Best PhD Thesis award

BAPS sponsors an award for the best PhD thesis in Psychology. The goal is to recognize outstanding scientific contributions in any area of research in psychology by recent PhD graduates in psychology in Belgium.

  1. 2023 call is closed

BAPS sponsors an award for the best PhD thesis in Psychology. The goal is to recognize outstanding scientific contributions in any area of research in psychology by recent PhD graduates in psychology in Belgium. This way, the BAPS wants to foster young scientists’ careers, inside as well as outside of academia. The winner is announced at the BAPS Annual Meeting. He/she is expected to give a talk during the Award Ceremony at the BAPS Annual Meeting, will receive 1000€ and will be invited to submit an overview paper to Psychologica Belgica.


Applicants must:

  • have obtained or are about to obtain a PhD in psychology from a Belgian university
  • have publicly defended or plan to publicly defend their PhD in 2021 or 2022
  • be members of BAPS at the time of the application and become a member for 2023.

Applicants working in all areas of psychological research have equal chances of receiving the award, regardless of their psychological subdiscipline (e.g., biological, cognitive, developmental, personality, quantitative, social, etc.) and regardless of their research being more basic or applied (e.g., clinical, health, organizational, personnel, school, sports, etc.).

The main criterion will be the scientific merits, judged by an expert panel. The decision will be based on the quality of the thesis and its impact, rather than on the sheer number of publications or the impact factors of journals in which papers were published.

Application Procedure

Your application should include:

  • Your full thesis
    • If your public defense takes place after November 20th 2022, you may submit the draft that you have submitted to your institution and send an update afterwards.
  • Your CV (5 pages maximum)
  • A summary (2,000 words maximum) in English, highlighting the theoretical framework and the main methods, findings, and conclusions of your thesis
  • An impact statement (500 words maximum). Impact should be conceived broadly:
    • Scientific advancement (publications, invitation for symposia, keynotes,…) and/or
    • Societal relevance, including applications (tool development, trainings, …) and/or
    • Dissemination in a broad audience (e.g., media coverage)

Combine all documents into a single pdf-file and label it as follows: NAME and SURNAME_best PhD thesis 2023 (Example: Jane Doe_best PhD thesis 2023)

Send this document to the member of the BAPS EC in charge at

The deadline for submissions is November 20th 2022.


Evaluation Procedure

Upon reception of an application, the member of the BAPS EC in charge

  • checks the Applicant’s eligibility
  • sends the Applicant a confirmation of receipt with
    • the confirmation that the PhD will be considered by the jury
    • the information that the PhD is not eligible, with the reason why

The actual evaluation will follow a two-step procedure.

Guidelines for the first stage

  1. A committee of 5 EC members who are not in the jury for the best master’s thesis award will evaluate the submissions. Each submission will be evaluated by those EC members in this committee who are not from the same university as the Applicant, and who have no other conflicts of interest evaluate all applications. Each committee member ranks the PhDs on the basis of (1) The summary of the PhD and (2) The summary of the impact of the work but not the CV. The member of the BAPS EC in charge brings the rankings together. During the EC meeting of December, the EC decides upon a shortlist of 3-4 applicants, based upon on the mean rank orders (i.e., the applicants with the lowest mean rank). In case of a tie, the frequency of being ranked first will be decisive.
  2. A jury consisting of the president, two past presidents, and at least two experts appointed on the basis of their expertise in the topics of the theses evaluates the applications of shortlisted Applicants. They do so on the basis of (1) The full PhD and (2) The full impact statement. They thus also take into account the Applicant’s contribution to scientific advancement, which can be attested by information about the Applicant’s best publications, and/or presentations at important conferences, and/or contributions to applications, and/or attention for the research in the media. The emphasis should be on ‘quality’ rather than on ‘quantity’. The selection should thus not be based on a count of the sheer number of publications and the impact factors of the journals in which these publications appeared.

Guidelines for the second stage

Unless in cases of COI, the jury is chaired by the current BAPS president.

The jury reviews the complete application (complete PhD thesis, impact, CV).

The jury evaluates the shortlisted applicants on the following criteria:

A. Scientific quality:
  • Theoretical contribution (e.g., tests, extends, or creates new theory)
  • Empirical contribution (e.g., number of studies, extends scope of phenomena)
  • Methodological rigor (e.g., validity of sampling, design, measures, and analyses)
  • Potential significance of contribution overall (e.g., offers new insights for field; addresses important questions)
  • Clarity of exposition (e.g., writing quality; adherence to APA format & guidelines)
B. Impact:
  • Scientific progress (e.g., change of dialogue in the field, number/quality of publications, conference contributions, citations, …)
  • Societal impact (e.g. impact on policy, ways of conduct, contributions in public media, blogs, …)

Per domain, please use the following scale:

1= average

2= good

3= very good (top-20%)

4=outstanding (top-10%)

5= exceptional (top-5%)

In addition, provide an order of preference of the theses and a maximum 10-line assessment for each thesis in which you motivate your ranking.

Note about conflict of interest (COI).

A COI in any case exists if there are

  • common financial interests
  • familial relationships
  • substantial professional relationships (i.e., supervisor of PhD, co-author in the past 5 years, head of department, member of the same research unit).

Jury members are requested to disclose any other possible reasons for a conflict of interest.

Past Winners

  • 2023: Luc Vermeylen (UGent)
  • 2021: Dries Bostyn (UGent)
  • 2019: Jasper Van Assche (UGent)
  • 2018: Kobe Desender (VUB)

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