Dr. Gaston Heimeriks

Dr. Gaston Heimeriks

Assistant Professor
Innovation and Sustainability
+31 30 253 7802

Gaston Heimeriks is Assistant Professor at the Department of Innovation Studies, Copernicus Institute of sustainable development at Utrecht University. He is also is a visiting professor at the Centre for Science and Technology Studies (CWTS) at Leiden University and UGlobe fellow at the Centre for Global Challenges at Utrecht University. Gaston was vice president and member of the Executive Committee of the Eu-SPRI Forum (European Forum for Studies of Policies for Research and Innovation) until 2023. An interdisciplinary academic by choice, Heimeriks’ research and teaching contribute to understanding the complex dynamics arising from the co-evolution of knowledge, economy and societal institutions. His research is centred around three main themes:

"How can we produce transformative science that society needs?"

Universities are undergoing organisational change processes in response to persistent sustainability challenges. But how can university research and education actively shape the transformative changes needed for sustainability transitions? Using the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a proxy for sustainability, we use a mixed methods approach to map the research and teaching landscape and identify nascent communities of researchers and teachers working on the SDGs at the university. We wish to understand how they frame their research and the barriers and opportunities they face to working in transformative ways.

"Understanding Deep Transitions"

Deep Transitions is an innovative interdisciplinary research project that strives to understand how the unsustainable systems our societies are built on emerged, and how they can be unmade. Altering the direction of unsustainable trajectories requires a transformation in industrial modernity – a set of most fundamental ideas, institutions, and practices characterizing every industrial society to date. We use a mixed methods approach based on quantitative and qualitative data and the overarching aim is to have a systematic approach to niche identification

"Geography of transformative change"

Over the past years, it has become increasingly evident that a more elaborate geographical perspective on transformative dynamics is needed. Many of today’s grand challenges transcend the boundaries of specific cities, regions, or nations as translocal/ transnational spatial relationships and multi-scalar factors play a significant role in shaping transition dynamics and possibilities. At the same time, places differ in their structural preconditions (including natural resources) and the capacity to engage in radically new socio-technical configurations. Where and how transitions unfold depends on change dynamics that co-evolve between (and have impacts on) various places around the world in spatially highly complex and uneven ways. As a consequence, the ability of regions to diversify into new fields of knowledge and to develop new sustainable growth paths remains very unevenly distributed. 

Publication and citation profile Gaston Heimeriks at Google Scholar