In recognition of the academic achievements and high-level scientific work of Professor Frank Witlox and his long-term productive collaboration with researchers of the University of Tartu, the University of Tartu has conferred on him the degree of Honorary Doctor of Geography.
Frank Witlox was born on 8 September 1967 in Merksem, Belgium. He obtained a master’s degree in Applied Economics (1989) and in Maritime Sciences (1990) at the University of Antwerp, where he started to work after graduation as a research and teaching assistant.
In 1998 he defended his PhD dissertation in Urban Planning, titled Modelling Site Selection: A Relational Matching Approach Based on Fuzzy Decision Tables, under the guidance of Professor Harry Timmermans at the Eindhoven University of Technology.
Since 2000 Frank Witlox has been working at the Department of Geography at Ghent University, where he is a full professor of economic geography since 2014. At Ghent University he teaches Transport Geography, Economic Geography, and Spatial Modelling Techniques at the bachelor’s level; and Urban Mobility and Logistics, Geography of the Firm, and Transport Economics and Policy at the master’s level.
Together with Ben Derudder he heads the Social and Economic Geography (SEG) research group at the Department of Geography. SEG focuses on three research pillars: 1) transport and mobility, 2) urban geography, and 3) territorial organisation and spatial planning.
Since 2013, Frank Witlox has been a visiting professor at the Department of Geography, Faculty of Science and Technology of the University of Tartu, where he teaches Economic Geography of Urban Systems and collaborates with the researchers of the Mobility Lab. He also works as the International Head of the Mobility Lab and is one of the chief organisers of the international Mobile Tartu conference after the passing away of Professor Rein Ahas.
In April 2017, Frank Witlox was appointed a Visiting Professor and High-end Foreign Expert at the College of Civil Aviation, Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics (China), and in September 2018, he was named as a laureate of the 100 Talents Program of Jiangsu Province.
Frank Witlox has held part-time teaching positions at the University of Hasselt, University of Antwerp, Institute of Transport and Maritime Management Antwerp, and the Kortrijk Campus of the University of Leuven in Belgium, and been a guest lecturer at the Helsingborg Campus of Lund University in Sweden, and Chongqing University in China.
Frank Witlox’s research focuses on travel behavior analysis and modelling, travel and lifestyle, travel and well-being, travel and land use, sustainable mobility issues, business travel, cross-border mobility, city logistics, smart cities, global commodity chains, globalisation and world city-formation, polycentric urban development, and locational analysis of corporations. He has published widely on these topics: 198 WoS publications, h‑index 34, 3601 citations; 941 GS publications, h-index 52; 9652 GS citations (as of November 2018).
According to Kong and Qian’s (2017) Urban Studies study on journal paper production and citations, Frank Witlox ranks the 15th in the list of the 50 most productive authors worldwide in Geography and Urban Studies, and the 36th in the list of the 50 most cited authors in Geography and Urban Studies in the years 1990–2010.
He has been the (co-)supervisor of 19 defended doctoral dissertations, and invited as an external PhD examiner more than 75 times by universities in Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, France, Sweden, Germany, Spain, Denmark, and Estonia.
Since 2007, Frank Witlox has been an Associate Director of the Globalization and World Cities (GaWC) Research Network. Since 2010, he is the Director of the Doctoral School of Natural Sciences at Ghent University, where he is responsible for increasing the international and social value of the doctorate, aims to enhance the support provided to the doctoral students, and contributes to strengthen the quality culture in doctoral research.
He is also the chairman of the Benelux Interuniversity Association of Transport Economists, the Institute of Sustainable Mobility at Ghent University, and the Belgium Institute of Transport Organizers.
As of 1 January 2016, Frank Witlox is the editor-in-chief of the Journal of Transport Geography, a world-leading interdisciplinary journal focusing on the geographical dimensions of transport, travel and mobility. In addition, he is an associate editor of Tijdschrift voor Economische en Sociale Geografie, and serves on the editorial board of the following Web of Science-listed journals: European Journal of Transport and Infrastructure Research, Journal of Urban Technology, Transport Reviews, Sustainability, and Applied Mobilities.