Research Tilburg School of Humanties and Digital Sciences

Vice-Dean for Research TSHD Marjolijn Antheunis

Marjolijn Antheunis

What is it like to be Vice-Dean?

It is fun and multifaceted work, to discuss and take up important issues around research together with the Faculty Board and research management. To define together what we think is important, what we want and how we are going to implement things. I am also the director of the Graduate School, the collaboration with the Graduate School and PhD students is very valuable to me.

In addition to being Vice-Dean for Research, you are Professor of Communication and Technology. What exactly do you research?

My research focuses on the social and interpersonal aspects of new communication technologies, such as the Internet, social media, and chatbots, focused on the social domain (e.g., related to friendships) and the health domain. I explore how digital communication technologies affect these domains. But also how these technologies can support and facilitate health care.

For example, because of Corona, e-consults in hospitals have received a huge boost. We are investigating in which cases an e-consult can replace a regular consultation without sacrificing quality. We are also investigating the possibilities of using chatbots in certain parts of psychotherapy, for example when patients are on the waiting list for therapy.

What do you think are important developments within the research field? And what are your goals as Vice-Dean?

Restoring the balance between teaching and research time. Research time is often compromised by the increased time we have to spend on teaching due to lagging government funding and growth in student numbers, increased administrative burden and intensification of teaching. This creates a high workload and can sometimes come at the expense of quality of life and quality of work. Fortunately, this issue ties in with the developments surrounding Recognition and Appreciation, although this is of course broader than just education and research. Furthermore, the development and encouragement of Open Science is an important issue on my agenda. As Vice-Dean, I see how complex and intertwined such topics are.

What does the ideal university look like to you?

A university that focuses on its core values: education, research and impact. A place where there is time and peace to do good research, where space is given to research driven by curiosity, as a kind of living lab ground to be able to just try things as a researcher. A place where, in addition to providing inspiring education and generating an impact on society, you can also quietly think about research topics, theories and designing good studies.