Olivier Luminet (UCLouvain)
2020 Presidential Address

Dear colleagues,

 

This year, I would like to emphasize first the involvement of the new generation of researchers in BAPS. One paradox in the past was that although BAPS is promoting the quality of research done by the most junior members among other through the different awards we deliver, the executive committee is only composed of senior researchers! In September, we made a call for launching a junior board and we received no less than 14 answers from all Belgian Universities. These young researchers are post-doctoral fellows, PhD candidates as well as master students. The BAPS junior board aims at bringing together junior scholars in Psychological Sciences. Their two main goals are 1) fostering scientific collaboration between junior and senior researchers, and 2) addressing the specific difficulties junior researchers might face during their early academic careers.

The junior board is meeting every month and has already developed very relevant initiatives. An important one is the pre-conference that they will organize in Louvain-la-Neuve on May 26th (https://www.baps2020.be/pre-conference.html). Three central topics will be addressed. One is the well-being of researchers. This priority made us fully realize that BAPS has also a role to play in providing trainings and recommendations for making the doctoral and post-doctoral steps more enjoyable and less stressful. Don’t hesitate to contact them if you have new ideas for activities to organize (https://www.baps.be/juniorboard)! BAPS is going to facilitate initiatives that favor more efficient communication between young researchers.

 

If you don’t attend the pre-conference, don’t miss the main day of the annual meeting in Louvain-la-Neuve on May 27 (https://www.baps2020.be/)! This year, we adopt a topic approach for the invited symposia with the aim that people from different fields will mix and interact more. We also want to emphasize research in developmental psychology with an invited symposia and a keynote lecture in that domain that was under-represented in the last editions of the annual meeting. We are particularly pleased to welcome Elena Grigorenko from the University of Houston who will present a talk on language development. Dr. Grigorenko is an outstanding scholar holding two PhDs, one in psychology and one in genetics. She is developing a truly interdisciplinary approach that was already awarded in no less than 7 APA divisions! Dr. Grigorenko is also remarkable for her work with countries or areas less represented in psychology research like Zambia, India, the Middle East or some remote areas in Russia.

 

One goal of BAPS is to foster collaboration with international societies. In the last months, we took three initiatives in that direction.


Firstly, for the early career award that will be announced at the annual meeting, we wanted to have an international panel, in order to shed an international light on our most promising researchers. An obvious place to look for experts in different domains across Europe was the board of scientific affairs at EFPA (http://science.efpa.eu/) where BAPS is representing Belgium. This year we are very happy that the jury will be composed by delegates proposed by the national associations for psychological sciences in Germany, Norway, Spain, Sweden, and the UK. The call was highly successful with 13 applications, covering various areas in psychological science (clinical, cognitive, health, social and cognitive neuroscience). The competition is going to be tough, and the winner outstanding!

 

Secondly, we start a sponsorship policy of invited symposia at the annual meeting through international societies active in important fields of psychological science. This year, we will have an invited symposium on Digital health sponsored by the European Health Psychology Society (https://ehps.net/). We warmly thank the president of EHPS and her executive committee for helping the organization of this symposium that will focus on the opportunities and challenges related to the introduction and use of digital applications for health promotion and health care.

 

Finally, you probably already know that the ICPS conference organized by APS will happen in Brussels in 2021 (https://www.psychologicalscience.org/conventions/icps ). On this occasion, BAPS is sponsoring one symposium that will highlight some of the best research that involves Belgian scholars. We received four proposals of outstanding quality and after a close examination of the different proposals, we are happy to announce that BAPS will sponsor a symposium on Parental burnout: A 21st century challenge for researchers and clinicians. The symposium will include top researchers from Belgium together with colleagues from Poland and Finland. Please note that BAPS members will benefit from a substantial discount rate for the conference registration. 

 

Another commitment of BAPS is to offer better services for our members. We already improved our communication through a regular presence on social media. We will also improve our website to make it more user friendly. Another innovation will be the launch of a newsletter specifically for our members. The BAPS mailing list has been existing for a very long time and although people still pay attention to the messages sent through this channel, the fact that it is not monitored creates a large variability in the relevance of the information communicated. The newsletter will include, among other, a selection of the most relevant information regarding job offers, relevant trainings and meetings, deadlines for awards submissions, or the list of the recently accepted papers in Psychologica Belgica. Only a few minutes reading will make you aware of what is currently going on in psychological science in Belgium. In order to make our communication more efficient, we also decided to create a new function in the executive committee dedicated to communication management. Be ready for new initiatives coming soon!

 

I would also like to direct your attention to our journal, Psychologica Belgica. It has shown a regular increase in citation rates over the past years, with a current impact factor of 1.52. Although our journal is not (yet) among the top journals of the field, it has certainly reached a serious scientific recognition. The move from an only-paper format to a full electronic, open-access journal in 2014 has increased the accessibility and visibility of our journal, with a positive impact on article reads and citation rates. While currently only issues from 2004 onwards are available on the Psychologica Belgica website, older issues back to 1975 will be progressively added this year.  Remember the PhD Critical Review paper format that gives a platform to young PhDs to publish the theoretical part of their PhD thesis, in the form of theoretical review paper. Note that these papers are not intended to be mere summaries of the introduction and discussion parts of a PhD thesis, but they are considered to be independent theoretical review papers. Help us maintaining the scientific recognition of Psychologica Belgica by sending us your fine work at www.psychologicabelgica.com. As a BAPS member, you benefit from free publication, the publication fees being paid by BAPS for you!

 

If you haven’t yet renewed your membership, I hope you are now convinced that there are many good reasons to stay or become a member in 2020 (https://www.baps.be/membership-subscription)!

 

I wish you all a very fruitful year with BAPS!

 

Olivier Luminet

President Belgian Association for Psychological Sciences