Research group at imec & Vrije Universiteit Brussel

Digital Inclusion & Citizen Engagement

The Digital Inclusion & Citizen Engagement (DICE) unit critically investigates the (dis)empowerment of people within the complex interaction between humans, data and digital technologies. This investigation takes place in relation to privacy, literacy, ethics, accountability and other public values.

The goal of research within the DICE unit is to better understand and intervene in the data agency of people when they interact with digital technologies. To this end, the unit’s researchers employ innovative methods and integrated study ‘on the ground’ of

  • private and professional users (organisations),
  • technological platforms, and
  • policy frameworks.

The unit’s social science research is thus centered around lived experiences of people and organisations when they interact with digital technologies. DICE researchers conduct a socio-technical analysis of digital technologies with a focus on how they are (not) built according to public expectations, legal requirements and ethical standards. To do so, they investigate and develop hands-on tools to enable participatory processes in policy and regulation, taking into account all relevant stakeholders. The aim is always to enhance the agency and literacy of users / citizens / patients / consumers / employees / regulators.

Main themes within DICE research:

  • (Inter)national digital inclusion policies
  • Role of the industry in digital inclusion ecosystems
  • AI and digital inequalities
  • Human Rights in a digitized society
  • ICT4D, digital inequalities and the SDGs
  • Monitoring and evaluation strategies for digital inclusion initiatives
  • Digital storytelling in an educational setting
  • Citizen engagement and just participation in user-driven technology development
  • Citizen science