Our research students are fundamental to the success of the Sustainable Buildings Research Centre. We welcome applications from prospective research students wanting to undertake a PhD or Masters by Research in the area of sustainability and innovation. For further information on academic opportunities or guidance about possible project areas and supervisors please contact us.

PhD opportunity with SBRC

We have a new PhD Scholarship available, "Data driven methods for delivering demand flexibility from non residential buildings". Read through the criteria, if it sounds like you, apply today!

PhD scholarship Browse UOW Scholarships

Meet our researchers

Associate Professor Georgios Kokogiannakis Associate Professor Georgios Kokogiannakis
Dr Emma Heffernan Dr Emma Heffernan
Senior Professor Paul Cooper Senior Professor Paul Cooper
Find a supervisor

Research areas and topics

A wide range of potential research topics are available for PhD and Masters students.


  • Thermal energy storage using phase change materials
  • Desiccant cooling technology
  • Commercial building energy efficiency
  • Off-grid renewable heating and cooling
  • Understanding thermal comfort and energy consumption in Social Housing.
  • Energy efficiency, comfort and health in low-income households.
  • Health and comfort implications of low energy retrofit strategies. 
  • Energy monitoring, energy efficiency and indoor environmental quality in buildings
  • Demand management in electricity networks using renewable generation, energy storage and demand reduction enabled appliances
  • Auxiliary services for grid-connected renewable distributed generation and microgrid
  • Solar photovoltaics performance evaluation and optimisation
  • Building data analytics and deep learning
  • Building performance simulation
  • Monitoring of building energy performance
  • Internet of Things, Big Data and smart buildings
  • Construction supply chain development in indigenous communities: empowerment vs dictate 
  • Building information modelling
  • Computational fluid dynamics
  • Vertical extension of buildings using cold-formed steel
  • Construction 4.0 – moving construction into the digital age
  • The role of construction for the circular economy model 
  • Recycled materials in construction
  • Thermal performance of Full scale façade systems
  • Sustainable Prefabricated buildings
  • Occupant behaviours and thermal ergonomics including physiology and sensor development
  • Ventilation in hospitals and residential aged care

Research Students

There is a range of Higher Degree Research (HDR) scholarships and awards available for eligible full-time HDR research students at UOW.

Research projects of students


Thesis Title


Jacqueline Thim

Thermal behavior of the “Desert Rose House 2018” in a defined climatic zone depending on varied wall and roof constructions

Emma Heffernan, Paul CooperTimothy McCarthy, Alan Green

Essam Jnead

Performance of rapid assembly connections in modular cold-formed steel constructions

Timothy McCarthy, Lip Teh, Aziz Ahmed

Alberto Escribano

Lean/ Bim implementation in the construction sector

Timothy McCarthy, Tillmann Boehme

Ross Prandalos

Behaviour of foamed concrete incorporating recycled glass at fibre reinforcement

Neaz Sheikh, Timothy McCarthy

Abdullah Muhamad Ali Al-rawabdeh

An Investigation on the Analysis and Design of Screw Pile Foundations

Vinod Jayan Sylaja, Timothy McCarthy, Martin Liu

Kirthi Chetty

Cultivating Anaerobic Granules for Enhanced Self-healing Concrete in Wastewater Infrastructure

Guangming Jiang, Timothy McCarthy, Faisal Hai

Kanchana Wijayawardena

Exploring the Use of a Care-Focused Approach to Foster Gender Inclusion in the Construction Industry in Australia

Shamika Almeida, Timothy McCarthy, Nadia Zainuddin

James Roth

Optimised Behaviour of Load-Bearing Tensegrities

Timothy McCarthy, Alex Remennikov

Raed Abdelqader

Modelling of Power Quality Disturbances for Improved Mitigation Techniques

Duane Robinson, Sarath Perera

Obaidur Rahman

Integration of Renewables, Storage Devices and Electric Vehicles into the Future Power Grids

Duane Robinson, Sarath Perera, Sean Elphick

Edward Smith

Cooperative Strategies for Improving Power Quality, Utilisation and Resilience in Operation and Control of Microgrids

Duane Robinson, Ashish Agalgaonkar

Jude Suchithra Warnakulasuriya Warnakulasuriya

Power quality impact of utility-scale renewable energy generators on distribution systems

Duane Robinson, Amin Rajabi

Yeganeh Baghi

Delivering innovation in engineering as part of the Solar Decathlon.

