How to win your future

He beat 37,000 other hopefuls to study in Australia. Now Uttam Kumar has won a prestigious PhD scholarship from UNSW to tackle the growing problem of e-waste.

Uttam Kumar

Uttam Kumar

Winning a global competition to study in Australia was a passport to a brighter future for Indian student Uttam Kumar, who has now received a prestigious PhD scholarship to continue his studies.

Uttam won a year of free study in Australia in the Austrade ‘Win Your Future Unlimited’ 2013 competition, beating 37,000 other entries from 190 countries with his digital postcard design.

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The winning entry postcard created by Uttam Kumar.

He chose to study a Masters degree in Material Science at UNSW and says he is thrilled to receive the University International Postgraduate Award (UIPA) scholarship to continue his research into e-waste recycling.

“It took a while to sink in and then I called my parents to surprise them with the good news,” Uttam says.

The UIPA scholarship provides for the cost of tuition fees as well as a living allowance valued at $25,849 per year, for three years.

Uttam says his PhD research will examine the recycling of electronic waste, better known as e-waste, generated through products like mobile phones, laptops, and TVs.

“It is a big environmental concern,” says Uttam. “As technology is getting more advanced and the middle class is growing, the average life of electronic products is going down and so the volume of e-waste is growing at a very high rate.”

“Proper recycling of e-waste can help alleviate the growing concern of the hazardous nature of this waste and play a major role towards environment sustainability, by recovering important materials.”

Since he arrived in Australia, Uttam has written more than 20 blogs about his experience as an international student. He says he plans to continue his blogs as he completes his PhD. 

“Meeting so many great people has made my time here in Sydney truly enjoyable and memorable.”

“I really want to thank my supervisor Professor Veena Sahajwalla, and my research group, for their continued support, guidance and motivation throughout my time here at UNSW,” he says.

Read more about the Win Your Future Unlimited’ competition and visit Uttam’s blog.