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Milestone Alert: KIU’s Dr. Zubeda Ukundimana Wins OWSD-Elsevier Foundation Research Prize


KIU, Western Campus – Dr. Zubeda Ukundimana from the Department of Civil Engineering in the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) has been awarded the prestigious 2024 Organization for Women in Science for the Developing World (OWSD), Elsevier Foundation award for early-career women scientists in the developing world.

In the announcement made on Friday, March 22nd, 2024, Dr. Zubeda was awarded the prize alongside four other women scientists from the developing world.

The other four women include Augustina Clara Alexander from the University of Dar-es-Salaam, Tasrina Rabia Choudhury from the Bangladesh Atomic Energy Commission, Shirani Manel Kumari Widana Gamage from the University of Ruhuna in Sri Lanka and Lidia Antonella Rivera Peñalva from the Coral Reef Alliance in Honduras.

Dr. Ukundimana said that being recognized by such big and reputable organisations like the Elsevier Foundation and OWSD for the award means a lot to her academically and professionally.

“First of all, I understood the need to do research which tackles community problems, to do research that is publishable in internationally peer-reviewed journals and as an academician to not only teach but also to reach out to the community and help to achieve a sustainably good environment,” she revealed.

“Professionally as a lecturer and a mentor, this award gives me what to show to the mentee to look up to me and as an achievement when I speak to them trying to inspire them,” she added.

She also says that she intends to use the award to do more to build her legacy when it comes to being useful to the world and to inspire colleagues to do the same, especially for the young students they teach. 

According to Elsevier, Dr. Ukundimana’s research has focused on assessing the wetland vulnerability to wastewater and developing treatment processes for abating pollutants concentration to protect receiving water bodies.

Currently, she coordinates the North-South Alliance for inclusive water, sanitation, and hygiene – bringing together international partners to confront challenges of water supply and sanitation through mutual co-operation.