Duane Robinson, Zhenjun Ma, Tillmann Boehme

Amin Jalilian

Advanced Protection Schemes for Future Power Grids Containing Renewables

Duane Robinson, Amin Rajabi

Imanka Ranmanna Dewayalage

An on-site calibration system for high/medium voltage power system high frequency measurements

Duane Robinson, Sarath Perera, Sean Elphick

Sean Elphick

Power Quality in Modern Electricity Distribution Systems

Duane Robinson, Sarath Perera, Jon Knott

Jason David

Harmonic Investigation of Large-Scale Wind and Solar Farms

Duane Robinson, Sarath Perera, Vic Gosbell

Samadhi Korale Liyanage

Development of high Fidelity models for large scale solar energy generating systems

Sarath Perera, Duane Robinson

Mututantrige Kasun Darshana Peiris

Power Quality Improvement of Distribution Networks with Distributed Energy Resources

Duane Robinson, Sarath Perera, Sean Elphick

Noah Biddle

Control and Visualisation Method for Small-Scale Microgrid

Duane Robinson, Craig McLauchlan

Zhipeng QI

Stand-alone power system with renewable energy sources

Md Rabiul Islam, Amin Rajabi, Md.Ashib Rahman

Alexander Rainer

Small Signal Stability Aspects Associated with Integrated Wind-HVDC systems

Sarath Perera, Ashish Agalgaonkar, Nalin Pahalawaththa

Pathum Maduranga Sudasinghe Sudasinghege

Study of Three Phase Induction Motor Operation Under Unbalanced Supply Voltages

Sarath Perera, Jeff Moscrop, Philip Commins

Dilhani Madhusha Chathurangi Weerasingha Liyanage

Development of Methodologies for the Evaluation of Solar PV Hosting Capacity in LV Networks Constrained by Voltage Rise

Sarath Perera, Upuli Jayatunga, Tilak Siyambalapitiya, Ashish Agalgaonkar

Quange Tong

Thermoelectric enhanced photovoltaic systems for environmentally friendly building

Zhenjun Ma, Amin Rajabi

Muhammad Bilal Awan

Development of Innovative Solutions for Building Energy Performance Management and Optimization

Zhenjun Ma, Wenye Lin

Jingjing Liu

Membrane-based desiccant cooling and dehumidification

Zhenjun Ma, Faisal Hai

Xinlei Zhou

Ground Source Heat Pump Systems for Enhanced Building Performance

Zhenjun Ma, Wenye Lin, Ping Cui

Xinyi Sha

Heating Characteristics and Optimization of a Solar Assisted Air Source Heat Pump based on Phase Change Material Energy Storage in Different Climates

Zhenjun Ma, Subbu Sethuvenkatraman

Shengteng Li

Development and evaluation of a direct expansion solar assisted heat pump with PCMs in photovoltaic thermal collectors

Zhenjun Ma, Wenye Lin

Yixuan Li

Research on Heat Transfer of the Closed-Loop Thermosyphon System with Microencapsulated Phase Change Material Suspension

Zhenjun Ma, Xuemei Gong

Craig Pickup

Evaluation of Retrofitting Commercial and Industrial Buildings for Energy Efficiency and Improved Work Environments

Zhenjun Ma, Clayton McDowell

Han Du

Robustness Enhancement for Air-conditioning Unit Sequencing Control under Uncertainty

