Wulan Koagouw receiving her award on stage

Brighton graduate receives top award for her impactful science research

University of Brighton graduate and leading ecotoxicologist, Wulan Koagouw, has won a Science and Sustainability Award for her pioneering research in Indonesia.

Wulan was honoured at the Study UK Alumni Awards in Indonesia for her research into environmental sustainability and water quality in her home region, Jakarta, which she started as part of her PhD in Pharmacy and Biomolecular Sciences at University of Brighton.

As an ecotoxicologist, Wulan’s research focuses on the harmful effects of toxic pollutants, such as man-made synthetic chemicals and their by-products, on the environment.

Her PhD, awarded in 2021, focused on the pharmaceutical contamination of Jakarta Bay in Indonesia. Its recommendations formed the foundations of new guidelines which set out how wastewater is managed in Indonesia’s capital city, which is home to more than 11m residents alongside fragile marine and land-based ecosystems.

Wulan said: “During my postgraduate studies, I learnt about the significant, yet underreported, impact of pharmaceutical waste on marine biodiversity and local livelihoods. I witnessed a village built entirely on seashells, where people struggled to access clean water. Realising the risks and effects these people faced made me more determined to make an impact through my research.”

Wulan’s research adds to a massive body of work produced at the University of Brighton contributing to progressive development of communities and systems across the world.Wulan_Stiudy UK

After receiving the award, Wulan said: “This recognition is not just a personal achievement but a spotlight on the crucial issue of environmental sustainability and water quality, and the role of scientific research in addressing global challenges. It validates the importance of my work and its potential impact beyond academic circles.

“Personally, it strengthens my resolve to continue my advocacy for environmental conservation, and the cause for clean water for everyone, and professionally it opens avenues for collaboration and support to further my research ambitions.”

As an Indonesian woman in the sciences, Wulan said: “Life in the UK and the University of Brighton catalysed a profound shift in my thinking, reinventing my identity and liberating my potential as a female scientist. Breaking free from the confines of traditional beliefs, I learnt to challenge, question, and redefine the societal and scientific standards that I had grown up surrounded by.”

Organised by the British Council, the Study UK Alumni Awards celebrate individuals who are leaders in their fields and have used their experience of studying in the UK to make positive contributions to their community and industries. The awards showcase the impact and value of UK higher education.

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