About Us

The Sustainable Communities and Waste (SCaW) Hub is part of the second phase of the Australian Government’s National Environmental Science Program (NESP).

The Hub has been tasked to research ways to reduce the effects of plastic, support sustainable people-environment interactions and offer options to minimise impacts of hazardous substances and pollutants, using its cutting edge technical capabilities, particularly in the fields of waste and materials processing.

The Hub is hosted by UNSW and led by Australian Research Council Laureate Professor Veena Sahajwalla, a materials scientist, engineer, inventor and a founding Director of UNSW’s Centre for Sustainable Materials Research and Technology (SMaRT).

It is a consortium of five world-class research institutions: UNSW Sydney, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), Monash University (MU), Curtin University (CU), and the University of Tasmania (UTas), and various industry, government and community partners.

The Government's announced on 10 December 2020 of the second phase of NESP, an investment of $149 million from 2021-2027 across 4 new research hubs:

Here is a link to the Hub webpage on the NESP website.

NESP Hubs are funded and auspiced by the Australian Government Department of Climate Change, Energy and the Environment and Water (formerly known as the Department of Agriculture, Water and Environment (DAWE)).

The Hub works closely with the Department and our many partners to identify shared outcomes through a co-designed national research program, delivered locally through our urban and regional networks, and in particular with Indigenous communities and networks.

The Hub acknowledges the traditional custodians of the land on which we work across Australia. We pay our respects to elders past, present, and future.

Our vision

SCaW Hub vision graphic2
  • Create more sustainable communities and reduce waste impact through innovative, participatory, and circular-based planning, design and supply-chains.
  • Transforming waste materials via new science to form the foundation of scalable and local waste to value solutions that are industry, end user focussed.
  • Embracing reconciliation and greater caring for our unique ecosystems by working with our First Peoples to build enduring relationships and sustainable communities.
  • Improving environmental outcomes through better management of waste, pollution and air quality.
  • Increased prosperity and jobs creation by aligning and boosting Australia’s recycling and manufacturing capacity.