Funding organisationBritish Academy, United Kingdom
Funding period2017-2019
Principal investigatorHeike Jöns
 Research universities in the United States had superseded those in Germany as global centers of science and scholarship by 1945. In addition to wider geopolitical, economic, and socio-cultural shifts, their main competitive advantages have been identified as corporate autonomy, non-professional education as their primary goal, and the institutionalization of research sabbaticals. This research aims to create new knowledge and understanding about the nature of the US research university by examining the origins, development, and changing geographies of research sabbaticals in two of these evolving hegemonic US institutions. Based on original archival research at Harvard University (est. 1636), where regular research leaves were institutionalized for the first time in 1880, and the University of California (est. 1868), the first public US university that introduced sabbatical leave, this research investigates how the creation of regular research sabbaticals shaped modern research cultures across the sciences and the humanities and contributed to making US research universities central nodes in global knowledge networks between 1776 and 1960.