Waste research scientist, engineer, Architecture & Design podcast guest and Sustainability Summit Speaker Veena Sahajwalla has been named NSW’s Australian of the Year for 2022.

The Founding Director of the UNSW’s Centre for Sustainable Research and Technology was named the recipient of the award at Sydney’s Luna Park earlier this week. 

As per her biography on the UNSW website, Sahajwalla is producing a new generation of green materials, products and resources made entirely, or primarily, from waste. Sahajwalla 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. 

Acclaimed by her peers due to her innovative practices, Sahajwalla was recently elected to be a Fellow of the esteemed Australian Academy of Science. NSW Premier, Dominic Perrottet, says the Sahajwalla, along with three other recipients of awards at the ceremony, embody the Australian spirit. 

“Despite life’s challenges, they (the award winners) have led the way in founding social, environmental and life-saving initiatives,” he says.

“All are selfless in their dedication, and their individual stories remind us all that we have the power to help others, to bring about real change and to improve the lives of many in the community,” he said in a statement.

Sahajwalla was a guest speaker at the Sustainability Summit last Thursday, speaking at the first session titled Circular Economy Ideas for Adaptive Reuse Of Buildings. The scientist, along with a number of experts, explored how circular economy strategies seek to reduce the total resources extracted from the environment in order to reduce the waste that human activities generate in pursuit of modern design. 

Veena was also featured on Episode 65 of Talking Architecture & Design with Branko Miletic. Speaking alongside Mirvac's General Manager Design, Marketing & Sales, Diana Sarcasmo, the scientist outlined how building from waste is set to revolutionise Australia's apartment building industry.

To view the episode, click here.