The Network Institute counts more than 400 members in total. Our members are academic scholars at various levels, including PhD candidates, postdoc researchers, assistant professors, associate professors, and full professors. All researchers employed in the following departments are members of the Network Institute:

  • Computer Science (Faculty of Science)
  • Communication Science (Faculty of Social Sciences)
  • Organisation Sciences (Faculty of Social Sciences)
  • Language, Literature and Communication (Faculty of Humanities)
  • KIN Center for Digital Innovation (Faculty of Business and Economics)
  • Athena Institute (Faculty of Science)


The management structure of the Network Institute contains the following elements:

  • Director
  • Strategic Advisor
  • Board of Departments Directors
  • Operational Teams


The director is responsible for leading the Network Institute according to its mission and values, representing the Network Institute in institutional contexts, and taking strategic decisions in consultation with the other elements of the governance of the institute. The director is appointed by the Board of Departments Directors for a period of 4 years. The current director is dr. Ivano Malavolta, Department of Computer Science, Faculty of Science.

Strategic advisor

The role of the Strategic Advisor is to support the director in taking high-level decisions in accordance with its mission and values. In order to give continuity to the mission of the institute, the strategic advisor is assigned to the person who was the director in the previous term. If the director of the previous term is not a VU staff member, then the role of strategic advisor is assigned by the Board of Departments Directors.

Board of departments directors

This board meets once a year year with the director and the strategic advisor. The role of this board is to discuss with the director about the current status of the institute and to support the director in taking key strategic decisions beneficial for the long-term success of the institute. This board includes the heads of the above-mentioned departments.


The day-to-day operations rest with five Operational Teams. Each team has its own goal and covers the main lines of activities of the Network Institute. Each team carries out its own initiatives independently of the other teams and, when needed, inter-team initiatives are also possible. Below we report the five Operational Teams, together with their main responsibilities/activities.

  • Academy – train and support promising VU students in doing interdisciplinary research
  • Tech labs – facilitate VU research with our high-tech laboratories (e.g., Virtual reality environments, sensors, augmented reality)
  • Research – promote collaboration among VU researchers via direct funding, events, etc.
  • Outreach and transfer – build relationships with stakeholders outside the VU (e.g., companies, NGOs, governmental institutions)
  • Community – engage researchers and citizens (both inside and outside the VU) via social media, events, etc.

Overall, more than 20 researchers are involved in our Operational Teams, and each team has an average of 6 researchers belonging to various departments of the VU, ranging from Computer Science, to Communication Science, Organization Sciences, Law and so on.. The board is organized around 5 teams, each with complementary goals.

Get to know the Operational Teams, Strategic Advisor and Director!

Ellen Droog Comm. Sciences
Dian van Huijstee  Comm. Sciences
Myrthe Reuver Language, Literature and Communication
Mariken van der Velden Comm. Sciences
Constanza Gajardo Leon Language, Literature and Communication
Outreach & Transfer
Tijs van den Broek Organization Sciences
Anna Bon Computer Science
Silvia De Conca ALTI
Mauricio Verano Merino Computer Science
Basmah Alsaedi KIN
Silvia Majo Vazquez Comm. Sciences
Emma Beauxis Aussalet Computer Science
Kim Baraka Computer Science
Antske Fokkens Language, Literature and Communication
Lea Lösch Athena Institute
Lea Krause Language, Literature and Communication
Mike Ligthart Computer Science
Bernhard Resch Organization Sciences
Reshmi Gopalakrishna Pillai Comm. Science
Renate Baumgartner Athena Institute
Alona Dolinski Comm. Science
Dorothé Smit Language, Literature and Communication
Ilaria Tiddi Computer Science
Luís de Passos Morgado da Costa Language, Literature and Communication
Michel Klein Computer Science
Victor de Boer Computer Science
Pia Sommerauer Language, Literature and Communication
Tech Labs
Marco Otte NI
Lara Baseggio Computer Science
Radu Nicolae Computer Science
Other members
Ivano Malavolta (Director) Computer Science
Ivar Vermeulen (Strategic advisor) i.e.vermeulen@vu.n Communication Science
Mojca Lovrencak (Support) Computer Science

Former members

  • Tomislav Karacic, KIN
  • Lea Lösch, Athena Institute
  • Elena Beretta, Computer Science
  • Giulia Scapin, Communication Sciences
  • Alberto López Ortega, Communication Sciences
  • Lisa Beinborn, Language, Literature and Communication
  • Martina Testori, Organization Sciences
  • Andreu Casas, Communication Sciences
  • Peggy van Minkelen, Communication Sciences
  • Kousar Aslam, Computer Science
  • Mehdi Zamani, Communication Sciences
  • Ilias Gerostathopoulos, Computer Science
  • Raj Bhalwankar, –
  • Jaron Harambam, Athena Institute
  • Tommaso Mencattini, Computer Science
  • Enrico Dal Pos, Computer Science
  • Ioana Vrabiescu, Organization Sciences
  • Christine Moser, Organization Sciences
  • Roser Morante, Language, Literature and Communication
  • Jaap Ouwerkerk, Communication Sciences
  • Dayana Spagnuelo, Computer Science
  • Yentl Dudink, Social Sciences
  • Karya Odabasi, Organization Sciences
  • Mario Sosa Hidalgo, KIN
  • Bas Bekker, Organization Sciences