Introducing Prof. Ibrahim G. Ogunsanya, CivMin’s newest faculty member

Ibrahim G. Ogunsanya joins the Department of Civil & Mineral Engineering as an assistant professor of civil engineering (Concrete materials) beginning January 1, 2022.


We asked Prof. Ogunsanya to answer a few questions as an introduction to our CivMin community.

Prof. Ibrahim G. Ogunsanya in front of the Galbraith Building. (Photo by Phill Snel, CivMin)

“We wholeheartedly welcome our newest faculty member to the Department,” says Chair Brent Sleep offering his greetings. “Students will benefit from the fascinating range of expertise and experience he brings.  Join us in offering our newest assistant professor a warm welcome to CivMin.”

Q: Can you tell us a little about yourself as an introduction.
I’m a Nigerian-Canadian with a BSc degree in Metallurgical & Materials Engineering from the University of Lagos, Nigeria; and both my MASc and PhD degrees are in Mechanical & Mechatronics Engineering from the University of Waterloo, Canada. In my graduate studies, my research was focused on civil (structural) engineering problems. Afterwards, I had my first post-doctoral fellowship at Waterloo where I researched on mechanical (automotive) engineering problems. Before joining the CivMin Eng department, I had also been a post-doctoral fellow in the Department of Chemical Engineering and Applied Chemistry at UofT where I researched chemical (nuclear) engineering problems. I have also taught material science and engineering courses to individuals across aforementioned departments/fields, and students in the Biomedical Engineering department. It is safe to say I have had a multidisciplinary academic journey. My passion outside academia is soccer.

Q: Could you explain the focus of your research?
To simply put, my research focuses on durability and sustainability of materials and structures across all engineering sectors. I study the processing-structure-property-degradation relationship to develop new (durable and sustainable) materials, but also to improve existing materials, from ferrous (iron and steel) and non-ferrous (aluminum, nickel, copper, etc.) alloys and superalloys to cement and concrete. Over the years, the majority of my study has been on durability and sustainability of reinforced structures because we continue to expose our infrastructures to harsher environmental conditions but ask more of their service life. My role has, therefore, been to select “appropriate” material (reinforcing bars, cement and concrete) combinations that solve our immediate and future needs of economy, safety, durability and sustainability. To-date, I have been known for my study on corrosion of metals in this field. Individuals with similar focus may reach out!

Q: Why did you choose U of T?
When U of T comes calling, you answer! Well, they call because they want to fill a gap in the Department and University, and you answer only if you think you are that part of their missing puzzle. Top universities require top professionals to remain on top, and top professionals require top universities to grow and evolve. Our just-started relationship is a befitting one! U of T is equipped with robust research facilities  that fit my multidisciplinary research ideas, the University is located in the industrial part of Canada that attracts industry collaboration, the faculty members are top of their field and are there to grow with, the students leave the institution to become top-class in the world; I think you get the point now.

Q: What are you most looking forward to in your new position?
The infinite opportunities! The opportunity to impact students with experiential knowledge, the opportunity to mentor them, the opportunity to learn from them, especially after returning from their co-op jobs, and the opportunity to collaborate with faculty members in various research projects. I look forward to it all – giving and benefitting! I am just an email away for discussions!

Q: As a new professor, what one piece of advice would you give to new students?
Enjoy life! No one is ever free of worry of some sort and there’s no step you take in life where you don’t fear the unknown. Your grades will be fine, enjoy the learning! Your dream job will come, be patient and happy in the current one! Your start-up will make impact, focus on gathering the knowledge now. There’s not much we can do about the “unknown” and worrying doesn’t help it either, so, just enjoy life, take each day at a time, set your goals, and embrace the different paths to your success!

Q: What do you hope to accomplish in your new position/during your time at U of T Engineering?
Building a research group that will impact and grow the Concrete Materials Section, the CivMin Engineering Department, U of T, and the civil and materials engineering world. My ambition has always been to make an impact in the world, however small. I hope to positively impact the lives of those around me, because people come first! I strongly believe the engineering “future” is now/here, and I hope to expose the limitless opportunities in the civil engineering world during my time here.

Q: Finally, is there anything fun/unusual/unexpected about yourself you’d like to share with our CivMin audience?
My career choice as a kid was between soccer and academia. I eventually chose the latter. I did not regret it, but I still think about what might have been. Now, I referee soccer games across Ontario, play friendly soccer games, and almost never miss watching a soccer match!

By Phill Snel