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About us

Founded in 2008 by ARC Laureate Fellow, Scientia Professor Veena Sahajwalla, the Centre for Sustainable Materials Research and Technology (SMaRT) at the University of New South Wales works with industry, global research partners, not-for-profits, local, state and federal governments, on the development of innovative environmental solutions for the world’s biggest waste challenges.

The UNSW SMaRT Centre is renowned for pioneering the transformation of waste for use as a new generation of ‘green’ materials and products. We lead visionary research programs that foster innovation and promote collaboration with industry and end-users to ensure scientific advances are readily translated into commercially-viable solutions. SMaRT is building an unparalleled portfolio of new ‘recycling science’ knowledge and technologies that reform problematic wastes which are not usually subject to conventional recycling, thus ending up in landfill and stockpiles. 

Veena is perhaps best known for her Green Steel invention and a range of other innovative technologies and products, including the SMaRT Centre's MICROfactorieTM technologies, as well as for her many years of media appearances and commentary, including as a judge on the ABC TV series, The New Inventors.

Our goals

  • Lead scientific and engineering research advances in the sustainability of materials and manufacturing processes.
  • Develop novel and innovative technologies and products which reduce environmental impact and enhance community benefits.
  • Activate world leading sustainability research all the way through the innovation–research–development–translation value chain in partnership with industry.
  • Collaboratively address the scientific and engineering barriers to transformative technologies for industry by creating a platform to enable more engagement, greater immersion opportunities and broader impact for SMaRT Centre research worldwide.
  • Using and investigating innovations like MICROfactorieTM technologies to evolve our capability to reform waste into value-added materials in both regional and urban areas.
  • Create incentives and frameworks to improve waste management.
  • Help redefine waste so it is seen as a resource to help meet our materials challenges, including for the electrification of society.
  • Develop strategies, thought leadership and new options to process waste streams subject to the new and future Australian Government export bans.
  • Establish new supply chains connecting producers.

Please see our range of research programs for more details about ongoing and past research initiatives and outcomes.

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Professor Sahajwalla is the recipient of an Australian Research Council Georgina Sweet Australian Laureate Fellowship. This Fellowship supports her project in e-waste research and her founding the Science 50:50 program to inspire young women into science (Note: Science 50:50 has is now part of the Girls in Science initiative at UNSW Science.)

SMaRT supports the UN's Sustainable Development Goals, and in particular SDGs 7, 11 and 12, as per this UNSW announcement. Read more about UNSW's SDG work.

SMaRT@UNSW is also a founding member of the the NSW Government and WWF-Australia sponsored Materials & Embodied Carbon Leaders’ Alliance (MECLA).

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