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UK’s ICE: Anusha Shah takes over as first Indian-origin President

November 10, 2023 5:47 PM IST

Science and Engineering | ICE | anusha Shah

Anusha Shah has made history as the first Indian-origin president of the Institute of Civil Engineers (ICE), a UK-based professional association with a 205-year legacy and 95,000 members. In her inaugural address at ICE’s London headquarters, Shah, a specialist in water and environmental engineering with over 22 years of experience, focused on the theme of nature-positive civil engineering.

“My presidential year will be about how we become a nature and people-positive profession at heart,” Shah stated.

“We have failed to understand the interrelationship between infrastructure and nature. We are implementing nature-based and green solutions globally but in pockets. It’s not the norm yet,” she said

According to Professor Shah, in her 40s, construction is responsible for 30 percent of biodiversity loss around the world, but adopting a nature and people-positive approach will enable engineers to reverse the environmental decline.

Shah grew up in Kashmir where the natural surroundings and their interaction with the built-up elements fascinated her from an early age. It was at the age of 23 that Shah discovered a consultancy in New Delhi working on the conservation of the Dal Lake in Kashmir and turned up at their office to talk her way into a consulting project engineer’s role.

She went on to become one of only two candidates to win a prestigious Commonwealth scholarship in 1999 and came to the UK to pursue an MSc in Water & Environmental Engineering at the University of Surrey.

In 2021, the University of Wolverhampton gave her an honorary professorship for knowledge transfer. Shah’s other firsts include the youngest ever and first female chair of the Institution of Civil Engineers, London Region, before becoming a fellow of ICE in 2016. Two years later, she founded the climate change consultancy Plan for Earth with a focus on creating awareness around the climate crisis. 

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