Professor Nizam earned B.Eng from Universitas Gadjah Mada, M.Sc in River, Estuarine, and Coastal Engineering and Ph.D in Civil Engineering from Imperial College of Science & Technology, University of London, United Kingdom.
In 2003 he was a Visiting Professor at University of Massachusetts and a Visiting Professor at United States Geological Survey. Since 2007 he has been a professor at Faculty of Engineering, Universitas Gadjah Mada. In 2014 he was appointed as Head of Center of Education Appraisal, Ministry of Education and Culture of Indonesia.
He had been actively involved as an expert team member in many community service projects in disaster management, including Water Supply and Sanitation Provision and Community-Based Disaster Mitigation in Boyolali (2012), Coastal Protection against Run-Up Tsunami Waves with Coastal Forests (Greenbelt) (2014), and Renovation of Learning Facilities at Sleman (2016).
His outstanding achievements have won him awards, including Best Paper, 21st International Congress of the Asia and Pacific Division, of the International Association for Hydraulic Research (2001), Distinguished Professorship Award, ASEAN University Network – AUN, Chulalongkorn University, Hewlett Packard Award for e-learning (team member) (2007), and Charter of Honor of the President of the Republic Indonesia, Satyalancana Karya Satya (2012).