In August 2019, I started with a very exciting new (part time) assignment: streamlining the communications and events of the newly established Kenniscentrum Data & Maatschappij (Knowledge Centre Data & Society). I was hired by SMIT (Studies in Media, Innovation and Technology), a research group at the VUB (Vrije Universiteit Brussel).

The Knowledge Centre aims to become a knowledge hub and centre of expertise for juridical, ethical and societal aspects of artificial intelligence and data-driven applications and is a collaboration between SMIT, CITIP (KU Leuven) and MICT (UGent), with the support of the Flemish government (EWI).

If you have been following me, you might think that AI is slightly out of my comfort zone, contentwise, and you are not wrong. However, I feel that in this position it is actually a benefit not to be an expert – because what I’ll be doing is helping with the translation of the excellent research that is being done by the research groups towards our stakeholders. These stakeholders are small and large commercial companies, policy makers and civil society (individuals and interest groups). So, in a way, it IS about scientific communications and accessibility (hello, comfort zone!), and I’ll be making a real effort to make sure that all outputs are as openly accessible as possible!

What I’ve been working on in the last months is setting up a communication plan, connecting with a web and graphic designer, and setting up our launch event on December 9th. It’s all very exciting and sometimes even a bit stressful, but luckily I have a couple of excellent colleagues who all bring their own expertise to this new Knowledge Centre – so far, the mix really seems to work.

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BONUS: I get to go to a real office once a week! We have access to the flex desks at the IMEC offices in the fabulous De Krook in Ghent – the view is quite stunning (and certainly a lot better than the one from my home office!)

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