The Human Building Interaction Lab and Building Performance Research Centre are always looking for talented, creative, and ambitious engineering students (of all disciplines) to perform innovative research projects. Our fully-funded projects range from very hands-on to theoretical. If you are interested, please submit a current CV, transcript(s), and a sample of writing to Prof. O’Brien (

Why should you consider graduate school? (brief philosophy by Prof. Liam O’Brien)

Graduate school provides an opportunity to get really good at something and even become nationally or internationally recognized as a leading expert. Generally, in contrast to working in industry, where the bottom line is a nagging motivator, graduate students are given a fair bit of flexibility to ask deeper questions and spend the time needed to truly understand complex problems. The HBI Lab works on a variety of applied problems and often with industry, but in an environment that supports attention to detail, quality of work, and curiosity. As a graduate student, you are largely your own boss and your success or failure depends on what you invest. My own graduate experience was tremendously rewarding (I produced research I’m very proud of, I rapidly built a large network of connections, I travelled the world, and I was ambushed with job opportunities upon graduation). Now, as a professor and PI of the HBI Lab, I have unparalleled flexibility to pursue my interests. I try to reproduce this experience for my own graduate students, while working with them to customize their path to achieve their ultimate goals. I enjoy working with all types of students, including those who: are keen on theory focus on more mathematically complex problems; want applied hands-on experience focus on projects involving industry or experiments; and, are keen on working in the field typically perform projects that interact with or monitor occupants. But like virtually every aspect of live, graduate students get out what they put in.

Carleton University is located in Canada’s capital city, Ottawa. Ottawa is a beautiful and livable city. It’s routinely ranked as one of the top 20 cities in the world to live in, yet it remains quite affordable for a comfortable student life. Carleton has a leading cluster of building researchers ( With six key faculty members and 50 graduate students, we have extensive expertise and lively collaborative and social environment. Ottawa has major employment opportunities in the technology, government, and academic sectors. Many graduates find employment locally, largely as a result of the network they’ve developed through the HBI Lab.

Where do our students end up? There is such great demand for professionals with expertise in building performance, indoor environmental quality, and occupant behaviour that our students typically get recruited before they even graduate. Some examples include:

  1. Burak Gunay, PhD, was recruited by the National Research Council prior to graduation and subsequently was hired by Carleton University as an assistant professor.
  2. Aly Abdelalim, PhD, Assistant Professor, Arab Academy for Science, Technology & Maritime Transport, Egypt
  3. Mohamed Ouf, PhD, Assistant Professor, Building, Civil, and Environmental Engineering, Concordia University
  4. Brent Huchuk, MASc, was recruited by Ecobee as a data scientist and is currently completing a PhD (back with HBI Lab) at University of Toronto.
  5. Jayson Bursill is a project manager at Public Services and Procurement Canada.
  6. Austin Selvig, MASc, is working for Posterity Group in Ottawa as a building modeller.
  7. Justin Berquist, MASc, is a research officer at National Research Council/PhD student
  8. Shawn (Zixiao) Shi is a Data Scientist at Shopify
  9. Sara Gilani is a researcher at Natural Resources Canada
  10. Isis Bennet is an engineer working on the Centre Block project at WSP in Ottawa
  11. Adrian Soble is an engineer working on the Centre Block project at WSP in Ottawa
  12. Andrew Hicks is the sustainability manager at Brookfield Global Integrated Solutions.