• Source: Scopus
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Personal profile


Koen is currently working as an assistant professor (0.1 ZAP) and postdoctoral researcher at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB), research group Sport Psychology & Mental Support.

Koen's main interests lie in the domain of sport science: training & coaching, sport psychology, sport management, fitness, health & nutrition. In his research, he has mainly focused on talented and elite athletes' dual career development and transitions. Koen's PhD entitled "A holistic perspective on student-athletes' dual career demands, competencies and outcomes" (2017) focused on the competencies elite athletes require to effectively cope with the challenges of a dual career pathway in higher education. Before Koen started working at the VUB in 2013, he was a professional volleyball player and student-athlete at the VUB. At present he is still active as a beach volleyball player.

Koen coordinates and assists in more than 20 international and national projects (research & applied) on athletes' career development and mental health for the European Commission, the International Olympic Committee, the Flemish Sport Administration (Sport Vlaanderen) and the government of the Brussels-Capital Region. He has established a strong network with more than 50 international and national partners in different sectors (research, education, sport, employment and policy). Koen's current and future projects focus on dual career of athletes, and mental health and social well-being of athletes and entourage (e.g. Erasmus+ Sport project "Dual Careers for Mental Health" (DC4MH); "Promoting mental health through the Entourage in high performance sport" (MENTiS); "Student-Athlete CONNECT"; "Increasing Mental Health Literacy in Athletes").

Koen teaches and assists in 10 courses in the Bachelor and Master programme of Sport & Movement Science, including "Career planning in elite sports I-IV", "(Module) High Performance Management", "Career Support in High Performance Sport", "Career planning for Trainers and Coaches", "Performance Behaviour", "Mental health and well-being" and previously "Internships in Sport Management". He is also actively involved in the reform of the Master programme in Training & Coaching. Koen also holds a position as guest lecturer in Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona (UAB).

Besides research and teaching, Koen coordinates the central university dpt. Topsport & Studie (Top Sport & Study), providing academic and performance-lifestyle support to student-athletes. Since 2013 he has assisted over 400 student-athletes in their dual careers.

Translating research to practice is one of Koen's key strenghts. He regularly organizes public symposia and events about the dual career of athletes, and shares his expertise with different sport organisations and policy institutions (e.g. the International Olympic Committee, Athlete365, Team Belgium, Sport Vlaanderen, RSC Anderlecht, Hockey Belgium, the European Commission, the Adecco Group). In 2019, Koen co-founded the research-based online platform www.dualcareertools.com, which assists athletes and support staff in developing successful careers.

Koen presented on more than 35 international conferences about elite athletes' career development. In 2017, he received the Young Researchers in Sport & Exercise Psychology award at the BASES-FEPSAC Conference in Nottingham. 



Education/Academic qualification

Doctor in Sport and Movement Science, Dr., Vrije Universiteit Brussel

May 2013Oct 2017

Award Date: 30 Oct 2017

Training & Coaching, Trainer A volleybal, Bloso, Vlaamse Trainersschool

Sep 2012Sep 2014

Award Date: 10 Sep 2014

Master in Sport Science - Training & Coaching, MSc. - Trainer A volleybal, Vrije Universiteit Brussel

Sep 2006Sep 2014

Award Date: 10 Sep 2014

Master in Sport Science - Fitness & Health, MSc. - Personal trainer, Vrije Universiteit Brussel

Sep 2006Jul 2012

Award Date: 5 Jul 2012

External positions

Guest lecturer, Autonomous University of Barcelona

1 Jun 2023 → …

Coordinator, Dienst Topsport en Studie VUB

15 May 2013 → …


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