News Sri Lankan Marine Biologist, Asha de Vos, wins at British Council’s first-ever...

Sri Lankan Marine Biologist, Asha de Vos, wins at British Council’s first-ever Global Alumni Awards

2018 May 26

The British Council has announced the names of three outstanding global award winners of the Study UK Alumni Awards. The Alumni Awards celebrate the outstanding achievements of alumni and showcase the impact and value of a UK higher education. Award winners and finalists are leaders in their fields who have used their experience of studying at a UK university to make a positive contribution to their communities, professions and countries. Awards are handed out for the following three categories: Professional Achievement, Entrepreneurial, and Social Impact.

Sri Lanka’s very own Asha de Vos emerged a winner of a prestigious Professional Award for her work in Marine Biology. The British Council describes her as ‘a Sri Lankan marine biologist, ocean educator and pioneer of blue whale research in the Northern Indian Ocean. As Principal Investigator, she brought together a team of international researchers to address ship strike of blue whales in Sri Lankan waters, resulting in a peer-reviewed publication and a report which she will present to the Sri Lankan Prime Minister. Her UK education helped her to think holistically about biological questions and to cultivate her passion in a structured way.’

The rigorous process of the awards included 62 finalists and 21 regional winners. As a UK alumni, Asha studied for her BSc in Marine and Environmental Biology at the University of St Andrews, and her MSc in Integrative Biosciences at the University of Oxford. The global winners will be invited to the UK for a professional networking visit.

Asha is the founder of Oceanswell, Sri Lanka’s first Marine Conservation Research and Education Organization, whose mission is to change the trajectory for the world’s oceans by educating the next generation of diverse ocean heroes, equipping students from underrepresented nations to conduct marine conservation research, and engaging everybody in conversations about the magic of our world’s oceans. Oceanswell envisions a world where all people recognize the integral role that oceans play in our planet and are equipped to work towards its preservation.

Along with these incredible achievements, Asha is also the first Sri Lankan to have a PhD in Marine Mammal Research. Her work has been showcased internationally by Channel 7 Australia, the BBC, the New York Times, CNN, WIRED UK, the New Scientist, TED, Grist, GOOD, Nature, and National Geographic.

Asha de Vos has indeed made Sri Lanka proud, and is the committed and passionate advocate for marine life that our country desperately needs for the future.