Centre for Research in Communication and Culture

About us

Dr Heike Jöns Dr. phil. (Heidelberg)

Photo of Dr Heike Jöns

Reader in Human Geography

Academic career:

2016-: Reader in Human Geography, Loughborough University.
2012-2016: Senior Lecturer in Human Geography, Loughborough University. 
2007-2012: Lecturer in Human Geography, Loughborough University. 
2006-2007: Olympia Morata Postdoctoral Research Fellow, University of Heidelberg. 
2004-2006: Feodor Lynen Postdoctoral Research Fellow of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, University of Nottingham. 
2002-2004: Research Associate, DFG Project Internationale Wissenschaftsbeziehungen funded by the German Research Council, University of Heidelberg. 
2002: PhD, summa cum laude, University of Heidelberg. 
1997-2002: PhD Researcher and Lecturer in Human Geography, University of Heidelberg.

Professional responsibilities:

2017-: Founder and leader of HistGeogUni – A global research network on the historical geographies of the university
2016-: Elected staff member of Loughborough University Council.
2016-: Elected member of Scientific Council, Leibniz-Institut für Länderkunde (IfL), Leipzig.
2014-2015: Member of the Leibniz Society’s Evaluation Commission, Leibniz-Institut für Länderkunde (IfL), Leipzig.
2013-2015: Advisory group member, The 16th International Conference of Historical Geographers 2015
2014-: Committee member, History and Philosophy of Geography Research Group (HPGRG), RGS-IBG.
2007-2014: Secretary, History and Philosophy of Geography Research Group (HPGRG), RGS-IBG.
2004-2013: Editorial board member, Social Geography.
1997-2006: Member of the organizational team for the Heidelberger Hettner Lectures.

Prizes and awards:

2017: Award of a British Academy Small Research Grant for a two-year research project at Harvard University and the University of California, Berkeley (P-I, 2017-19).
2016: Award of funding for a two-year research project at six German universities by the Fritz Thyssen Foundation (P-I, 2016-18).
2016: Recipient of a Research-informed Teaching Award (RiTA), Loughborough University.
2013: Recipient of HEA Mike Baker Doctoral Programme Award
2012: Award of funding for the EU FP7 research project POCARIM (Co-I; 2012-14).
2005: Recipient of “Mother Earth” prize for outstanding research in human geography, Voss Foundation for Geography.

My research focuses on academic travel, the geographies of knowledge production and the historical geographies of the university. Conceptually, it is informed by triadic thought that I have developed in different empirical contexts since the early 2000s. I have also published research on bank branch development in Hungarian banking, 1987-1999, and on European church design and centres of interaction in the Middle Ages, 300-1514.

Most of my work has examined transnational mobilities of researchers and academics and the related geographies of knowledge production. Building on detailed discussions of suitable conceptual resources (Jöns 20022006200720102015; Jöns , Mavroudi & Heffernan 2015), I have been particularly interested in the role of travel for the formation of global knowledge nodes and networks (Jöns 2008; 2015); in subject-specific cultures of academic travel (Jöns 2007; Heffernan & Jöns 2013); in the enablers, experiences and outcomes of academic travel and how these vary by home/host countries, gender (incoming and outgoing mobility), career stage, discipline and research practice (incoming and outgoing mobility), biographical ties and imperial context. The underlying empirical case studies have examined researcher mobility to Germany from 1954 to 2010 with an emphasis on Humboldt Research Fellowships (all countries) and Humboldt Research Awards (United States) and academic travel from the University of Cambridge from the 1880s to the 1960s. Ongoing research studies the role of academic travel in the emergence of the modern German research university, 1700-1914, and the modern US research university, 1870-1960.

My recent work has developed a new research agenda on the geographies of the university from three perspectives. The first explores trends in global higher education through a critical engagement with internationalisation strategies and world university rankings. The second studies the historical geographies of British universities in the 20th century with regard to the politics of honorary degrees and university expansion in the 1960s. The third investigates how external linkages shaped the emergence of the modern research university. Together with Dr Dean Bond, I am currently working on a research project funded by the Fritz Thyssen Foundation on the nature and networks of 18th and 19th-century German universities (2016-2018). The British Academy funds my research project on the origins, development and geographies of academic travel at Harvard University and the University of California at Berkeley, 1870-1960. This research is of particular significance because it seems impossible to understand the German situation without knowing how the emerging hegemonic US research universities related to their world leading role models at the time (2017-2019).

My teaching examines transnational mobilities, skilled migration and knowledge production.

Current postgraduate research students

Evie Papada: Humanitarianism as border: the governance of irregular migration in Europe’s margins.
Daniel Giles: The geographies of triathlon in the UK.
Natalie Tebbett: Internationalising UK students through migrant academic staff.

Recent postgraduate research students

Jordan Dawson (2017): The profiles, practices and perceptions of visitors to the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in East London.
Christiane Momm (2017): Geographies of academic conferences on regional development in Brazil, 1986-2013.
Hannah Deakin (2012): Erasmus student workplace mobility: a UK perspective.
Kelly Wakefield (2013): Transnational higher education networks for learning and teaching in geography.
Lucia Paul (2013): Transylvanian Saxons’ migration from Romania to Germany: the formation of a return diaspora.
Ulrike Waellisch (2010): Geographies of creative production: the perspective of visual artists in Paris.

Jöns, H (2018) Boundary-crossing academic mobilities in glocal knowledge economies: New research agendas based on triadic thought, Globalisation, Societies and Education, 16, pp.1-11. DOI: 10.1080/14767724.2017.1413977.

Heffernan, M and Jöns, H (2018) ‘A small town of character’: Locating a new Scottish university, 1963-1965. In Meusburger, P, Heffernan, M, Suarsana, L (eds) Geographies of the University, Springer, pp.1-46.

Jöns, H (2017) Feminizing the university: The mobilities, careers, and contributions of early female academics in the University of Cambridge, 1926–1955, Professional Geographer, 69(4), pp.670-682. DOI: 10.1080/00330124.2017.1289778.

Jöns, H, Monk, J, Keighren, IM (2017) Introduction: Towards more inclusive and comparative perspectives in the histories of geographical knowledge, The Professional Geographer, pp.1-6, ISSN: 0033-0124. DOI: 10.1080/00330124.2017.1288572.

Jöns, H (2016) The University of Cambridge, academic expertise and the British empire, 1885-1962, Environment and Planning A: International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, 48(1), pp.94-114, ISSN: 1472-3409. DOI: 10.1177/0308518X15594802.

Jöns, H and Freytag, T (2016) Boundary spanning in social and cultural geography, Social and Cultural Geography, 17(1), pp.1-22, ISSN: 1470-1197. DOI: 10.1080/14649365.2015.1126628.

Jöns, H (2015) Talent mobility and the shifting geographies of Latourian knowledge hubs, Population, Space and Place, 21(4), pp.372-389, ISSN: 1544-8452. DOI: 10.1002/psp.1878.

Jöns, H, Mavroudi, E, Heffernan, M (2015) Mobilising the elective diaspora: US-German academic exchanges since 1945, Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, 40(1), pp.113-127, ISSN: 0020-2754. DOI: 10.1111/tran.12062.