About us

Natali Helberger, KNAW member, is Distinguished University Professor of Law and Digital Technology with a special focus on AI at the University of Amsterdam and a member of the board of directors of the Institute for Information Law (IViR), one of the leading information law institutes worldwide. She co-founded two Research Priority Area at the UvA: Information, Communication, and the Data Society (https://www.uva-icds.net) and Human(e) AI (https://humane-ai.nl) – university-wide research programs and hubs for researchers from the social sciences, humanities, and computer science to advance a societal perspective on AI. As one of the four AI University Professors at the UvA, member of the Dutch National AI Coalition and the VSNU AI Expert Table, and track leader in the national Digital Society Initiative, Helberger is actively shaping AI research in the Netherlands and has been invited to co-author the Dutch AI research agenda.

Her research over the past five years has focused on how AI and ADS are transforming society and the media, and the implications for law and governance. This research entails working with computer scientists and technology experts in the national Responsible Data Science Initiative and with industry partners such as RTL, Blendle, Volkskrant, FD, VPRO (Belgium), ZDF (Germany), and the BBC (UK).  She is elected chair of the Council of Europe Expert Group on AI and Freedom of Expression, Advisory Board Member of the Reuters Institute for Journalism at Oxford, and member of the scientific board of the German Media Policy Lab (an initiative of the German regulator to promote collaboration between science and policy on matters of the digital society). In recognition of her contribution to the field she has been listed as one of the “100 brilliant women in AI ethics to follow” worldwide. Based on her research, she regularly advises national and European law and policymakers including, among others, the European Commission, the European Parliament, the Council of Europe, the OECD, UNESCO, the Dutch Parliament, and national governments and regulatory authorities.

Claes H. de Vreese is Distinguished Faculty Professor of Artificial Intelligence, Data and Democracy and Professor and Chair of Political Communication and director of the Program Group Political Communication & Journalism in The Amsterdam School of Communication Research ASCoR, University of Amsterdam (UvA). He (co-)directs the UvA Platform Information, Communication and the Data Society (ICDS), including the Research Priority Areas Communication, Personalised Communication, and Human(e) AI. He is the founding Director of the Center for Politics and Communication (www.polcomm.org). He is the President of the International Communication Association ICA (2020-21).  Finally, he is Affiliated Professor of Political Science and Journalism at the University of Southern Denmark.

His research interests include the role of data and artificial intelligence in democratic processes, microtargeting, comparative journalism research, the effects of news, public opinion and European integration. His research has been funded by several science foundation grants, e.g., an ERC grant, VENI and VICI grants from the Dutch Science Foundation, as well as grants from various EU research programs. He has received awards for research from the International Communication Association, the Danish Science Foundation, and the Holberg Foundation. He is recipient of the Swanson Career Achievement Award (ICA, 2018), the NeFCA Career Award (2019), and he is an elected Fellow of the Royal Dutch Academy of Sciences, the International Communication Association, and the Royal Holland Society of Sciences.

He has published 200+ articles in international peer-reviewed journals, including Communication Research, Journal of Politics, Journalism Studies, Political Communication, Journal of Communication, Public Opinion Quarterly, International Journal of Public Opinion Research, West European Politics, European Union Politics, Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, and European Journal of Political Research. He served as Editor in Chief of Political Communication (2014-2020) and the International Journal of Public Opinion Research IJPOR (2011-2014). He serves on the Editorial Board of a dozen ISI ranked journals. He has been visiting scholar at Harvard University, Netherlands Institute of Advances Studies, University of Zurich, and SDU. He has lectured in a dozen of countries and frequently appears in (inter)national news media. 

Nanda Piersma is AUAS professor of Responsible IT, also affiliated with the Centrum Wiskunde & Informatica (CWI), the national research institute for mathematics and computer science in the Netherlands. Her group is active in
–  Research, design and development of implementations and algorithms for responsible digital transformation based on public values in co-creation with societal partners.
– Research and development of methodologies and tools to support designers, IT developers to create responsible digital technology.
– Understanding and criticizing digital technology and its impact on society..
– Extracting general principles for the development of responsible digital technology. 

She is the scientific director of the AUAS Centre of Expertise Applied Artificial Intelligence. She is a board member of NLAIC, Platform Applied ICT Research (PRIO), AI Technology for People and Amsterdam Data Science.

