Research Group

Globalisation and Knowledge Economy

The Research Group is emerging from the Leibniz Junior Research Group TRANSEDU, which has been researching the globalisation and commercialisation of higher education since 2018. On this basis, the group pursues a broader research agenda on the globalisation of the knowledge economy. It is interdisciplinary in nature, but locates its contributions primarily in economic and urban geography. Current research focuses on commercialisation and internationalisation strategies of European universities, policy approaches aimed at creating regional knowledge clusters through foreign university locations, and the impact of current crises of globalisation on transnational higher education. Methodologically, the group pursues trans- and multilocal research that regularly focuses on the unequal relations between the Global North and Global South. Current regional foci of the research are Europe and Asia. Theoretically and conceptually, the group contributes to political economy and cultural economic geography perspectives, looking at both material and symbolic constructions of spaces.

Ongoing Projects

In the past twenty years, the number of students completing university studies in a foreign country has constantly been on the rise. In addition, many universities are investing in international branch campuses (IBCs) abroad. These are initial indices for a parallel globalisation of knowledge-intensive branches of the economy and of the university landscape. The Leibniz Junior Research Group “Constructing Transnational Spaces of Higher Education” (TRANSEDU) is concerned with the relationship between globalised economic processes and the internationalisation of the academic and research landscapes. more

This dissertation project investigates transnational urban education zones (TUEZs) in the United Arab Emirates and Qatar. These purpose-built urban areas were created to host offshore campuses of foreign universities. TUEZs like Dubai International Academic City or Education City appear to be part of distinctive urban development strategies while at the same time being connected discursively to transformative economic rationales. The project aims to make sense of the strategic decisions of governments to establish such zones, how they relate to urban imaginaries connected to global city ambitions, and how they are connected to future aspirations towards a knowledge-based economy. more

Universities get access to national higher education markets in South East Asia through investments in offshore branches and international partnerships. How market access is regulated and how transnational networks are coupled with regional contexts is not only subject to temporal change. It is also of utmost economic and socio-cultural relevance to the actors involved. This PhD project examines these issues in the case regions of Malaysia and Singapore. more

The project adopts a cultural economic approach to investigate the discourses that constitute the development of French campuses abroad and the materialization thereof in the space of the campuses, while paying attention to the dissonances and renegotiations involved in the process. Addressed through qualitative expert interviews with decision-makers working in French public and private higher education institutions, the following research question guides the analysis: “How is the development of French branch campuses discursively and materially constructed, branded and experienced?” more