Science

Award: UNSW spearheads list of Australia's most influential women

Scientia Professor Veena Sahajwalla
Thursday, 24 September, 2015
Deborah Smith and Dan Wheelahan

Scientia Professor Veena Sahajwalla and Associate Professor Barbara Junghans have been recognised in the '100 Women of Influence Awards for 2015’

In total, six high-achieving UNSW academics and four alumnae were named as winners of the prestigious annual awards, bestowed by The Australian Financial Review and Westpac. The 100 women were selected across 10 categories: board/management, innovation, public policy, business enterprise, diversity, young leader, local/regional, global, culture and social enterprise/not-for-profit.

UNSW’s strength as an innovation hub was acknowledged with three UNSW researchers named as women of influence in the innovation category, including Professor Sahajwalla of the School of Materials Science and Engineering.

In 2014 Professor Sahajwalla, who is UNSW Science’s Associate Dean Strategic Industry Relations, was awarded a prestigious Laureate Fellowship worth $2.37 million over six years to undertake her research on transforming toxic electronic waste into high value-added metals and alloys.

It includes additional funding to help promote female participation in science and she has launched a Science 50:50 initiative to encourage girls into science degrees and careers.

Associate Professor Junghans, of the School of Optometry and Vision Science was recognised in the Local/regional category for her contribution to optometric education as well as her administrative endeavours in  the sport of orienteering and the launching of bush care in her local area.

The 500 entrants for 2015 were assessed by a panel of judges and have been recognised based on 'their outstanding ability to demonstrate vision, leadership, innovation and action in and beyond their fields’.

The UNSW women of influence for 2015 are:

  • Scientia Professor Veena Sahajwalla, Director of the Centre for Sustainable Materials Research and Technology (Innovation)
  • Professor Maria Kavallaris, the co-director of the Australian Centre for NanoMedicine and Program Head at the Children’s Cancer Institute (Innovation) 
  • Conjoint Professor Karen Canfell, based at the Cancer Council NSW (Innovation)
  • Scientia Professor Jane McAdam, Director of the Andrew & Renata Kaldor Centre for International Refugee Law (Global)
  • Conjoint Professor Theresa Jacques from the St George and Sutherland Clinical School (Public Policy) 
  • Associate Professor Barbara Junghans from the School of Optometry and Vision Science (Local/Regional)

The UNSW alumnae women of influence for 2015 are:

  • Business School alumna Julie-Anne Mizzi (Board/management)
  • Business School alumna Lucinda Brogden (Public policy)
  • Faculty of Law alumna Claire Hammerton (Social enterprise/not-for-profit)
  • School of Mining Engineering alumna Turia Pitt (Young leader)

The overall winner and category winners will be announced on Thursday October 15, 2015.

Read more in the Australian Financial Review.

For more on UNSW's trailblazing women, see 15 women changing our world.

Associate Professor Barbara Junghans