Iwu Utomo graduated from the Demography Program at the Australian National University in 1998. She returned to the Demography Program as a Postdoctoral Fellow in 2000 when she received the Merdeka Fellowship Award from the Australian Government-DETYA. She then started teaching Gender and Population and Social Research Design for graduate students in Demography. Her first appointment at ANU was with the National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health (2002-2008) where she worked closely with Prof Terence Hull on issues relating to Gender, Sexuality and Health. With Prof Hull and Prof Peter McDonald, Iwu has been successful in gaining ARC funding for Harmful Sexual Practices in Southeast Asia (2005-2008) and Indonesian Young Adults Transition to Adulthood Study (2008-2011; 2012-2015). Her longitudinal study on Transition to Adulthood in Greater Jakarta has also been awarded funding from WHO, Ford Foundation and National University of Singapore. In 2008 she received the Australian Development Research Award from AusAID to work with Prof McDonald and Prof Hull on Integrating Gender and Reproductive Health Issues in the Indonesian National Curricula. In 2014 Utomo become a research associate with CEPAR and started her new research on ageing in rural Indonesia (Gunung Kidul, Kebumen and Agam). Her research has concentrated on Indonesia and more lately on Timor Leste and Papua New Guinea.
As a fresh Psychology graduate from the University of Indonesia in 1983, Iwu was directly recruited as a lecturer at the faculty before she started her career as a bureaucrat with the Indonesian State Ministry of Population and Environment (1985-2002). She has also worked as a Gender Specialist with the Asian Development Bank, CIDA, AusAID, Australian Reproductive Health Alliance, Marie Stopes International, and Care Timor Leste. She also has won many awards, to name a few, in 2010 she won the Outstanding ANU Women Award as well as the Best Supervisor Award and in 2012 the ANU Inspiring Women.