Veena a 2022 ATSE Clunies Ross Innovation Award winner

UNSW SMaRT Centre Director, Professor Veena has been named the the ATSE Clunies Ross Innovation Award winner for her globally recognised waste transformation technologies.

Specifically, the award recognises SMaRT's "patented Polymer Injection Technology known as Green SteelTM where waste rubber can be used instead of coke and coal, for a better, more environmentally sustainable steel making process" and  for "commercialising their breakthrough MICROfactorieTM Technologies that transform diverse wastes – including textiles, glass and plastics – into products such as high-grade filaments for 3D printing and Green Ceramics for the built environment".

Veena was one of nine award category winners announced by the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering (ATSE).


ATSE President Hugh Bradlow said the award winners demonstrate the cutting-edge creativity of Australian innovators.

“Nominated by their peers, ATSE Award winners are tech and innovation game-changers at all career levels and show the breadth of Australian talent in the fields of engineering, technology and applied science,” Professor Bradlow said.


Image caption: Veena (centre) with (from left); Anirban Ghose, Head of MICROfactorie Technologies, SMaRT Centre; Stuart Snell, Head of Strategy, Stakeholders and Communication, SMaRT Centre; Prof Michael Ferry, Head of UNSW School of Materials Science & Engineering; and Mark Sterbic, Business Development Manager, UNSW Knowledge Exchange.

“From innovating in the skies, where the best training is given to the next generation of our pilots, and drone flight monitoring is streamlined; down under the sea, where we can trace the origins of our food to ensure sustainability and best practice approaches to fishing.

“These award winners demonstrate the potential of brilliant Australian R&D,” said Professor Bradlow.

“As we move towards a net zero emissions future, their inventions are paving the way for increased solar panel efficiency and affordability to meet demand; and helping end waste by bringing new life to materials, and new approaches to sustainable resource processing and production.”

Veena said: “It’s an incredible honour to be awarded the 2022 Clunies Ross Innovation Award that recognises the discovery, development and adoption of technology that has significantly improved societal or industry capabilities. What drives me and the team at the UNSW SMaRT Centre is developing solutions for real world sustainability challenges that help deliver better social, environmental and economic outcomes."

"Climate change narratives often overlook the need for more sustainable manufacturing and waste management practices. Using "renewable" waste resources to help build the hardware and infrastructure required for global electrification and decarbonisation also helps take the pressure of having to mine finite natural resource. Manufacturing that aligns with innovative waste management, recycling and materials circularity are central to delivering a more sustainable future,” she added.

UNSW Dean of Science Professor Sven Rogge congratulated Prof. Sahajwalla on receiving the prestigious Clunies Ross Innovation Award.

“Professor Sahajwalla, an internationally renowned materials scientist, engineer and trailblazer in the field of recycling has invented a patented Polymer Injection Technology known as Green Steel where waste rubber can be used instead of coal, for a better and more environmentally sustainable steel-making process,” Prof. Rogge said. “I congratulate her on being recognised for this wonderful and innovative accomplishment.”

UNSW Newsroom story

ATSE announcement

Waste Management Review news story