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Ian Jacobs (born 6 October 1957)[1] is a British academic, medical doctor, gynaecological oncologist and researcher. He began as the ninth president and vice-chancellor of the University of New South Wales in February 2015.


Early life and educationEdit

Jacobs was raised in North London and is an alumnus of Trinity College, Cambridge, and UCL, having graduated Bachelor of Arts in Medicine and Law in 1980. He qualified as a Doctor of Medicine (MBBS) from Middlesex Hospital, now part of University College London, in 1983.[2]

Further training in obstetrics and gynaecology was obtained at the Royal London Hospital and Rosie Maternity Hospital Cambridge and he became MRCOG (1991) and FRCOG (2004).[2]

Specialist RCOG accreditation as a surgical gynaecological oncologist was awarded at Bart's and the Royal Marsden Hospitals (1996). He completed research training as CRC (now Cancer Research UK) McElwain Fellow at Cambridge University (1990–94) and as a Medical Research Council Fellow (1990–91) at Duke University, NC USA and was awarded a Medical Doctorate (MD) from the University of London in 1991.[2]


After qualifying as a doctor, Jacobs worked at Mount Vernon Hospital and the Royal London Hospital. To fund his research, in 1984 he founded The Eve Appeal (first called the Gynaecology Cancer Research Fund), a charity whose aim is to raise funds for research in gynaecologic oncology. In 1985 he began one of the largest trials for ovarian cancer screening, and began training in the field of obstetrics and gynaecology at the Addenbrooke's Hospital, which he completed in 1990.[2]

In 1990–91 he received a fellowship from the Medical Research Council to research cancer genetics at Duke University, followed by a Cambridge Regional College fellowship in 1992–94. He completed his subspecialist training in gynaecologic oncology at St Bartholomew's Hospital and the Royal Marsden Hospital in 1996, and began working as a lecturer at Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry in the same year. He was promoted to professor of gynaecological cancer at the Queen Mary University of London in 1999 and rose to the position of associate research dean before joining University College London in 2004 as the head of the gynaecologic oncology research department.[2]

At UCL, Jacobs established the Institute for Women's Health, the Ugandan Women's Health Initiative, and the UCLH/UCL Biomedical Research Centre. He held various positions at the university, including head of research and development, dean of biomedical sciences, and dean of medicine.[2] After seven years he departed from UCL in 2011 to take up the position of vice-president of the University of Manchester and the dean of its Faculty of Medical and Human Sciences. He also led the Manchester Academic Health Science Centre, which partnered the university with six NHS hospitals.[3]

In 2015 he relocated from the UK to Sydney after he was appointed President and Vice-chancellor of the University of New South Wales.[4]

In addition to his role as President and Vice-Chancellor of UNSW Australia, Jacobs is the Chief Investigator of UKCTOCS (UK Collaborative Trial of Ovarian cancer screening), UKFOCSS (UK Familial Ovarian Cancer Screening Study) and the PROMISE (Prediction of Risk of Ovarian Malignancy Screening and Early Detection) programme, funded by a combination of MRC, NIHR, CRUK and Eve Appeal. He is founder, non-executive director and Consultant to Abcodia, a UCL spin out company involved in biomarker discovery and development.[2]

Jacobs has an h-index of 61, having published over 200 research papers and having been cited more than 15,000 times.[4] After almost three decades of research since beginning the trial in 1985, in 2015 he announced that he had developed a screening test for the detection of ovarian cancer in early stages of the disease.[5] The announcement followed the publication of the results of a randomised controlled trial of more than 200,000 patients, which Jacobs said was "one of the largest randomised trials ever performed in the history of medicine".[5]

Personal lifeEdit

Jacobs is married to Chris Jacobs, a nurse and genetic counsellor whom he met at Middlesex Hospital. They have three children. His great grandparents were migrants from Poland and Russia. His parents grew up in East London and until retiring ran a retail pharmacy.[2]


  1. ^ "University of New South Wales – Records and Archives Office – The Vice-Chancellors of the University of New South Wales Exhibition". Retrieved 13 March 2017.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h "Jacobs' Journey" (PDF). UniLife. University Hospital of South Manchester NHS Foundation Trust. Retrieved 7 May 2015.
  3. ^ Gilmore, Heath (6 June 2014). "Professor Ian Jacobs replaces Fred Hilmer as vice-chancellor of University of NSW". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 7 May 2015.
  4. ^ a b Hare, Julie (18 February 2015). "Busy Jacobs has foot in two worlds". The Australian. Retrieved 7 May 2015.
  5. ^ a b Phillips, Nicky (5 May 2015). "New ovarian cancer test detects twice as many women with early signs". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 7 May 2015.

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