Speakers Profile - Professor Veena Sahajwalla


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Scientia Professor Veena Sahajwalla, Director of Sustainable Materials Research & Technology Centre (SMaRT Centre @UNSW) at the University of New South Wales and Associate Dean (Strategic Industry Relations) Faculty of Science. Veena is an Australian Research Council (ARC) Future Fellow at the UNSW. Veena has been appointed as a commissioner on the Australian Government's Climate Commission.

Professor Sahajwalla is an internal award-winning scientist and engineer, whose achievements include inventing a process of recycling plastics and rubber tyres in steelmaking. The benefits of this technology for Australian and International steelmaking include reduced energy use, which means lower greenhouse gas emissions.

Veena's research interests include sustainability of materials and processes with an emphasis on environmental and community benefits. Through this interest, Veena has invented an environmentally friendly process of recycling plastics and rubber tyres in steelmaking. Veena is an international award winning scientist and engineer who has presented on her research and experiences throughout the world.

She has collaborated with Australian companies and overseas companies/institutions. She has established excellent working relationships and a deep knowledge of industrial processes and issues/problems. She has published in excess of 200 papers in journals and conference proceedings.

As the Director of UNSW's Centre for Sustainable Materials and Research and Technology (SMaRT), she has provided leadership in the research programs on sustainable materials a strong emphasis on the skills and knowledge that are urgently needed to enhance sustainability. Central to this have been her insights into the fundamental theory of high-temperature reactions, from the molecular level to industrial-scale applications, and the strong collaborative relationships she has established with industry in Australia and internationally.

In 2005, she received Eureka Prize for Scientific Research. She also received the 2006 Environmental Technology Award from Association of Iron & Steel Technology in the United States for her research into recycling waste plastics in steelmaking. She was elected as a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering (ATSE) in 2007. In 2011, she received the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Award given by the Government of India for her outstanding achievement in the field of Science and in recognition of her valuable contribution in promoting the honour and prestige of India. This is the highest honour for Overseas Indians.

In 2011 she gave talk at Tedx Sydney event: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4wMbdwfplBk . In July, 2011 she was one of judges for the Google Science Fair. In November 2011 Veena won the National Nokia Business Innovation Award at Telstra NSW Business Women's Awards, awards website. She is one of the judges for 2011 & 2012 The Australian Innovation Challenge. She won 2012 CRC Australian collaborative Innovation Award. In February, 2012 Veena completed Department of Foreign and Trade diplomacy tour of China and India promoting science and technology front to the benefit of Australia, China and India.

She received BTech, Metallurgical Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, India; MASc, Metals and Materials Engineering, University of British Columbia, Canada and PhD, Materials Science and Engineering, University of Michigan, USA.

She is passionate about science and engineering. She encourages young people to consider science and engineering as a career path; and is very active in communicating her ideas to students. She has been one of the judges on the ABC TV show, "The New Inventors".