Pascal Wiggers, is a AUAS senior lecturer in the Responsible IT research group. He is the head of the Responsible AI Lab of the Centre of Expertise Applied AI which researches, designs and develops responsible AI that empowers people and benefits society and is focused in particular on the Creative Industries and the Media. 

Pascal has a background in Artificial Intelligence and Human Centered Design. His research focus is on the development of responsible and human-centered AI from public values, where he is interested in both the development of novel AI technology and in the design process. Pascal holds a PhD from Delft University of Technology in Speech and Language processing. Before working at AUAS he was an assistant professor at that same university.

Martijn de Waal is AUAS Professor of the research group Civic Interaction Design. He has a background in journalism, media studies and practical philosophy. His research focus is on the relation between digital media and public space, with specific interest in civic media and digital placemaking. His PhD thesis The City as Interface. How Digital Media Are Changing the City was published by NAi010 publishers in 2014. He is a co-founder of The Mobile City, a non-profit that since 2007 has organized numerous workshops and events on digital media and urban culture, and also co-founded DeNieuweReporter in 2005, a lead- ing Dutch blog on the future of journalism. Before working at the AUAS he was an assistant profes- sor in media studies at the University of Amster- dam. In 2009 he was a visiting scholar at the MIT Centre for Civic Media. Around the change of the century, he worked as a journalist working for a diverse range of Dutch media (de Volkskrant, VPRO Radio, Emerce) covering technology & society. He was appointed professor of the Play and Civic Media research group in February 2020. 

Geert Lovink is a Dutch media theorist, internet critic and author of Uncanny Networks (2002), Dark Fiber (2002), My First Recession (2003), Zero Comments (2007), Networks Without a Cause (2012), Social Media Abyss (2016) and Sad by Design (2019). In 2003 he received his PhD from the University of Melbourne, followed by a postdoc position at the University of Queensland. In 2004 he founded the Institute of Network Cultures at the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences. From 2004-2012 he was associated professor in the new media program of Mediastudies, University of Amsterdam. In 2005-2006 he was a fellow at the Insitute of Advanced Study in Berlin. From 2007-2017 he taught at the European Graduate School (Saas-Fee/Malta) where he supervised five PhD students.

Sabine Niederer is professor of Visual Methodologies with the Visual Methodologies Collective at the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences Faculty of Digital Media and Creative Industries, specialises in developing visual methods for social and cultural research. Sabine is specialised in the study of online content, and online images in particular. She is rooted in the humanities and the arts, and interested in the visual language of social and cultural issues, such as sustainability and climate change. Developing novel techniques for visual and digital research with a special focus on images is an exciting and relatively new field of research. It is highly motivating to attune these techniques to the urgent issues of our times, and train our students to use these methods to get a better sense of the contributions they can make to their field and to society.

Tamara Witschge (PhD University of Amsterdam) is applied professor Crossmedia at the AUAS. She is also a chair in Media and Cultural Industries at the University of Groningen . She runs the five-year, NWO-funded research progamme “Entrepreneurship at Work” and the NWO-funded action research project “Documenting Complexity”. She worked at Goldsmiths Leverhulme Media Research Centre and at the School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies, Cardiff University. Her research explores innovation, creativity and (social) change in and trough media. She co-autored “Beyond Journalism” with Mark Deuze, published by Polity Press in 2020. She co-editet the Sage Handbook of Digital Journalism (2016) and is co-autor of ‘Changing Journalism’ (2011, Routledge).

Dr. Laura Hollink is a tenured researcher at CWI with an interest in both knowledge representation and human computer interaction. She obtained her PhD from VU University Amsterdam in 2006, where she studied usage patterns in semantic image search. After that she was assistant professor at VU University Amsterdam and at Delft University of Technology. Laura obtained funding from NWO, CLARIAH and the Netherlands eScience center, and has served as work package leader in three EU FP7/Horizon2020 projects. Her project on linking media archives to political event data (PoliMedia) was awarded the first prize in the LinkedUp Challenge in 2013 and the Open Data prize at the LODLAM challenge in 2015. Laura initiated and chaired the USEWOD workshop series, which ran from 2011 to 2016 and became a benchmark for usage analysis on the semantic web. Her current research relates to the use of AI for the subjective, polivocal data in the cultural heritage sector. Laura is a founding partner of the new Cultural AI Lab, in which AI researchers collaborate with humanities scholars and cultural heritage professionals. 

