IChemE Fellows awarded 2021 Australia Day Honours

Article by Amanda Jasi

Christopher Fell (far left) at Chemeca in 2017 with some former University of New South Wales students, Judy Raper, Rose Amal FIChemE, and Cordelia Selomulya CEng FICheme (left to right).

LAST week, chemical engineers and Fellows of IChemE Chris Fell and the late Graeme Paul were recognised with Australia Day Honours.

The annual honours recognise Australian citizens for outstanding services and contributions to the country and local communities. The appointments are made each year on 26 January.

Chris Fell, Emeritus Professor at the University of New South Wales (UNSW), Australia, was awarded with Officer of the Order of Australia. Fell received this in recognition of his distinguished service to science and engineering, particularly to nanotechnology research and fabrication and to professional networks.

After gaining a PhD in chemical engineering at the University of Cambridge, UK in 1965, Fell has gone on to have a distinguished career in chemical engineering. During his 30 years at UNSW he has held several positions, including Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research & International for ten years.

At UNSW in 1977, he led a team that developed and patented Memcor. At the time, he occupied the position of Director of the Commonwealth Special Research Centre for Membrane Science and Technology. Memcor is low-pressure microfiltration technology used to remove harmful molecules and pathogens from wastewater. The technology made water treatment more affordable and eventually became industry standard.

Within IChemE, he was the seventh Chair of the Australian National Committee – which preceded the Australian Board – from 1980–1982. In 1992 he won the Chemeca Medal, the highest of the Australasian and New Zealand Awards of Excellence presented at the Chemeca conference.

Currently, Fell is also Chair of the Australian National Fabrication Facility (ANFF), a position he has held since 2011. ANFF provides access to micro and nanofabrication related tools and expertise to Australia’s researchers.

Graeme Paul was posthumously awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM), for his services to the community of the Northern Beaches, a region within Northern Sydney, and to chemical engineering.

Paul gained a Leaving Certificate in chemical engineering and industrial chemistry at Scots College Sydney, going on to work in various positions in the chemical industry. These positions included Technical Manager at KK Kingston in Papua New Guinea, which manufactures plastic products, industrial chemicals, paper products, cooking oil, and household consumer goods. Paul also worked as Operations Manager at Australian company Hardman Water Treatment Chemicals, which delivers clean drinking water to the country.

Fell commented on his recognition, saying: “I’m deeply honoured to receive this award which reflects positively on Australia’s excellent nanotechnology researchers as much as it does on myself. In 2006, I was instrumental in founding the ANFF for Australian universities and industry to use for nanotechnology research. It has prospered and supported much excellent research.

“Chemical engineering has provided an excellent personal career choice and enabled me to undertake challenging research in membrane technology and offer advice to government in many areas. Its breadth has enabled me to approach problems analytically. I strongly commend it to today’s school leavers.”

Stephen Richardson, President of IChemE, said: “[Fell’s and Paul’s] leading work in both industry and academia has had huge impact on advancing chemical engineering and providing great benefits to society at large. I’m delighted they have been recognised by the Australian Government for their tremendous efforts to the community.”

Fell and Paul were amongst 844 Australian citizens to be recognised in the Australia Day 2021 Honours List. Recipients awarded in the General Division and Military Division of the Order of Australia, along with those in that gained Meritorious awards and Distinguished and Conspicuous awards are listed.

Article by Amanda Jasi

Staff reporter, The Chemical Engineer

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