SMIT/IES Lecture Series on the European Digital Information Society

19 May 2015 18:00
19 May 2015 20:00

The SMIT/IES Lecture Series is a prestigious series of compact two-hour conferences on the current topic of the European Digital Information Society.
Their purpose is to enhance understanding of topical debates about the dynamics of the European Digital Information Society through prominent lectures or expert round tables, both followed by open discussions. The events last approximately 45-60 minutes, as do the subsequent debates.




The SMIT/IES Lecture Series is a prestigious series of compact two-hour conferences on the current topic of the European Digital Information Society.

Their purpose is to enhance understanding of topical debates about the dynamics of the European Digital Information Society through prominent lectures, followed by open discussions. The events last approximately 45-60 minutes, as do the subsequent debates.

The lectures concern economic, political, technical, legal and societal aspects of ICTs, (New) Media and the European Digital Information Society, and the research, development and innovation programmes and activities related to them.

The lectures complement the courses offered in the academic programme Masters in New Media and Society in Europe. They aim to provide a full-portfolio insight into the European Digital Information Society, with speakers from policy in the European institutions, industry and academia.

Place and Registration

The SMIT/IES Lectures Series is held on the VUB campus Etterbeek, Pleinlaan 2, 1050 Brussels.

Attendance is free of charge but registration is compulsory at:

About SMIT, IES and iMinds


SMIT stands for Studies on Media, Information and Telecommunication. The research centre, founded in 1990 at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel, is part of iMinds, the Interdisciplinary Institute for Broadband Technology. SMIT specialises in social scientific research on media and ICT, with an emphasis on innovation, policy and socio-economic questions. Currently, the research centre consists of over 70 researchers.

SMIT research combines user, policy and business analysis with both quantitative and qualitative research methodologies. In order to develop new methodological tools, a continuing dialectic between theory and empirical research is one of the centre’s high-level objectives. Three methodologies have become the core of SMIT’s research agenda: user research, policy analysis and business modelling.

Together with research centres MICT (UGent) and CUO (KULeuven), SMIT forms (and leads) the iMinds’s research department Digital Society.

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The Institute for European Studies (IES) at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) is an academic Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence and a policy think tank that focuses on the European Union in an international setting. The Institute advances academic education and research in various disciplines, and provides services to policy-makers, scholars, stakeholders and the general public.

While promoting European Studies in general, the IES specifically explores EU institutions, policies and law within the context of globalization and global governance, including a focus on the EU in international affairs and institutions. The disciplines applied at the IES include law, social/political sciences, economics and communication sciences, and the Institute’s activities focus on the various ways in which institutions, law and politics intersect with each other in the EU, its member states and at the international level.

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iMinds is an independent research institute founded by the Flemish government to stimulate ICT innovation. The iMinds team offers companies and organizations active support in research and development. It brings together companies, authorities, and non-profit organisations to join forces on research projects. Both technical and non-technical issues are addressed within each of these projects. The mission of iMinds is the creation of highly competent human capital in different aspects of ICT through multi-disciplinary demand-driven research.

iMinds unites more than 1000 researchers from 5 research departments specialized in one or more of the basic competencies of iMinds. The composition of the research groups is flexible and aligned to the evolving needs of companies and organizations.

iMinds stimulates research that addresses current social and economic issues such as: Media, Energy, Health, ICT, Manufacturing and Smart Cities.

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The lectures will take place (with few exceptions) on the first and the third Tuesday of every month, from 18:00 to 20:00, from late February to May.

Given the high-level of the guest speakers, unforeseen circumstances might cause changes to the final programme. Thus, the Lectures Series calendar will be constantly updated on the SMIT website.

Those interested in attending are encouraged to consult the online information regularly, should any changes occur.


