SMIT (Studies on Media, Innovation and Technology) is a research centre of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel. It is located on the VUB Campus (Brussels) and is part of the Faculty of Social and Economic Sciences, the department of Communication Sciences and is embedded as a core group in imec, Flanders leading strategic research institute on nano-technology and ICT innovation.

For more than 25 years, imec-SMIT specialises in socio-economic and policy research on ICT innovation in Media, Cities, and Healthcare. Our team consists of around 70 senior and junior researchers with a wide variety in backgrounds and nationalities.

Research domain

Within SMIT, both PhD positions are part of a large-scale research project within the field of media economics called “The exchange value and public value of content and communication services in future media ecosystems”. The Media Unit aims at developing and carrying out research aimed at understanding current and future policy and regulatory inputs, processes and outputs, as well as market structures and business models that shape the introduction of innovation in media and technology.

A first PhD project relates to the changing roles of government in sustaining public and commercial value in small media markets. The analysis will focus on how policies to support creative industries in Europe have shifted from a public interest to economic motivations. It will, secondly, develop methods and toolkits to assess and evaluate the effectiveness of current policy support measures in small markets (such as tax shelter systems, video game funds, support for online journalism), and assess whether current ways of mechanisms are still future-proof in the age of over-the-top media players, changing audiences and shifting business models. The research requires a combination of quantitative data analysis and qualitative methods (interviews, roundtables, stakeholder consultations)

A second PhD project relates to the evolution towards a multi-layered platform economy and what it means for the European media and communications sector.

The PhD research will investigate the relationship between platforms (Facebook, Google, etc.), how it affects the sustainability of domestic media and communications, and what repercussions it has for media policies. It will use a combination of quantitative (i.e. measuring before and after the entrance of platforms on specific markets, services and value) and qualitative methods (scenario building workshops with an eye on Digital Single market policies).

The two PhD bursaries will work full time on their PhD projects. The research will be guided by two supervisors per research track, and the researchers will meet on regular basis within larger project teams to discuss their progress. The 4-year research track will lead to the defense of a PhD thesis at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel.

Tasks include
  • Literature review
  • Development tools and methods showing significant advancement in media economic and media policy research
  • Interviews, roundtables, consultations and meetings with media professionals, regulators, and policymakers
  • Analysis of quantitative data to assess trends, impact, etc.
  • Organisation of research seminars and workshops as part of the PhD research
  • Working on publications (peer-reviewed journal articles, book chapters) and presenting research findings internally and to the broader academic community
  • Daily project management and reporting to promotor/ project coordinator
  • Master in communication sciences, political science, sociology, economy or similar with outstanding academic results.
  • Good broad knowledge of ICT, media systems and media economics
  • Knowledge of and affinity with the media sector in Europe, media platforms, new media as well as legacy players (broadcasters, producers, distributors)
  • Good knowledge of economic and/or social science research methodologies (both qualitative and quantitative) or prepared to acquire this knowledge in a short timeframe.
  • Insight in economic impact assessment is a plus
  • Able to work independently, good self-management and planning skills.
  • Flexible attitude when working in a dynamic environment with a variety of professional interlocutors
  • Analytical thinking and excellent academic writing skills.
  • You have the ambition to obtain a PhD title and the perseverance and goal-orientedness to complete this within 4 years.
  • Good knowledge of academic English is an absolute requirement.

We offer
  • The opportunity to work four years full time on a PhD track
  • A dynamic and stimulating work environment with enterprising young scientists and experienced senior research staff in an international setting
  • High-quality innovative research on future-oriented services
  • Support and guidance by experienced supervisors/ senior researchers
  • An annually renewed bursary contract for four years.

Please submit your email application including full CV and motivation letter to Wim Cloots on jobs@ before 8th December 2017. 

Created by Juan Vasquez on 8/11/2017