Joanna Strycharz and Marthe Möller to be the new co-directors of the Digicomlab

Joanna Strycharz and Marthe Möller will become the new co-directors of the Digital Communication Methods Lab, taking over the tasks from Theo Araujo and Judith Möller.

The lab, embedded within ASCoR, is an initiative focusing on innovative research and bringing together existing and new projects with digital communication methods as its cornerstone. The lab aims at expanding innovative work on methods, analyses, and scientific practices critical to Communication Science, including work on mobile communication and AI, not only as research topics, but also as data collection modes.

Joanna and Marthe look forward to continuing the lab’s mission and working on innovative projects together with all those at ASCoR who are interested in digital communication methods! Feel free to reach out to them with any questions about the Digicomlab.

Check out the results of eight theses projects funded by digicomlab!

It’s a wrap! In the second semester of of 2020/2021, eight students received funding from the digicomlab to support their digital methods driven theses projects. And what can we say? They all did great!
We are very proud to share the exciting results about research using chatbots, topic networks, neural language models, news recommenders, and many other approaches!

We wish you a great read of the eight blogposts by our most recent awardees and wish you a nice summer!

Five new research projects receive digicomlab seed funding

Five new exciting projects were selected to receive seed funding from the Digital Communication lab!

We are looking forward to the results of these cutting-edge research endeavours:


Personality and susceptibility to political microtargeting: a machine-learning approach based on Twitter text

by dr. Brahim Zarouali and dr. Tom Dobber

Age and gender bias in AI-driven recruitment: Modelling the influence of hidden features on the ranking of job candidates

by dr. Anne Kroon and dr. Toni van der Meer

Opening the targeting black box: vulnerability exploitation through personalization

by dr. Hilde Voorveld, dr. Corine Meppelink, Joanna Strycharz, and dr. Brahim Zarouali

Simply irresistible? Towards a methodological conceptualization of smartphone interruptions

by dr. Susanne Baumgartner, dr. Jakob Ohme, and dr. Sindy Sumter

Physiological stress responses to receiving smartphone notifications during task performance

by dr. Monique Alblas, dr. Eline Smit, and dr. Bert Bakker

Congratulations to all receivers!

Project Digital Competence (DIGCOM) launched!

Officially launched in February 2021, Project DIGCOM represents a new collaboration between the Amsterdam School of Communication Research (ASCoR) at the UvA and the Ministerie van Binnenlandse Zaken en Koninkrijksrelaties (minBZK). This is an exciting two-year collaboration designed to assess and support the digital competence of Dutch citizens, representing one of the most robust efforts thus far to understand digital competence across the lifespan.


All Dutch citizens need an adequate level of digital competence in order to fully participate in society. Digital competence can be divided into digital skills and digital awareness. Digital skills play an important role in communication with others and in finding and using information, whether you want to vote, apply for a job, or even date. While many citizens often feel they have these digital skills, this does not necessarily transform into digital awareness. In other words, the knowledge necessary to make informed decisions and protect privacy online. Covid-19 has put a spotlight on this problem. Increasing numbers of people have fallen victim to phishing attempts as they work, shop, and conduct their banking from home. At the same time, although there are digital opportunities available, many do not recognize and make use of them.


It is clear that insufficient digital competence is a serious problem that requires a clear solution. If we hope to ensure that our society is resilient to the times ahead, we must bolster the digital competence of our citizens. But how? To provide adequate support, we first need to know who is most in need of help and which aspects of digital competence are the most pressing pain points. Then, we need to know how we can best support different people to enhance their digital competence. Project DIGCOM is designed to address this by asking the following questions:


  • What is the level of digital competence of the Dutch population (10 years and older) in general and how does this develop over time?
  • Which groups within the Dutch population are most in need of support and which aspects of digital competence require special attention?
  • How can we support digital competence in an effective and scalable manner?


The project is unique in that we focus on the entire Dutch population (starting at 10 years of age) and rely on a range of methods including surveys, interviews, and experiments to address the problem at hand. Working closely with MinBZK and other organizations within the Alliantie Digitaal Samenleven, this project has knowledge dissemination and interdisciplinarity built into its core. The team leaders, too, bring with them an interdisciplinary backdrop that together will serve this project well.


The team

Dr. Jessica Piotrowski, Principal Investigator (@jesstpiotrowski)

Prof. Dr. Claes de Vreese, Co-Principal Investigator (@claesdevreese)

Dr. Dian de Vries, Senior Researcher & Project Contact (; @diandevries)


To follow updates of the project, be sure to follow ASCoR’s Digital Communication Methods Labs (@digicomlab_eu) on Twitter.