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N. (Noortje) Jacobs



  • Department
  • Medical Ethics Philosophy and History of Medicine
  • Focus area
  • History of Medicine



Noortje Jacobs researches the history of medicine and science. Currently, she is working on the history of research ethics, medical research funding, Alzheimer’s disease, and disease prevention. With Frank Huisman, Nancy Tomes, and Duncan Wilson, she has started up an international research network on global histories of accountability in health care, that held its first meeting in July 2019. In 2018, she defended her PhD-thesis Ethics by Committee, which received an honorary mention of the Forum for the History of Human Science of the History of Science Society (HSS) in November 2018 for the best dissertation published in the field in the past two years.

Field(s) of expertise

  • medical history
  • history of the sciences and the humanities
  • history of human experimentation
  • history of medical ethics and bioethics
  • history of funding bodies in late modernity
  • history of public health, prevention

Education and career


  • PhD history of medicine and science
  • MA History and Philosophy of Science, cum laude
  • BA University College Maastricht, summa cum laude


Noortje has worked as an editorial assistant of Isis, and has published in Isis, Studium, and the Dutch Journal of Medicine.

In 2012, she won the Pieter van Foreest prize for academic talent in the medical humanities.

In 2013, she won the EAHMH-prize forbest PhD-presentation at the Lisbon-conference and was the recipient of the first Descartes-Huygens thesis award for the historyof science in the Netherlands.

Currently, she serves as editor of the PhD-run blog www.shellsandpebbles.com, and is a boardmember of the Belgian-Dutch history of science society Gewina as well as the EAHMH.


  1. A. Maas & N. Jacobs, ‘De Tijdperk van het Tijdschrift’, Nederlandse boekengids, forthcoming (2019)
  2. N. Jacobs & P. Huistra, ‘Gatekeepers of Responsible Research. Funding bodies in late modern science, a special issue’, in International Journal for History, Culture and Modernity, forthcoming (2019)
  3. N. Jacobs & B. Theunissen. Welzijn en ongemak. De Raad voor Dierenaangelegenheden, 1993-2018 (Den Haag, 2018)
  4. N. Jacobs, Ethics by Committee. Governing human experimentation in the Netherlands, 1945-2000 (PhD-thesis, Maastricht University 2018)
  5. N. Jacobs, ‘Dokter en dienaar. Het beroepsgeheim tijdens de Eerste Wereldoorlog’, in NTvG, november 2018
  6. N. Jacobs & F. Huisman, ‘Henry Beecher en de medische wetenschap. De vijftigste verjaardag van een roemrucht artikel’, in NTvG (2017;161:D1017)
  7. N. Jacobs, ‘Naoorlogse excessen’, in Cahier Biowetenschappen en Maatschappij over Proeven met Mensen, forthcoming (Kwartaal 2, 2017)
  8. N. Jacobs, ‘Review of Uses of Humans in Experiment’, in Isis, Vol. 108 (2), 424-426
  9. * N. Jacobs, ‘Summary of The History Manifesto’, in Isis Vol. 107 (2), 311-314
  10. N. Jacobs, ‘“We Come as Doctors, We Come as Servants”, Medical Confidentiality and Professional Identity during the Great War’, in Studium Vol. 7 (3), 140-156
  11. N. Jacobs, ‘There he is, God, the Father’, on www.shellsandpebbles.com, July 10th, 2016
  12. * N. Jacobs, ‘Sinclair Lewis’ Arrowsmith. Why everyone should read this 1925 medical novel’,on www.shellsandpebbles.com, October 13th, 2013

Teaching activities

lecturer at Erasmus MC

Other positions

  • board member EAHMH
  • board member Gewina

Scholarships, grants, and awards

2018: Honorary mention Dissertation Prize Forum for the History of Human Science, History of Science Society

2013: Descartes-Huygens thesis award (History of Sciences and Universities)

2013: Historia Medicinae award for the best PhD-talk at the 2013 conference of the European Association for the History of Medicine and Health

2012: Pieter van Foreest award for academic talent in the medical humanities

2009: Alumni speech Graduation Ceremony—University College Maastricht

2008: Best thesis of 2008 award of the Humanities Faculty, Maastricht University

External Research Groups

  • Descartes Center for the History and Philosophy of the Sciences and the Humanities
  • Huizinga Institute's working group Health, History and Health