The Australian National Fabrication Facility announces with great sadness the sudden passing of our beloved Chair of the Board, Emeritus Professor Chris Fell AO FTSE HonFIEAust CPEng.
After gaining a PhD in chemical engineering at the University of Cambridge, UK, in 1965, he had a distinguished career in chemical engineering. A world-renowned expert in separation technology, water treatment and the handling of chemicals, Chris held various positions during his 30 years at the University of New South Wales, including Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and International) for 10 years.

In 2021, Chris was appointed an Officer in the General Division of the Order of Australia (AO). He received this honour for distinguished service to science and engineering, particularly to nanotechnology research and fabrication, and to professional networks.

Chris Fell was a true lynchpin in the nanotechnology research sector. He not only understood the importance of accessing micro and nanofabrication equipment, but he also quickly realised that research infrastructure and the expertise to use it would become critical to supporting the future growth and development of Australia’s scientific community.

Prof. Fell was instrumental in the establishment of the ANFF organisation in 2007 as one of nine original research infrastructure facilities established under the Commonwealth’s National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS). He became the organisation’s first director, and in 2011, he took over as Chair of the Board.

‘The ANFF community has lost a great leader. Chris Fell has been a constant guiding hand for us for the entire history of this organisation after his passion and energy helped create it. Australia will forever be indebted to this great man, who spent his whole life providing benefits to others. We will miss his wisdom and his wit and his love for sharing a good story,’ said ANFF CEO Jane Fitzpatrick.

Under his leadership, ANFF has grown over the last 15 years to represent a cash investment of more than $400m in research infrastructure made by Commonwealth and State Governments, as well as partner organisations, not including the extensive in-kind contributions. ANFF provides state-of-the-art offerings of micro and nanofabrication infrastructure and engineering expertise across 21 hubs under the ANFF banner to support thousands of researchers from the public and private sectors countrywide.

‘Prof. Fell has been the Chair of the ANFF Board for many years and served in this role because he was the best person for the job. He worked with all Directors to ensure that the Board provided the best governance, advice and support possible for ANFF, which has seen the organisation grow into the success it is today. The Board will greatly miss his presence and enthusiasm for nanotechnology. The Directors feel privileged to have worked with Chris and wish to pass on their sincere condolences to Chris’ family and to express their thanks and appreciation for his many years of service.’ – ANFF Board of Directors

The ANFF family extends our sympathies to Chris’ partner Caroline and his whole family. If you would like to extend your condolences to his family, you can add a message to his Sydney Morning Herald Tributes Public Guestbook (visit this link).

A memorial service in celebration of Chris’ life will be held in early 2023, and details will be made available once arrangements are determined.