The path to a successful career in manufacturing and making a positive impact

Australian Research Council (ARC) Laureate Professor Veena Sahajwalla is an internationally recognised materials scientist, engineer and inventor revolutionising recycling science. As a leading expert in the field of recycling science, and founding Director of the Centre for Sustainable Materials Research & Technology at UNSW. Veena is producing a new generation of green materials, products and resources made entirely, or primarily, from waste. Veena also heads the ARC Industrial Transformation Research Hub for ‘green manufacturing’ – a leading national research centre that works in collaboration with industry to ensure new science is translated into real world environmental and economic benefits. Veena has been extensively recognised for the innovation and significance of her work, including via election to be a Fellow of the esteemed Australian Academy of Science. At the Women in Manufacturing Summit 2023, Veena examined how to use sustainability and circular economy strategies to improve environmental, social, and financial bottom lines in manufacturing. CAN YOU BRIEFLY INTRODUCE YOURSELF? I grew up Mumbai, which is such a fabulous city with so much going on. As a child, it was about understanding, first and foremost, how people actually made a living. It always impressed me that people would do this by fixing shoes, clothes and all kinds of electronic stuff that we had at home. To me, the creation of all these products out of things that were supposedly broken was really fascinating. I see my work not just as science and engineering, but as wider social reform. I have lived with my family in Australia for almost 30 years. WHAT ARE YOU DOING NOW? I’m the Director of the UNSW Sustainable Materials Research and Technology (SMaRT) Centre where we are known for pioneering the high temperature transformation of waste in the production of a new generation of ‘green materials’. Our best […]