Research group at imec & Vrije Universiteit Brussel

PhD Researcher – Algorithms in media strategies

Apply before 15 Feb 2023

SMIT (Studies on Media, Innovation and Technology) is a research center of the Faculty of Social and Economic Sciences at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel. SMIT is also a core research group of imec, Europe’s leading research institute on nanotechnology and digital innovation.

For more than 30 years, imec-SMIT specializes in economic, living lab and policy research on ICT innovation in Media, Smart Cities, and Healthcare. Our team consists of over 100 senior and junior researchers with a wide variety of disciplinary backgrounds and nationalities.

Research domain

Your research will be part of the interdisciplinary project ALGEPI (understanding ALGorithmic gatekeepers to promote EPIstemic welfare), a 4-year WEAVE project involving researchers from 7 research groups in universities in Belgium and in Switzerland. The ALGEPI consortium will analyse the role of algorithms in media systems and their impact on epistemic welfare, defined as the individuals’ right to know and be exposed to trustworthy, independent and diverse information while respecting individual rights to their own data. Researchers come from various backgrounds: communication science, computer science, law, etc.

You will analyze how such algorithms (e.g. recommender systems) can contribute to or hinder media diversity. Media organisations (their outputs, their practices, theirs discourses, etc.) will be your focal point, but you may also consider policy and legal instruments, users’ representations and practices.

Tasks include

  • Interviews and active observation with media professionals
  • Analysis of algorithms’ functioning and impact from a social sciences perspective
  • Literature review
  • Practical development of research set-up, combining qualitative and quantitative approaches
  • Working on publications (peer-reviewed journal articles, book chapters) and presenting research findings internally and to a broader academic community
  • Supporting the project coordinator in daily management activities

We offer

  • The opportunity to work four years full time on a PhD track
  • A stimulating, fun, and international work environment with enterprising young researchers and experienced research staff to help you grow
  • The chance to conduct innovative research that combines theory and practice
  • An annually renewed bursary contract for four years.


  • Master’s degree in communication sciences, economics, management, sociology, computer sciences or similar with outstanding academic results
  • Good knowledge of social science research methodologies (both qualitative and quantitative) or prepared to acquire this knowledge in a short timeframe
  • Able to work independently, good self-management and planning skills
  • Flexible attitude when working in a dynamic environment with a variety of interlocutors
  • Interdisciplinary mindset
  • Analytical thinking and strong communication skills in English (including academic writing skills)

How to apply

Send your CV and letter of motivation to Wim Cloots (, as soon as possible, before 15/02/2023. For more information on the research content contact Heritiana Ranaivoson (

Sounds like the job for you?

Apply before 15 Feb 2023 by sending your CV and motivation to .