Professor Heike Jöns

PhD (University of Heidelberg)

Pronouns: She/her
  • Professor of Geography

Academic Career

2018: Professor of Geography, Loughborough University
2018: Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (SFHEA)
2016: Reader in Human Geography, Loughborough University
2016: Research-informed Teaching Award (RiTA), Loughborough University
2012: Senior Lecturer in Human Geography, Loughborough University
2010: Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA)
2007: Lecturer in Human Geography, Loughborough University 
2006: Olympia Morata Postdoctoral Research Fellow, University of Heidelberg 
2005: Wissenschaftspreis für Anthropogeographie, Voss Foundation for Geography
2004-2006: Feodor Lynen Postdoctoral Research Fellow of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, University of Nottingham 
2002-2004: Research Associate in the DFG research project Internationale Wissenschaftsbeziehungen funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG), University of Heidelberg
2002: PhD in Human Geography, University of Heidelberg, summa cum laude
1997-2002: PhD Researcher and Lecturer in Human Geography (0.5 part-time post as Wissenschaftliche Mitarbeiterin), University of Heidelberg
1997: Diplom-Geographin (Dipl.-Geog.), University of Heidelberg, with distinction
1992-1997: University studies of Geography with Geology and History of Art (Diplomstudiengang), University of Heidelberg

Selected Professional Responsibilities

2020-2023: Chair of the International Scientific Advisory Board (Vorsitzende des Wissenschaftlichen Beirats), Leibniz Institute for Regional Geography (IfL), Germany

2018-2021: Chair of the History and Philosophy of Geography Research Group (HPGRG) of the Royal Geographical Society with the IBG, United Kingdom
2018-2020: School Lead for Alumni and Philanthropy, School of Social Sciences and Humanities, Loughborough University
2017: Founding Leader of HistGeogUni – A Global Research Network on the Historical Geographies of the University

2016-2019: Academic Staff Member, Loughborough University Council
2007-2014: Secretary, History and Philosophy of Geography Research Group (HPGRG) of the Royal Geographical Society with the IBG

Heike Jöns’ research critically interrogates the geographies of academic mobilities, knowledge production, and the university. The majority of Heike’s work has examined transnational academic mobilities and the related geographies of knowledge production from longitudinal historical and global perspectives, centred on institutions and academics in the Federal Republic of Germany, the United Kingdom, and the United States during the twentieth century.

Heike has been particularly interested in the role of academic travel for the rise and shift of global knowledge centres and networks; in subject-specific cultures of academic travelcollaboration, and research; in the enablers, experiences, and outcomes of academic travel and how these vary by home and host countries, by gender (incoming and outgoing mobility), by career stage, by cultural background and biographical ties, and by imperial context.

To the histories and geographies of the university since 1450, Heike has contributed collaborative research on the cultural geopolitics of university jubilees, 1911-1914; on British university expansion in the 1960s; and on the politics of honorary degree conferment, 1900-2000. She has explored twenty-first century trends in global higher education through a critical engagement with internationalisation strategies and the highly uneven geographies of world university rankings. 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, 1776-1960.

Conceptually, Heike’s research has been informed by triadic thought that she has developed by synthesizing and elaborating on debates among protagonists of social constructivism, feminist science studies, and actor-network theory, using different empirical contexts. She has argued that from a geographical perspective, it is important to study how the geographies of academic mobilities and knowledge production vary across different research practices and at different stages of the research process. These conceptualisations have informed the framing of the edited book Mobilities of Knowledge.

Heike has also published on the recent history of geographical knowledge production, focussing on social and cultural geographyfeminist historiography, and historical geography. Her early academic work examined European centres of interaction and church design in the Middle Ages, 300-1514, and bank branch development in Hungarian banking, 1987-1999. Together with her PhD students, she has written about a triadic actor-network approach to mega event legacies; the geographies of academic conferences in Brazil; and cultural homophily in UK home students’ evaluations of university teaching by international and home academics.

Heike's teaching examines transnational mobilities, globalisation, and the historical geographies of knowledge production. She is particularly interested in exploring path dependencies and path creations from global perspectives and in using different conceptual resources for explaining the role of mobilities for the highly uneven socioeconomic and very diverse cultural and political geographies in past and present knowledge economies.

Since 2007, Heike has supervised nine PhD researchers to completion. She is most interested in supervising historical geographical PhD research on mobilities, transnational networks, creative production, knowledge transfer, academic cultures, and the university.

  • Jöns, H (2022) The 'international' in geography: Concepts, actors, challenges, in A Geographical Century: Essays for the Centenary of the International Geographical Union, Cham: Springer, pp. 62-80, DOI: 10.1007/978-3-031-05419-8_6.
  • Jöns, H, Heffernan, M, Bond, DW (2022) Unity in bronze: German universities and the 250th anniversary of the Royal Society, Notes and Records: The Royal Society Journal of the History of Science, 76(3), 407-443, DOI: 10.1098/rsnr.2020.0051.
  • Momm, CF, Jöns, H (2020) Decentralized concentration through cyclical events: The geographies of academic conferences in urban and regional development and planning in Brazil, 2004–2013, Geoforum, 112, pp.104-117, DOI: 10.1016/j.geoforum.2020.01.004.
  • Jöns, H (2018) Boundary-crossing academic mobilities in glocal knowledge economies: New research agendas based on triadic thought, Globalisation, Societies and Education, 16(2), 151-161, DOI: 10.1080/14767724.2017.1413977.
  • Jöns, H (2017) Feminizing the university: The mobilities, careers, and contributions of early female academics in the University of Cambridge, 1926–1955, The Professional Geographer, 69(4), 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, 69(4), 655-660, 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), 94-114, DOI: 10.1177/0308518X15594802.
  • Jöns, H (2015) Talent mobility and the shifting geographies of Latourian knowledge hubs, Population, Space and Place, 21(4), 372-389, DOI: 10.1002/psp.1878.