Research group at imec & Vrije Universiteit Brussel

Karen Donders

Senior Researcher

Personal Description

Media policy, albeit a niche domain in communication sciences research, has always been my passion. What is the outlook of a particular media market and how have governments affected it? Should policy-makers meddle with the business of media through subsidy schemes for film, the funding of public broadcasters, regulation on advertising and product placement, etc? And is all of this a sub-national, national or European affair? Answering these questions requires knowledge of media policy and media economics. My research activities mainly focus on public service media policies and strategies, private television, the interplay between television and distribution platforms, national and European media policy, and the way in which competition policy affects the media sector. My methodological expertise can be situated in the field of policy analysis (incl. expert interviews, document analysis, case studies, PAR4P).

Since 2015, I am employed as a full-time assistant-professor at the Faculty of Economic and Social Sciences of the VUB. As head of SMIT’s smart media unit I supervise all business, policy and user researchers that work on mediated communication. The unit takes several joint initiatives such as the organization of the bi-annually organized Private Television in Europe conference and the monthly publication of its policy brief. After obtaining my master’s degree in communication sciences in 2005, I started working at SMIT on e-government projects. After completing my Ph.D. at the Institute for European Studies (VUB) on State aid policies and public broadcasting in 2010, I re-joined SMIT as a senior researcher. A re-worked version of my Ph.D. ‘Public service media and policy in Europe’ was published with Palgrave Macmillan in 2012.