EPLP allowed me to kickstart my journey of transitioning from academic to professional life as a research trainee with a comprehensive curriculum and a set of intensive activities necessary for would-be policy researchers.


In the past nine months, EPLP has prepared me with all the necessary knowledge and skills before diving in further as a researcher at CIPS.


Starting from the basics, quality indicators, to advocacy of policy research – training sessions covering these topics have given me much more confidence in continuing my career path in the research area.


In addition, trainees were also given the opportunity to work on several ongoing and big research projects which are really fulfilling and helpful for us to grasp the real situation in the policy research field.


EPLP also provided training sessions on work activities related to CIPS’ external relations and operations. The activities include digital communication, media relations, and fundraising which are conducted by other units/departments.


From that experience, I have learned that the research department must be closely working, coordinating, and aligning priorities with other departments to run strategically and sustainably as a whole team.


Another highlight of being an EPLP trainee is that we were able to directly participate in the G20 presided over by Indonesia this year, through CIPS’ role as a co-host institution in the Task Force 4 (Food Security and Sustainable Agriculture) of the Think20 (T20), one of the official engagement groups of G20.


It was a rewarding experience to work with inspiring task force members and assist T20 activities, particularly in the policy briefs’ selection process and side events. Along the way, I also got to know and learn so much about pressing food security and agricultural issues – policy areas that are CIPS’ well-known expertise.


Last but not least, there is no doubt that the work culture in any institution/company is one of the important support systems for employee wellbeing, productivity, and retention. From all my past working experiences, I can say that CIPS is a working place with a healthy work culture and supportive environment, and it is thanks to all the professional and caring colleagues as well seniors that made it so.


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