Frank Fenner building

On the 24 October 2011 the Frank Fenner Building was officially opened by then ACT Chief Minister Ms Katy Gallagher.

Named in honour of Professor Frank Fenner, one of the Universitys most esteemed scientists, the building was designed to achieve a six star green star rating.   For details on how the  building’s features contribute to its 6 star rating CLICK HERE.

The building houses the Fenner School of Environment and Society, a world-class nationally distinctive School, combining the Centre for Resource and Environment Studies (CRES) and the old ANU Departments of Forestry and Geography who had amalgamated into the School of Resources, Environment and Society (SRES) in 2001. 

The aim of the Fenner School is to focus on major and emerging environment-society challenges though a unified, integrative, problem-driven research program where disciplines and individuals work in fluid teams according to the nature of the problem being investigated.  The School will provide an integrated, seamless education experience from undergraduate coursework to postgraduate studies in a research-intensive environment.

In many ways, it was Frank Fenner’s concern for the environment that has created this most enduring of legacies.  Originally appointed to the ANU in 1949, Fenner worked on the Myxoma virus, most famously injecting himself to show that the virus was not dangerous to humans, eventually demonstrating that it killed rabbits in 9 to 11 days.  In 1977, after years of working on the disease, Fenner was named Chairman of the Global Commission for the Certification of Smallpox eradication.  In 1980, as Chairman, he announced that the disease had finally been eradicated.

Fenner was considered by many as a man before his time.  Throughout his career he warned of an impending environmental catastrophe.  In 1973, he was appointed professor of Environmental Studies and the first director of the Centre for Resources and Environmental Studies (CRES), where he was to remain until his retirement.

It was therefore most appropriate that Fenner’s legacy of concern for the environment lives in a building with such a high level of environmental performance.

The Frank Fenner building will host world-leading research into the interactions between the environment, society and the economy through the Fenner School of Environment & Society.

In 1971, when presenting a case for a natural resources centre at the ANU, Fenner wrote:

The rational utilization of natural resources in a way which is biologically, culturally and economically acceptable to man requires the skills and understanding of integrated groups of people of different disciplines brought together with the common commitment to seek solutions to the practical problems of natural resource management.

The Frank Fenner building was ultimately designed to foster what is intended to be the greatest legacy of the man; the research it advances.


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Updated:  21 July 2018/Responsible Officer:  Director Fenner School/Page Contact:  Webmaster Fenner School