Zhenjun Ma, Yale Carden, Natasa Nord

Menglong Lu

Optimal Design And Operation Analysis Of District Heating System Based On TRNSYS

Zhenjun Ma, Georgios Kokogiannakis

Dilini Nishadika Gunathilake Wickrama Achchige

Household Energy Efficiency and Comfort: Development of Building Simulation and Rating Tools that Incorporate Realistic Occupant Practices

Georgios Kokogiannakis, Paul Cooper, Massimo Fiorentini

Anneleise Carratt

Develop Building Energy Modelling Techniques to Optimise Energy Retrofit Measures in Residential Buildings

Georgios Kokogiannakis; Daniel Daly

Maedeh Motalebi

BIM-GIS platform integration for intelligent data-driven decision making towards sustainable building construction in Australia

Emma Heffernan, Timothy McCarthy

Yao Xiao

Indoor air quality against Sars-CoV-2 in higher education buildings

Timothy McCarthy, Zhenjun Ma

Kate Wingrove

Volume SUSTAINABuild: Embedding Sustainability into Expectations for, and Delivery of, Volume Build Homes.

Emma Heffernan, Daniel Daly

Atiyeh Ebrahimi

Simultaneous Wastewater Treatment and Power Generation using Constructed Wetland and Microbial Fuel Cell

MS Sivakumar, Ashley Ansari, Craig McLauchlan

Yao Xiao

Ventilation for Covid Infection Control in Existing Australian Health care setting

Zhenjun Ma, Paul Cooper, Alan Green, Timothy McCarthy


2022 HDR Completions


Project title


Dissawe Mudiyanselage Lasanthika Harshani Dissawa

Utilisation of Inexpensive Sky-Imaging Technology for Irradiance Forecasting of Distributed Solar PV Generation

Janaka B. Ekanayake, Roshan I. Godaliyaddaa, Parakrama B. Ekanayakea, Ashish P. Agalgaonkar, Sarath Perera, Duane Robinson

Steven Beltrame

Thermal Performance of Apartment Buildings in Australia: Measurements, Modelling, and Codes

Paul Cooper, Zhenjun Ma

2021 HDR Completions


Project title


Clayton McDowell

Energy efficient retrofits of residential buildings

Georgios Kokogiannakis, Paul Cooper

Ahmed Al-Bdoor

Development, Performance Evaluation and Design Optimisation of an Air-to-air Membrane Enthalpy Exchanger

Zhenjun Ma, Paul Cooper

Brendan Banfield

Model Predictive Control of Distributed Energy Resources in Smart Buildings and Grids

Duane Robinson, Phil Ciufo, Ashish P. Agalgaonkar

Tuan Vu

Harmonic Allocation to Major Loads in Transmission Systems

Duane Robinson, Vic Gosbell, Sarath Perera, Rizah Memisevic

2020 HDR Completions


Project title


Kehua Li

Energy performance assessment of campus buildings using data mining technologies

Zhenjun Ma, Duane Robinson

Haoshan Ren

Development, Modelling and Performance Assessment of Phase Change Enhanced Desiccant Cooling

Zhenjun Ma, Weihua Li, Stefan Gschwander

Dilini Darmawardana

Higher Frequency Emissions in the Range of 2 - 150 kHz (Supraharmonics) in Electricity Distribution Networks

Sarath Perera, Duane Robinson, Phil Ciufo, Jan Meyer, Upuli Jayatunga

Asanga Jayawardana

Development of a Model Predictive Control Method to Optimise the Operation of a Residential System with Battery Storage and Solar PV Generation

Ashish P. Agalgaonkar, Duane Robinson, Massimo Fiorentini

Ana Villaça

A methodology to characterise the potential for sustainability retrofits in small commercial and retail buildings in regional centres

Emma Heffernan, Timothy McCarthy

2019 HDR Completions


Project title


Nicholas Franklin

Loadbearing Cold-Formed Steel for Mid-Rise Residential Buildings in Australia

Timothy McCarthy, Lip Teh, Emma Heffernan

Wenke Fan

Development, modelling and optimisation of high-temperature photovoltaic thermal system

