Research group at imec & Vrije Universiteit Brussel

Willemien Laenens


Personal Description

The main fields of my interest are digital skills, digital literacy and digital inclusion and exclusion. As a researcher, I explore how people make use of the Internet and digital media and why they experience and use it the way they do. By doing so, I use several qualitative methods (e.g. focus groups and co-creation). In regard of a digitizing society, I find it interesting to give a voice to all actors (including vulnerable groups) in this debate. Research must meet the needs of civil society organisations and practice, and must focus on the formulation of policy recommendations. In my opinion, everybody can gain from a harmonisation between theory, policy and practice.

I have a bachelor degree in Graphic Design and also hold a master degree in Communication Science. Since October 2016, I’ve been working at imec-SMIT-VUB on several projects for the Flemish and Federal Government (e.g. IDEALiC). In June 2017, I obtained a certificate of the training Stakeholder management by Levuur. This training focuses on involving and engaging stakeholders in research projects, companies, etc.