Our Principal, Professor Sir Nigel Shadbolt, is delighted to announce that Professor Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell, Thomas Ilube CBE, former alumna Dame Alison Foster QC and former Senior Research Fellow Professor Sir Peter Ratcliffe have been elected Honorary Fellows of Jesus College.

Honorary Fellowship is offered to those who have attained distinction in the arts, literature, science, or public life and who have made a significant contribution to their disciplines, professions and society more generally. Our four new members join College’s twenty-six current Honorary Fellows, who include Nobel laureate Professor Elizabeth Helen Blackburn, former College Principal Lord Krebs and Sir Bryn Terfel CBE.

Sir Nigel Shadbolt says of the honorands, “I am thrilled to announce our four new Honorary Fellows – the first elected in my tenure as Principal. Our new Honorary Fellows represent an extraordinary range of accomplishments in science, medicine, law, public service and educational philanthropy. They embody the principles that Jesus College seeks to promote of excellence, diversity and equality of opportunity. In these challenging times their presence in our Fellowship is a source of great pride and we look forward to welcoming them to College when circumstances permit.”

Thomas Ilube, who grew up in London, Uganda and Nigeria, says of his election, "I am delighted to have been elected an Honorary Fellow because, whilst being one of Oxford's older colleges, Jesus has a very modern outlook and a clear commitment to diversity. It is a privilege to follow in the footsteps of Norman Manley, the great Jamaican statesman and Jesus College’s first black Honorary Fellow.“

Thomas Ilube CBE

                                                            About our new Honorary Fellows

  •   Thomas Ilube CBE (above)

Thomas Ilube CBE is a technology entrepreneur and educational philanthropist. He is currently CEO of cyber security firm Crossword Cybersecurity plc and has previously founded several start up technology businesses. His thirty-year career in the UK technology sector includes roles at PricewaterhouseCoopers, Goldman Sachs and the London Stock Exchange.

Tom was educated in London and Nigeria and received his BSc in Applied Physics from the University of Benin, followed by an MBA (Finance) in Business Administration from London’s Cass Business School. He is founder and Chair of the African Gifted Foundation, a UK education charity focused on science and technology in Africa, which recently launched the African Science Academy – the continent's first all-girls science and maths school. He also founded the Hammersmith Academy, a state secondary school in west London, which has become one of the UK’s most innovative technology schools, and was Chair of Ada, The National College for Digital Skills.        

 In 2017, Tom was ranked first in the Powerlist, an annual listing of the UK’s 100 most powerful people with African or Afro-Caribbean heritage. He is an Advisory Fellow of St Anne's College, University of Oxford and a non-executive board member of the BBC.

  • Professor Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell

Professor Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell DBE FRS FRSE FRAS FInstP is most well known for her pioneering work on pulsars, a type of star that emits a pulse of radiation at regular intervals. As an astrophysics PhD student at Cambridge in the late 1960s, Dame Jocelyn co-discovered the first radio pulsars, an achievement that won her PhD Supervisor the 1974 Nobel Prize in Physics.  

She went on to work at many of the UK’s most prestigious universities and in 1986 became the project manager for the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope on Mauna Kea, Hawaii. She was Professor of Physics at the Open University (1991-2001), a visiting professor at Princeton University, Dean of Science at the University of Bath (2001–04) and President of the Royal Astronomical Society (2002 and 2004).

She was President of the Institute of Physics from 2008 to 2010 and appointed Chancellor of the University of Dundee in February 2018. Dame Jocelyn is currently Visiting Professor of Astrophysics at the University of Oxford, and a Fellow of Mansfield College.

  • Dame Alison Foster QC

The Honourable Mrs Justice Foster DBE is a Jesus alumna and the first Jesus College woman to be made a High Court Judge.

Alison completed the law conversion course with the benefit of scholarships from College and was called to the Bar in 1984 – taking Silk in 2002. She developed a highly successful practice at the Bar, acting both for and against the government in all contexts. She specialised in public and administrative law with particular emphasis in regulation and tax and has been involved in some of the highest profile cases at all levels.

Throughout her career Alison has practised from 39 Essex Chambers, and has been Joint Head of Chambers since 2015, the first female to be so elected. She won Barrister of the Year in 2016. She sat as a Deputy High Court Judge in both the Chancery and the Queen’s Bench Divisions until her appointment as a High Court Judge in 2019.

  • Professor Sir Peter Ratcliffe FRS FMedSci

Professor Sir Peter Ratcliffe FRS FMedSci undertook his clinical training at St. Bartholomew’s Hospital, London and after series of posts at the London postgraduate hospitals, moved to Oxford to train in nephrology. In 1990 he obtained a Wellcome Trust Senior Fellowship to work on cellular responses to hypoxia, retrained in molecular biology and founded a new laboratory working on hypoxia biology in cancer and circulatory diseases. He was a Senior Research Fellow at College from 1992-2004, where he taught and supervised clinical students.

He was appointed Nuffield Professor and Head of the Nuffield Department of Clinical Medicine in 2003, a position he held until 2016. He is currently Director of the Target Discovery Institute, and a Distinguished Scholar of the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research.  He was knighted for services to clinical medicine in the 2014 New Year’s Honours List and in 2019 was jointly awarded the Nobel Prize (alongside William G Kaelin, Jr of Harvard University and Gregg L Semenza of Johns Hopkins University) for the discovery of the key mechanisms that our cells use to detect and respond to low oxygen levels, known as 'hypoxia'.  Peter and his colleagues found that these same mechanisms are disrupted in many kinds of tumours, allowing the tumours to create new blood vessels to sustain their growth.

Sir Peter's current research is investigating hypoxia and the role it plays in a variety of health conditions, including heart disease, metabolic diseases and cancer, particularly in kidney cancer, which could lead to potential new cancer treatments.