Urban sustainability expert Anu Ramaswami honored for leadership in engineering and global outreach

July 13, 2022

Anu Ramaswami, an interdisciplinary environmental engineer and leader on the topic of sustainable urban systems, has received the 2022 Steven K. Dentel AEESP Award for Global Outreach from the Association of Environmental Engineering and Science Professors (AEESP).

Ramaswami, Princeton’s Sanjay Swani ’87 Professor of India Studies, is the inaugural director of the University’s Chadha Center for Global India. She is a professor of civil and environmental engineering, at the Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies, and the High Meadows Environmental Institute.

She leads the Urban Nexus Lab, which explores how seven key sectors — providing water, energy, food, buildings, mobility, connectivity, waste management, and green and public spaces — shape human and environmental wellbeing, from local to global scales. Her work integrates environmental science and engineering, industrial ecology, public health, and public affairs, with a human-centered and systems focus.

In conferring the award, the AEESP cited Ramaswami’s “technological advancements to transform cities to sustainable urban systems. She pioneered the field of sustainable urban systems science to draw the connections between the built environment” and multiple sustainability outcomes. The association recognized her for research, teaching, and mentoring that have influenced “science, students, and real-world policies that impact the lives of people in cities in the U.S., India, and China.”

Ramaswami is the lead principal investigator and director of the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF)-supported Sustainable Healthy Cities Network and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s project on Sustainable Urban Food Actions at the Food-Energy-Water Nexus. She serves on the United Nations Environment Programme’s International Resource Panel and the steering committee of the Global Carbon Project and chairs the upcoming Gordon Conference on Industrial Ecology. She has served on the NSF’s Advisory Committee for Environmental Research and Education. She is also the recipient of the 2022 Science Award from the American Academy of Environmental Engineers and Scientists.

Ramaswami received her B.S. in chemical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology Madras in Chennai and her Ph.D. in civil and environmental engineering from Carnegie Mellon University. She was on the faculty of the Colorado School of Mines, the University of Colorado-Denver, and the University of Minnesota before joining Princeton in 2019.