VRT funds academic research on its digital future
A research project on investigating the role of the media in a changing society will be shared by professors at Ghent University and VUB
Over the next two years the chair will be a focus for research on how broadcasters such as VRT can best position themselves in a changing society and a modern media context. Questions to be addressed include the role of the media, changing media usage, and how to maximise social impact when media consumption is increasingly “on-demand”.
This work will not just be for and about VRT. “The research will be for everyone, but in particular for media companies that are open to their role in this digital age,” explained Donders. “So commercial companies can also participate, as can other media organisations.”
When a society is in transition, it benefits from strong public institutions that act as reliable beacons
According to Donders, research in the first year will focus on the digital transformation of the media before moving on to journalistic questions in the second year. Extension of the research beyond two years will depend on VRT refinancing the chair. The budget is reported to be €100,000, split equally between the two universities.
Rik Van de Walle, rector of Ghent University, sees a wider significance in the collaboration. “When a society is in transition, it benefits from strong public institutions that act as reliable beacons,” he said at the official launch of the chair on Monday.
“Just as VRT is such a beacon,” he continued, “universities must also help society to stay on course in time of polarisation. An academic chair is the instrument par excellence for building bridges between universities and other stakeholders, and ultimately also between the partners involved and the wider society.”