Prof. Dr. Pablo Cesar leads the Distributed and Interactive Systems (DIS) group at CWI and is Professor at TU Delft. He is ACM Distinguished Member and IEEE Senior member, and was awarded the 2020 Netherlands Prize for ICT Research (ICT Award). Pablo’s research focuses on modeling and controlling complex collections of media objects (including real-time media and sensor data) that are distributed in time and space. He is the PI from CWI on two H2020 projects about 3D tele-immersion (VRTogether) and Human-Centered Multimedia Systems (TRACTION), and several PPS (Publiek-private samenwerking) projects. Pablo participated as PI as well in very successful EU-funded projects like 2IMMERSE (2015-2018), REVERIE (2011-2015) and Vconect (2011-2014). Pablo has (co)-authored over 100 articles with several of his publications winning the best paper award: ACM TVX (2018), ACM MMsys (2016 and 2013), the International Conference on Physiological Computing Systems (2016), and WSICC (2013). He is member of the editorial board of, among others, IEEE Multimedia, ACM Transactions on Multimedia and IEEE Transactions of Multimedia. Pablo has given tutorials about multimedia systems in prestigious conferences such as ACM Multimedia, CHI, and the WWW conference. He acted as an invited expert at the European Commission’s Future Media Internet Architecture Think Tank and participates in standardization activities at MPEG (point-cloud compression) and ITU (QoE for multi-party tele-meetings).

Dr. Eric Pauwels is senior researcher at CWI and leader of CWI’s  Intelligent and Autonomous Systems research group. He has worked  on various mathematical problems in content-based image retrieval, including segmentation and statistical learning applied to machine vision,  as well as clustering and anomaly detection in sensor data.    His current researchfocuses on the application of computational intelligence including optimization, data analytics and machine learning to decision making in decentralized and complex environments, such as multi-agent systems and smart energy or logistics systems.  Pauwels has been involved in numerous national and European projects (a number of which as coordinator) and set up several public-private partnerships (PPP) between CWI and industrial partners.  He has acted as founding chairman for the European Research Consortium for Informatics and Mathematics’ (ERCIM) Working Group on Image and Video Understanding, and  as  member of CWI’s research valorisation team.

Prof.dr.ir. Han La Poutré at CWI on multi-agent and computational intelligence techniques. He has founded the Intelligent and Autonomous Systems group and has been its leader for 18 years, and he currently is a member of CWI’s Management Team. He also is a full professor (since 19 years), currently at TU Delft on Intelligent Energy Systems (part-time). He is especially interested in (decentralized) decision making, coordination, and optimization techniques, especially via multi-agent systems and game-theoretic approaches.  Keywords are amongst others adaptivity, fairness, truthfulness, privacy-preservation, and stability. He holds a PhD degree in computer science (Utrecht University) and a MSc degree in mathematics (TU Eindhoven). Former affiliations are Utrecht University (with a KNAW fellowship), Princeton University, and Leiden University. He has been member of boards for e.g. ACM Transactions on Internet Technology and the Scientific Directory of Schloss Dagstuhl. He is/was (co-) chairman of call-defining and supervisory committees of several multidisciplinary programs of N.W.O. and Commit2Data and of the IEEE Computational Finance and Economics Technical Committee. He currently is member of the board of IPN (the ICT Research Platform Netherlands) and vice-president of ERCIM (the European Research Consortium for Informatics and Mathematics).

Tobias Blanke is Distinguished University Professor of Artificial Intelligence and Humanities at the University of Amsterdam. His academic background is in moral philosophy and computer science. Tobias’ principal research interests lie in the development and research of artificial intelligence and big data devices as well as infrastructures for research, particularly in the human sciences. Recently, he has also extensively published on ethical questions of AI like predictive policing or algorithmic otherings, as well as critical digital practices and the engagement with digital platforms. Tobias has authored three books, over 80 journal articles, conference papers and book chapters spanning traditional philosophy, computer science and digital studies. He has been an investigator on high-quality research grants well in excess of over €30m including the coordination of major European networks. Tobias’ monographs include most recently Digital Asset Ecosystems – Rethinking Crowds and Clouds, which offers a new perspective on the collaboration between humans and computers in global digital workflows. He is currently writing a book on the socio-economic position of AI called ‘Algorithmic Reason – the Governance of Self and Other’.