Georgios Kokogiannakis, Zhenjun Ma

Alan Green

Sprinkler systems for the protection of buildings from wildfire

Paul Cooper

2018 HDR Completions


Project title


Lei Xia

Performance evaluation and optimisation of stand-alone ground source heat pumps and hybrid ground source heat pumps with integrated solar photovoltaic thermal collectors

Zhenjun Ma, Georgios Kokogiannakis

Navid Asadzadeh Aghdaei

Energy retrofitting of existing residential buildings: developing a decision process for energy saving and cost effectiveness

Timothy McCarthy, Georgios Kokogiannakis

Wenye Lin

Building performance enhancement using phase change materials and solar photovoltaic thermal systems

Zhenjun Ma, Georgios Kokogiannakis

Xiang Deng

Indoor Thermal Comfort in Naturally Ventilated and Mixed-mode Ventilated Buildings

Zhenjun Ma, Paul Cooper, Georgios Kokogiannakis

2017 HDR Completions


Project title


Rui Yan

Application of data mining technology for commercial building performance assessment

Zhenjun Ma, Georgios Kokogiannakis

Yi Guo

Electrodialysis-assisted Liquid Desiccant Dehumidification: Experimental Investigation and System Development  

Zhenjun Ma, Paul Cooper

Federico Tartarini

Impact of temperature and indoor environmental quality in nursing homes on thermal comfort of occupants and agitation of residents with dementia

Paul Cooper, Richard Fleming

Hung Cong Duong

Membrane distillation for strategic desalination applications

Long D. Nghiem, Paul Cooper

Jones Daniel

Economic Evaluation of Retrofitting Residential Buildings for Energy Efficiency and Thermal Comfort

Paul Cooper, Timothy McCarthy, Matthew Pepper

Mehdi Robati 

Development of a sustainability approach for the structural design of buildings

Timothy McCarthy, Georgios Kokogiannakis

Ali Hussein Jabbar Al-Jubainawi

Experimental and numerical investigation of mechanisms governing the performance of electrodialysis for liquid desiccant regeneration

Zhenjun Ma, Long D. Nghiem

Bosui Li

Evaluation of building demand and PV system output in order to devise an improved tariff and operational strategy for sharing PV power

Duane Robinson, Ashish P. Agalgaonkar

2016 HDR Completions


Project title


Joel Anderson

Modelling and performance evaluation of net zero energy buildings

Duane Robinson, Zhenjun Ma

2015 HDR Completions


Project title


Daniel Daly

Optimal Retrofit Strategies and the Effects of Occupant Behaviour in Commercial and Educational Buildings to Minimise Electricity Consumption

Paul Cooper, Zhenjun Ma

Laia Ledo Gomis

Energy Efficiency and thermal comfort Upgrades for Higher Education Buildings

Paul Cooper, Zhenjun Ma

Su Huang

Energy Performance Evaluation and Optimisation of Ground Source Heat Pump Systems

Zhenjun Ma, Paul Cooper

Scott Redwood

Sustainable construction of new and retrofitting of buildings

Timothy McCarthy, Lip Teh

Michael Whitehouse

Illawarra Flame retrofit augmented reality 3D building information display

Duane Robinson, Paul Cooper

Massimo Fiorentini

Hybrid Model Predictive Control of Residential Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning Systems with On-site Energy Generation and Storage

Zhenjun Ma, Paul Cooper

Athmi Vidarshika Jayawardena

Contributions to the development of microgrids: Aggregated modelling and operational aspects

Sarath Perera, Lasantha Meegahapolsa, Duane Robinson

 2014 HDR Completions


Project title


Aqeel Mohaisen

Development and modelling of an advanced solar-assisted liquid desiccant dehumidification air-conditioning system

Zhenjun Ma, Paul Cooper

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