24 February 2015, 18:00-20:00 – New issues in the Digital Economy: Innovation, Super-dominance and is Content really King?
Speaker: Dr. Eliana Garces-Tolon – Deputy Head of Unit, Senior Economist, DG Enterprise & industry, Industrial Competitiveness Policy for Growth, European Commission

3 March 2015, 18:00 -20:00 – Threats and Opportunities for Broadcasting in the Digital Era. 
Speaker: Ross Biggam – Director General, Association of Commercial Television in Europe

17 March 2015, 18:00 - 20:00 – The Digital Actors Perspective.
Speaker: Saida El Ramly, Director General, EDIMA

31 March 2015, 18:00 - 20:00 – Ethical Aspects of the Digital Information Society. 
Speaker: Aidan White – Director, Ethical Journalism Network 

21 April 2015, 18:00 - 20:00 – Diversity, Complexity, and Creativity: The Essence of our European Values.
Speaker: Michel Praet - Head of the EU Relations Office, ESA

28 April 2015, 18:00-20:00 - European Internet Policy: What flavour of Internet in Europe? - The Digital Actors Perspective I

Speaker: James Waterworth - Vice President CCIA Europe

5 May 2015, 18:00 - 20:00 – Neutrality, Diversity and Competition in the "Flat Internet": What Links Net Neutrality with the Google Antitrust Investigation?
Speaker: Prof. Dr. Andrea Renda – Senior Researcher CEPS, Professor LUISS

12 May 2015, 18:00 - 20:00 - The Digital Actors Perspective II: the Digital Single Market and What it May Offer Europe Today and Tomorrow

Speaker: Siada El Ramly, Director General, EDiMA

19 May 2015, 18:00 - 20:00 – The Future of Education in the Digital Age.
Speaker: Xavier Prats Monné - Director General for Education and Culture, European Commission

About the Guest Speakers

Eliana Garcés Tolón is a Senior Economist and Deputy Head of Unit for Industrial Competitiveness Policy at the European Commission. She is a former Member of the Cabinet of Vice President Joaquin Almunia, European Commissioner for Competition Policy and was previously a member of the Cabinet of European Commissioner for Consumer Affairs Meglena Kuneva. She has worked as a member of the Chief Economist Team in the Directorate General of Competition in the European Commission and in private economic consulting in the United States.
Eliana holds a PhD in Economics from the University of California, Los Angeles.

After studying at Exeter and Saarbrücken, Ross Biggam worked as Legal Adviser to the House of Lords EU Select Committee before joining ITV, the leading commercial broadcaster in the UK, where he ended up as Head of European Affairs.
In April 2000, he moved to Brussels to become Director General of the Association of Commercial Television in Europe (ACT), which represents the business interests of the commercial television sector at the EU institutions. Its member companies are active in 37 European countries and encompass several business models, from free-to-air television broadcasters to multimedia groups and digital TV platform operators. ACT is regularly consulted by the EU institutions on all aspects of the media business, including content regulation, copyright and competition cases.

Aidan White is the Director of the Ethical Journalism Network, a global campaign for ethics, good governance and self-regulation in media and journalism.
Until 2011 White worked as General Secretary of the International Federation of Journalists a post he held for 23 years. He was born in Ireland, and educated in Ireland and the United Kingdom where he learned his trade as a journalist. He is 62 and now lives in London. Before he joined the IFJ, he was at The Guardian where he has worked as a feature writer and sub-editor. He previously worked as a reporter and senior editorial manager for leading regional and national newspapers in Britain.
He is a former member of the British Press Council and an authority on ethical and moral practice within journalism. He is the founder of the International News Safety Institute, a coalition of media, journalism support groups and media unions, which was launched in 2005 which provides practical support for journalists and media in area of high risk. He is also a founder and board member of the International Freedom of Expression Exchange (1993), a coalition of 65 regional and international press freedom groups.
He is currently Chairman of Internews Europe, a major media development agency, and is an advisor for the Media Diversity Institute in London. He is an international consultant to many international bodies and has produced reports for UNESCO, the ILO, the UN Human Rights Commission, the Council of Europe, and the European Union.

James Waterworth advises CCIA Europe's members on Internet policy and regulation . He has more than a decade of experience in technology policy having held government affairs posts for Nokia, Cable and Wireless and Telefonica in Brussels and London. Mr Waterworth has a Masters degree in European politics from the University of London together with a degree in French language and literature from the University of Leeds. He speaks a number of European languages with Finnish being the one of which he is proudest.