The main research question for Brussels Center for Competition Policy

ID: MSCA-19-Buts01


BCCP Research Group - Brussels Centre for Competition Policy

Competition policy exists to preserve the well-being or optimal functioning of freemarkets. Its core assumption is that anti-competitive behavior must be prevented, discouraged, or sanctioned ex post. Sound competition is important for keeping prices of goods and services low, ensure a wide range of choice, high quality and a healthy level of innovation.

There are four main pillars within the field of competition policy, i.e. State aid, antitrust, merger control and liberalization/privatisation of markets. Competition policy is a domain that is of relevance to all sectors (including public) in society, that touches upon a vast amount of subnational, national and European policy domains, and that is thus significant for researchers from diverse disciplines. The last few years, many competition cases also touch upon broader public interest considerations such as environmental protection and privacy, triggering the debate on how these topics could/should be integrated within competition policy.

The awarding of the The Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel to Jean Tirole in 2014 underlines the societal importance of a sound competition policy. Within this context, BCCP is a center of excellence for interdisciplinary research on European competition policy that brings together all VUB expertise in this area, more particularly from the Faculty of Economic and Social Sciences, theSolvay Business School, the Faculty of Law and the Institute for European Studies.

BCCP fosters interdisciplinary research on competition policy and this at the theoretical, methodological and empirical level. We focus on high quality publications, on scientific (inter)national collaboration, but also on the organization of events open to academics, industry and policy makers as well as trainings.



Blurring the public-private divide: How citizens respond to and manage political polarisation

ID: MSCA-21-Severs01


The “constructivist turn” in the literature on political representation

ID: MSCA-21-Severs02


EDGE VUB Strategic Research Program

The VUB Strategic Research Program EDGE on ‘Evaluating Democratic Governance in Europe’ has brought together researchers from the Political Science Department and from the Institute for European Studies, sharing a common interest in the study of the way in which political participation, representation and decision-making functions in contemporary Europe.

Since its creation in 2012, the EDGE program has been a research platform (e.g., research seminar series, writing and methodological workshops), a host for incoming scholars and a means for intensifying research collaborations on cutting-edge topics, such as: democratic myopia, the politicalrepresentation of animals and future generations, gender backlash in Europe, political radicalizationand the growth of niche parties, migration and Islam. EDGE researchers frequently collaborate with external partners (inter-university and European partnerships, alliance with ULB) for conducting electoral and parliamentary surveys.




Reinvigorating the EU-NATO Partnership



Multistakeholder processes, institutions and democracy



(Dis)Information and Governance



Military Alliances in the 21st century



Security Nexus Between Europe and East Asia



Developing Positioning Theory as a framework for understanding an explaining behaviour



Russia and the Future Global Order



Interdisciplinary Approaches to European Security



Institute for European Studies

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.

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.

Academic work at the IES is organised in clusters, but is also pursued through horizontal activities cutting across them. Currently, there are the following five clusters:

  • International Security
  • Environment and sustainable development
  • Migration, diversity and justice
  • European economic governance
  • Educational Development


Projects in the areas of migration, Big Data and computational social science



Interface Demography Research Group

Research at Interface Demography is aimed at enhancing scientific understanding on the determinants and consequences of population change.
Our work concentrates around five major research areas. The first three areas (health and mortality, fertility and households and migration) are typical substantive demographic topics. The theoretical knowledge generated in these areas is used to feed the topic of population dynamics and urbanisation. A last area of research is transversally related to the four previous topics and covers the development of research infrastructure through data collection and data management. The major demographic challenges currently witnessed in our society delineate the central research lines and questions within these five research areas.




Trapped by Poverty: Unraveling the Career Consequences of the Working Poor



MAST: Management and Strategy

The MAST Cluster conducts research and advisory work in three domains:

Stakeholder management, with a special focus on complex investment evaluations. Unique research and advisory expertise has been developed in the optimal design of public private partnerships (PPSs), triple bottom-line (TBL) measurement tools for projects with high external effects, and corporate social responsibility (CSR) policies.

Sustainable mobility and infrastructure management, focused on assessing large-scale projects such as port terminals, intermodal transport hubs, brownfield rejuvenation investments for mixed usage, and greenfield development sites. The Cluster builds upon more than 25 years of leading research and thought leadership in this area.

International strategic management, with a focus on the governance and expansion strategies of large multinational enterprises and their subsidiaries.  The Cluster has achieved world-class status in this field with numerous publications in leading scholarly journals.

The vision of MAST is to be an internationally recognized, research and advisory services cluster in the above knowledge areas, the essence of which can be syntesized as "strategic management for sustainable business development".




Towards a better understanding of the social dynamics that explain support for radical politics



Research Group: Tempus Omnia Revelat

Research group for the study of time, culture and society

The Research Group TOR (Tempus Omnia Revelat– Sociology Department, Vrije Universiteit Brussel) was founded in 1982 as a group devoted to the study of time use and the temporal structures of contemporary society.

Over time the group’s interest widened from the sociological study of time to culture studies in general.

TOR conducts fundamental and applied research concerning themes such as time use, cultural changes in Flanders, media, youth culture, education, life cycle and civil society.

The research group has great expertise and extensive experience in research and survey methodology and is involved in several large scale inter-university and governmental survey projects.





Disinformation Dynamics

ID: MSCA-19-Picone01


Dealing with Toxic News

ID: MSCA-19-Picone02


Public service broadcasting in a digital, international and polarised context



Rethinking public values across European dataspheres

ID: MSCA-19-Picone03


Understanding Foreign Policy Public Opinion. Examining the determinants, structure and robustness of individual attitudes

ID: MSCA-19-Picone04


SMIT Research Group

SMIT stands for Studies in Media, Innovation and Technology. Our research group is part of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel and imec.

Promotor Ike Picone teaches and researches disruptions on the crossroad of journalism, technological innovations and democracy. The thread within his research is the study of news use practices within the broad field of journalism studies. More precisely, his work focuses on ‘productive’ use of new(s) media, conceptualized within his research as self-publication. The scope is to understand how people participate to media as a social practice, and what motivations and thresholds play a role in shaping this practice. His research topics include user participation to online news, the changing relationship between news audiences and journalists and the role of new media;in the emergence of deliberative public spheres.

Dr. Ike Picone is Assistant Professor at the Department of Communication Sciences of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) and Senior Researcher within the research group IMEC-SMIT. The threadwithin his research is the study of news use practices within the broad field of journalism studies. More precisely, his work focuses on ‘productive’ use of new(s) media, conceptualized within his research as self-publication. The scope is to understand how people participate to media as a socialpractice, and what motivations and thresholds play a role in shaping this practice.

His research topics include user participation to online news, the changing relationship between news audiences and journalists and the role of new media in the emergence of deliberative public spheres. Within Studies in Media, Innovation and Technology research group (SMIT), he is part of senior staffand responsible for developing the ‘Tackling Disinformation’ research strand, one of the priorities of SMIT’s strategic research agenda for 2019-2020. He is part of the international team working on the renowned yearly Digital News Report of the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at the University of Oxford. His expertise has been acknowledged amongst others through his membership of the Flemish Council for Journalism and the temporary expert group on Fake News of former Belgian Minister of Digital Agenda Alexander De Croo. He has been vocal about the issue of disinformation in the Belgian media. He is also a member of the Council for Journalism of Flanders (Belgium).

Visit the SMIT-website