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.

2021 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.

In 2022, a best PhD thesis award will be awarded by the National Academy ( The 2023 and 2024 award will again be awarded by BAPS and the 2025 award will again be selected by the Academy. This cycle will repeat every three years.


Candidates must have obtained a PhD in psychology defended at any Belgian university, with an (expected) public defense date in 2019 or 2020*. All kinds of psychological research have an equal chance of receiving the award regardless of the specific psychological subdiscipline (e.g., biological, cognitive, developmental, personality, quantitative, social, etc.) or whether it is more basic or applied (e.g., clinical, health, organizational, personnel, school, sports, etc.) psychology. 

Candidates must be members of BAPS at the time of the application and must also become a member for 2021.  

We expect the nominated PhD theses to be amongst the 10% best works conducted by the cohort of PhD students. The main criterion will be the scientific merits, judged by an expert panel. 


*Colleagues who defended their PhD in December 2018 and who were informed that they could not apply for the 2019 award are also eligible for the 2021 award. Colleagues who defend their PhD in December 2020 are also eligible for the 2021 award provided that they confirm after the defense that the PhD was awarded.

Application Procedure

Candidates are invited to submit: 

  • the thesis
  • a CV (maximum 5 pages)
  • a 2,000 words summary of the thesis in English, highlighting the theoretical framework, the main methods, and most important findings and conclusions
  • a one-page summary of the impact of the work (max. 500 words). Impact should be conceived broadly in terms of scientific advancement (publications, invitation for symposia, keynote lectures, …) and/or societal relevance including relevance for practice (tool development, training sessions for clinicians, …). Dissemination of the work amongst a broad audience (e.g., media coverage) can be mentioned too. The decision will be based on the quality of the thesis and its impact, but not on criteria such as the sheer number of publications of the candidate or impact factors of the journals in which the papers were published.

All documents for the application need to be integrated as one single pdf-file (with the file name labeled as follows: NAME and SURNAME of the candidate_best PhD thesis 2021) and sent to . The pdf should start with the summary of the thesis, followed by the summary of the impact of the work, the full thesis, and finally the CV. When submitting the application please mention in the email the date of the public defense of the thesis. The deadline for submitting the application is November 20th 2020.

​For further information and correspondence, please contact:

Evaluation Procedure

Upon reception of the application, the candidate will receive a confirmation of receipt. After checking eligibility, the evaluation will follow a two-step procedure. As a first step, each application will be evaluated on the basis of the summary of the PhD and the summary of the impact of the work by five members of the BAPS executive committee. Members will not evaluate applications of candidates who are affiliated to the same University as them or when there is a conflict of interest (see below). 

As a second step, the shortlisted applications will be evaluated by a jury composed of BAPS past-presidents and a number of experts who are well-acquainted with the research domains of the shortlisted candidates. At this stage, it is stressed that judges should take into account the candidate’s contribution to scientific advancement in general, which can be attested by showing the relevance of one’s best publications, and/or by having presented work at important conferences, and/or by contributing to clinical applications of their work, and/ or by attracting interest in the media. Emphasis is placed on ‘quality’, not ‘quantity’. The selection is 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.

All those involved in the evaluation and selection of the candidates are asked to confirm that they do not have common financial interests or a familial or substantial professional relationship (i.e., supervisor of PhD, co-author of a publication during the past 5 years, head of department, member of the same research unit) and to disclose any other possible reasons for a conflict of interest.

Past Winners

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

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