Thea Hilhorst is a professor of Humanitarian Studies at the International Institute of Social Studies. Her research focuses on humanitarian crises caused by disasters and conflict, and she examines their impact on people, organisations or communities.

In addition, she has developed methods allowing academics to conduct field work in dangerous or politically unstable regions. Furthermore, she seeks to develop policies, serves as a consultant to international organisations and engages in activism. Now that she has been elected to the KNAW, she wants to use her expertise to give researchers in countries affected by humanitarian crises access to knowledge generated by academics all over the world.

Media, culture and society

For her part, Susanne Janssen, a professor of sociology of media and culture at the Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication, focuses on research on media, culture and society. For instance, she conducts research on the impact of digitisation and globalisation in the culture sector and on socio-cultural differences in the ways people use media and consume culture.

Janssen has led several major international research projects and currently leads a consortium conducting research endowed with a grant by the EU’s Horizon 2020 Fund. In addition, she successfully called for more international degree programmes to be taught at EUR. Among other things, she served as the curriculum dean of the International Bachelor’s degree in Communication and Media.


The KNAW was established in 1808 to act as an advisory body to the Dutch government and is considered the voice and conscience of Dutch academia. The academy issues both solicited and unsolicited advice on government policies with regard to science. Membership is only open to excellent scientists, and being elected to the academy is considered an honour bestowed on those with a distinguished academic career.

Janssen and Hilhorst will be formally entered into the academy in September, along with 21 other newly elected members.