Collaboration based on a shared vision of internationalisation

Rachma Wikandari came to the University of Borås as an exchange student in 2010 to study for a year at the Master's level through the Erasmus-Mundus programme. She then continued as a doctoral student in the field of Resource Recovery until 2014, when she defended her doctoral thesis at the University of Borås. Recently, she received a prestigious award for her research and as a young scientist.

What are you working on today?

“I am a university lecturer and researcher in biotechnology with a focus on food production by converting food waste into new foods and other products at the Department of Food and Agricultural Product Technology at Universitas Gadjah Mada.”

The University of Borås and Universitas Gadjah Mada have collaborated in many ways; can you explain more?

“We have collaborated in research and education through student and staff exchanges. We have the same vision of internationalisation. At the beginning of our collaboration, it was about developing a process to produce biogas from fruit waste at fruit markets, and today it is about converting food waste into new foods and other products with the help of fungi.

We help each other to develop knowledge and have written around 20 research scientific articles together. Through our collaboration, we develop solutions for how to secure access to food through new ways of producing food.”

You were recently awarded a very prestigious award. What was that about?

“I was invited to a world congress, the 21st IUFoST World Congress 2022 Singapore, the largest of its kind in food science, where I received the IUFoST Young Scientist Award. I got to talk about my research in front of 1,200 delegates from 60 countries. The prize is awarded to young scientists who have contributed in a significant way and who are seen as future leaders in the field.

My research is about developing a meat substitute from a special type of fungi that we grow on waste products from industrial food production. In this case, it is about growing fungi on water left over after boiling soybeans for the production of the food product tempe, in which a lot of water is used. The fungi we grow have a high nutrition value.”

What does the award mean to you?

“It is a great recognition of my work and shows that even if we in a developing country often face challenges such as limitations in our research facilities, do not be discouraged – keep on moving forward and contribute to solving problems in the surrounding society and to address global issues. It is important to think globally and act locally.”

What does your time at the University of Borås mean to you?

“This is where I developed into a researcher. I learned critical and analytical thinking, to think innovatively to solve problems.”

What will happen next within the collaboration between the University of Borås and Universitas Gadjah Mada?

“In January, a colleague of mine will come to Borås through a Linnaeus-Palme exchange. She will teach and work in the lab here for six weeks. Three students from GMU will also come to Borås and will stay here for one term. Later in the spring, I will come here to teach and work in the lab as well.”

Read more

Research in Resource Recovery