Senior Professor Paul Cooper

Emeritus Professor

Citation delivered by Senior Professor Gursel Alici, Executive Dean of the Faculty of Engineering and Information Sciences at the University of Wollongong on the occasion of the admission of Paul Cooper as an Emeritus Professor of the University on 31 October 2023.

Deputy Chancellor, I present Senior Professor Paul Cooper.

Over his 35 years of outstanding service, Paul Cooper has driven a revolution in sustainable building and technological innovation and transformed the University’s sustainability direction.

Paul’s long-standing research excellence spans a variety of topics ranging from sustainable buildings to renewable energy systems, air conditioning and ventilation systems, energy efficiency, advanced thermodynamics, and fluid mechanics. Joining UOW in 1988, Paul became the Head of the School of Mechanical, Materials and Mechatronic Engineering in 2008 before taking up his career-defining role as Director of the Sustainable Buildings Research Centre (SBRC) in 2010.

The iconic Sustainable Buildings Research Centre grew from Paul’s singular vision. He was a key member of the team that secured funding for the building and drove its conception, design and construction to the most stringent sustainability standards. The 6-Star Green Star certified world-class research facility remains the only building in Australia – and one of just three outside the US – awarded full Living Building status.

This, alongside his wider research and robust industry collaborations, has inspired a wave of new projects and influenced the building industry’s capacity and desire to deliver more sustainable projects.

Paul was appointed a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Refrigeration and Air Conditioning and Heating (AIRAH) in 2018, and, in 2019 he added the James Harrison Medal for his lifetime contribution to the industry to his many accolades.

Paul spearheaded UOW’s highly successful engagement with the international Solar Decathlon competitions. He led a team of students to win first place in the Solar Decathlon in China in 2013 and played a vital role in Team UOW’s Desert Rose Solar Decathlon House campaign taking second place in the Middle East competition in 2018.

A respected and insightful academic leader, Paul has guided UOW’s Environmental Plan and implemented sustainability measures that place the University in excellent stead to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030. He has also led innovations in teaching and learning, including establishing the highly popular Bachelor of Engineering Honours in Architectural Engineering.

Paul has supervised over 100 undergraduate and postgraduate research students, and mentored countless academic staff, which he has continued to do in his retirement.

Deputy Chancellor, Senior Professor Paul Cooper’s contribution to research, teaching, learning, governance and community engagement at the University, and to creating a more sustainable future for industry and society, is unparalleled.

It is a privilege to present Senior Professor Paul Cooper to be admitted as an Emeritus Professor of the University of Wollongong.