Research group at imec & Vrije Universiteit Brussel


New projects at SMIT (July 2023 – December 2023)

A new project  started between July 2023 and December 2023 at imec-SMIT, Vrije Universiteit Brussel.



Due to the overwhelming quantity of digital content, it has become crucial for media content providers (such as Netflix, Spotify, or The New York Times, to name just a few) to incorporate algorithmic gatekeepers which filter, rank and recommend content. ALGEPI is shedding light on these behind-the-scenes players to understand how algorithms are shaping the digital landscape and the way information is produced, distributed, and consumed. How do these algorithms work? In what way are these being used by the media content providers to maximize their impact? What is the user effect and perception? These are some of the questions ALGEPI aims to answer.

imec-SMIT, VUB is the project coordinator.

More information on the project

Project website


Local Digital Toolbox

The Local Digital Toolbox procurement – advancing initial stages for the transformation of smart communities (Service contract EU) contributes to the EU aim to create a European Local Digital Twin (LDT) toolbox in support of the ambition to increase the use of LDTs and the digital maturity of cities and communities in the EU in general.

This project focuses on the less-ready rural and urban EU cities and communities, to increase their speed towards adopting local digital twins and democratising technology across the EU. This is done by means of addressing the gap in awareness and readiness between EU communities and cities (lot 1) and by a.o providing a detailed digitalisation roadmap, online advisory services to assess communities’ technological readiness for implementing MIM-compliant local data platform and online technical assistance (lot 2).

imec-SMIT, VUB will focus on the review and analysis of the digital health framework and indicators for smart cities and communities and the analysis of the reports from the LORDIMAS digital self-assessment tool (lot 1) and on the development of a data governance structure for LDTs as well as how to use LDTs in the data-driven policy decision processes (lot 2).s.

More information on the project



The DS4SCC (Dataspaces-in.EU – Realising a data space that works for all European citizens) is a project within the Digital Europe program. This data space for smart and sustainable cities and communities project aims to evolve the blueprint for the smart communities data space in 10-12 pilots, which will validate it in real life to deliver a sustainable European data space that works for all citizens. Therefore, the project will establish a federated and innovative Data Space, conduct pilots, refine the Data Space Blueprint and foster Innovation and align with the ecosystems.

imec-SMIT, VUB will develop an ethical assessment method for dataspaces, set up a dedicated monitoring instrument to assess and evaluate the different Data Space pilots and provide them with support and training with regards to multi-actor scoping and needs assessment.

More information on the project

Project website



The DISA (Digital Inclusion in South Africa: From Digital Difficulties to Inclusive Digital Transition) is a VLIR-UOS short initiative project. The main goal of the project is to collect and provide good, up-to-date data on digital inclusion and digital difficulties to support an integrated national perspective and policy framework on digital inclusion (DI), to enable different organisations to develop specific actions to address specific DI topics and to provide an instrument to monitor the status on the long term. The project is a collaboration with the CoLab for e-Inclusion and Social Innovation (University of Western Cape)

imec-SMIT, VUB will contribute to the set-up and deployment of a digital inclusion monitoring instrument and translate the results into policy recommendations.

More information on the project



The ClickCallConnect project is a research project for the FOD Economy. The main objective is to investigate how customer processes and contact with (staff of) service providers can be improved based on existing practices/current initiatives, to the benefit of both companies and users. This research serves as a basis to establish one or more models, depending on the size of the company and the sector. The models should subsequently be able to be implemented at service providers/companies in Belgium. Within these models, recommendations to promote the digital inclusion of service providers in Belgium.

imec-SMIT, VUB is responsible for assessing current customer service models and developing new strategies & recommendations to ensure that these are more (digital) inclusive. This will be done through a literature study, case-study analysis & expert interviews.

More information on the project



Youth confront unprecedented risks from social media harms, environmental destruction, economic marginalisation, information disorder and the pandemic. Yet the profile of European screen authors – creatives shaping scripts needed for entertainment, edification, inspiration and consolation, and locating young people authentically in their cultures – is 46 years, master’s degree, freelance and 64% males. They operate within a global US$382 billion streaming market, dominated by subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) platforms Netflix and Amazon Prime, growing at 23% annually.

In this context, IDABESS starts from the assumption that Algorithmic Recommenders of such platforms shape story culture and need to be better understood. These SVODs present new threats to Europe- origin storytelling, including ‘missed revenues’ needed to ensure a robust European industry. Especially problematic is US SVODs enclosure of intellectual property (IP), and lack of ‘fair alternatives’ for European screenwriters. Despite concerns regarding the lack of deep reading, many youth still favor serialised storytelling. Given civilisation’s need to reflect to stay healthy, and intergenerational equity, IDABESS will help ensure younger European people have a quality, diverse and pluralistic screen storytelling ecology. Via interviews with high-value writer-producers using socio-technologies in the most innovative ways in exemplar countries, IDABESS will investigate what the paradigm shift to algorithmically- based platforms means for the livelihoods and diversity of European screenwriters, and produce a best practice model of innovative series production and distribution to better inform scholarship, pedagogy, creative practice and policy.

More information on the project



Companies are placing increasing importance on the whole of the customer experience, ensuring customer satisfaction at every step, from ordering to use. Every form of contact or interaction (a touchpoint) can be important in this respect. The relevant data for this is very diverse and difficult to measure and evaluate centrally, let alone compare with possible competitors. However, this is important to decide which investments and improvements are most important to increase customer satisfaction and sales. Today, Digipolitans offers this service as a scan of a company and its services, albeit relying on a lot of manual work. This project examines whether this can be largely or fully automated, without lowering or even – on the contrary – increasing quality

imec-SMIT, VUB will investigate how customer experiences can be measured, and more specifically how Digipolitans’ touchpoint scan compares with traditional customer surveys. This will examine which interactions are important in all possible service contexts, versus which interactions only matter in certain situations. In addition, we examine which aspects of the customer experience are minimum requirements, and which aspects can make a difference.

More information on the project



Photo by airfocus on Unsplash