Veena Sahajwalla


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Australian Research Council (ARC) Laureate Professor Veena Sahajwalla is an internationally recognised materials scientist, engineer and inventor revolutionising recycling science. She is renowned for pioneering the high temperature transformation of waste in the production of a new generation of ‘green materials.’

As the founding Director of the Centre for Sustainable Materials Research and Technology (SMaRT) at the University of New South Wales, Sydney, she is leading the production of a new generation of green materials and products made entirely, or primarily, from waste. In 2018 Veena launched the world’s first e-waste microfactory and in 2019 she launched a plastics microfactory, a recycling technology breakthrough.

Veena also heads up the ARC Industrial Transformation Research Hub for ‘green manufacturing’, a leading national research centre that works in collaboration with industry to ensure new recycling science is translated into real world environmental and economic benefits.

  • In 2013, Veena received the ‘Howe Memorial Lecture Award’, Pittsburgh, USA in appreciation for her lecture on ‘The Power of Steelmaking – harnessing high temperature reactions to transform waste into raw material resources’.
  • In 2015, Veena named Australia’s 100 Most Influential Engineers, both by Engineers Australia
  • In 2016, Veena was named one of Australia’s Most Innovative Engineers
  • In 2018 she was elected as Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science.
  • In 2019, she was honoured by Engineers Australia as a Centenary Hero for her work.
  • In 2019 she was appointed inaugural Director of the Circular Economy Innovation Network by the NSW Government through its Office of Chief Scientist and Engineer.

Expert commentary

Materials innovation and technology

As featured


  • AU manufacturing, 2020
  • The Guardian – ‘Nothing should be classified as waste’: crisis is opportunity for Veena Sahajwalla, 2019
  • The Australian – Turning trash into treasure, 2019
  • Domain – The circular economy: How plastic could be used to create more sustainable homewares, 2019
  • Government News – NSW innovation network for circular economy, 2019
  • AFR – Far-reaching effects for Women of Influence winners, 2019
  • The Conversation – Building the nation will be impossible without engineers, 2014

Event presentation and broadcast media

  • Ted X, Revising Waste, 2011
  • The Guardian, The Green Recovery: how Australia can close the recycling loop, 2020
  • ABC Q&A, 2019