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

23 Apr 2016

A Love for Biopolymer Research as an Alternative for Waste Management

Dr Indira Prabasari, an Australia Awards Scholarships alumnus with a PhD in Botany from the University of Melbourne, has had an interest in biopolymer research since her master's degree studies.

Upon completing her PhD research in the pectin structure of valentia orange, Dr Prabasari continued to research biopolymer extracted from sago and chitosan, shrimp shells. "There's a wealth of potential in incorporating biopolymer as an alternative resource. Imagine the possibility of using bio waste as water bottle material, reducing the use of plastic," she elaborated enthusiastically.

Following the same vein, Dr Prabasari became involved in the research collaboration project between Universitas Muhammadiyah and Technische Universiteit Eindhoven (TU/e), the Netherlands, on bioenergy and biomass, participating for three years until 2011.

"Biomass is closely related to waste management. It's about trying to find a way to utilise agriculture waste for energy or biopolymer production. It's about creating a sustainable cycle," Dr Prabasari further explained.

Because of her experience in being involved in several research collaborations, Dr Prabasari was appointed as Director of the Bureau of Cooperation and Partnership at Universitas Muhammadiyah Yogyakarta in 2011. As Director, she is in charge of organising collaborations with other national and international universities, including the current joint degree collaboration with Flinders University.

"My studies in Australia has certainly helped me understand the different nuances of how each culture communicates, something that plays a key role in ensuring effective communication with universities from other countries," Dr Prabasari said.

Under her leadership, the Bureau has received the Strengthening International Cooperation Grant from the Ministry of Research and Technology for four years in a row.

Dr Prabasari will continue her responsibilities as Director of the Bureau of Cooperation and Partnership until 2017. Once she has finished her term, she looks forward to continuing her research in biopolymer, contributing to a more sustainable bio waste management.

Most recently, she was granted scholarships by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) to participate in the Training Management of Internationlization in Germany (September 2014 and September 2015) and India (March 2015).

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