Stefania Milan

Stefania Milan (stefaniamilan.net) is Associate Professor of New Media and Digital Culture at University of Amsterdam. Her work explores the interplay between digital technology, political participation and governance, with focus on infrastructure and agency. Stefania is the Principal Investigator of DATACTIVE (data-activism.net) and “Citizenship and standard-setting in digital networks” (in-sight.it), funded by the European Research Council and the Dutch Research Council respectively. She is also Co-Principal Investigator in the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Innovative Training Network “Early language development in the digital age” (e-ladda.eu). In 2018-20 she directed the Algorithms Exposed (ALEX) project (algorithms.exposed), tasked with developing open source software tools for auditing personalization algorithms on social media. In 2017, she co-founded the Big Data from the South Research Initiative, investigating the impact of datafication and surveillance on communities at the margins. Stefania holds a PhD in Political and Social Science from the European University Institute. Prior to joining the University of Amsterdam, she worked at, among others, Tilburg University, the Citizen Lab at the University of Toronto and the Central European University. Stefania is the author of Social Movements and Their Technologies: Wiring Social Change (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013/2016), co-author of Media/Society (Sage, 2011), and co-editor of COVID-19 from the Margins. Pandemic Invisibilities, Policies and Resistance in the Datafied Society (Institute of Network Cultures, 2021).

Research team

Valeria Resendez

Valeria is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Amsterdam. She works on the AI and Automation in the Media Sector project, a study on the impact of algorithms on journalism. Before joining the ICDS research initiative, Valeria worked with different AI organizations to increase user’s exposure to new technologies and facilitated collaboration with initiatives to outline ethical guidelines for AI development. In 2020, she finished her master in Communication with Cum Laude Distinction at the University of Twente. Her research focused on understanding how the language of a conversational agent influences user

experience. During this time, she also interned with the BMS LAB at the University of

Twente, where she detailed user’s requirements and goals to the development team to

increase user experience on the applications offered by the Lab. By combining industry

experience with research, she aims to create an impact on algorithms’ transparency and

explainability to use Automation and Artificial Intelligence for social good.

Tomás Dodds

Tomás Dodds is a Postdoctoral Researcher in Artificial Intelligence and Automation in the media sector. His doctoral dissertation focused on how new digital technologies are changing professional roles in contemporary multimodal newsrooms. Tomás joined the University of Amsterdam in 2019 as a research assistant in the DATACTIVE project, and later as a Lecturer in New Media and Digital Culture, where he coordinated the data journalism course. Tomás holds a Bachelor of Arts in social communication and journalism from the University of Chile. In 2016, he received a master’s degree in sociology from the Catholic University of Chile for his thesis in voting behaviour and the link between class and culture.

Theresa Seipp

Theresa is a PhD candidate at IViR (Institute for Information Law, UvA) researching the impacts of AI in the media sector. She holds a Bachelor degree in European and International law (LL.B.) and a Master degree in Global Criminal Law and Criminology (LL.M., cum laude) from the University of Groningen (NL). She also completed a Master degree (LL.M.) in International Business law at Ghent University (BEL), where she focused on European Media law and was part of the team for the Price Media Law Moot Court Competition at Oxford University. Previously, Theresa worked in the field of European data protection law and most recently researched at the Leibniz-Institute for Media Research, Hans-Bredow-Institute in Hamburg (GER), on topics related to EU media law and regulation and the use of AI and automation tools in journalism.


Beeld en Geluid (Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision)

Johan Oomen is Head of Research and Heritage Services at the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision and a researcher at the User-Centric Data Science group of the VU University Amsterdam. Throughout his practice, Oomen works on initiatives that focus on providing access to digital heritage. Next to projects at Sound and Vision, Oomen works on international collaborative projects such as AI4MEDIA, Europeana XX, CLARIAH, and ReTV. He has a background in information science, media studies and computer science, and his current research focuses on exploring the potential of digital cultural heritage in the wider Cultural and Creative Industries. He is a board member of the Europeana Foundation, the EUscreen Foundation and the PublicSpaces Foundation. Oomen is an advisor to the Amsterdam Fund for the Arts, Time Machine Organisation and the Dutch National Research Council for Cultural Heritage, and co-chair of The Netherlands Heritage Network. In 2020, he co-founded the NLAIC working group on Culture and Media and the Cultural AI Lab.