Clinical Developmental Psychology Professor position at UGent


About 15% of children and adolescents struggle with mental health problems. These problems can have a major impact on the daily livesand development of youth as well as their environment. Moreover, mental health problems at an early age can further affect the development of youthwith possible consequences formentaland physicalhealthduringadulthood. In a recent report, Unicef calls for more attention to and improvement of the mental health of children and adolescentsworldwide. Although both in Flanders and abroad, increasing attention is being paid to research into describing, explaining, predicting and treating mental health problems in youth, many questions remain unanswered to date. Moreover, more research is needed that bridges the gap between insights from developmental psychopathology and translating those insights into evidence-basedprevention or intervention programs. The department therefore aimsto further develop the field of Clinical Developmental Psychology at UGent and anchor it within the national and international context.

2. Strategic goals of department and match with ZAP profile

The Department of Developmental, Personality and Social Psychology stands for high-quality education, research and services. In terms of education, the department makes an important contribution to both bachelor and master education (including the supervision of internships) at the Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences. In addition, the department provides service education for other faculties at UGent and focuses in its education on internationalization, an outward-looking view (attention to applications in the field and solving societalproblems) and an optimal harmonizationbetween (activating) forms of educationand evaluation. In terms of research, the department consists of four research groups: Developmental Psychology, Clinical Developmental Psychology, Personality Psychology and Social Psychology. All research lines are fundamentally groundedand based on strong theoretical frameworks, but have always a strong relationship with a field of application and finality in practice. Research questions are answered using diverse and innovative methodologies, in both general and clinical research populations, with attention to scientific integrity and (inter)national collaboration with other researchers. The department upholds values such as diversity, sustainability, openness and inclusion.

The Clinical Developmental Psychology research group studies the emergence, maintenance and influencingof mental health problems in children, adolescents and young adults. Within the group’s research lines, the role of stressors, risk and protective factors at different levels is a central focus, always aligned with normal development. These factors are examined usingdifferent types of designs and methodologies. Collaborationsaresought with national and international experts both from the same research discipline as well as from different ones(e.g. medicine and health sciences, communication sciences). Research results aim to contribute to the development of theoretical models as well as transdiagnostic insights and this in different populations. In addition,ourresearch aims to contribute to clinical practice, for example through the development and testing of measurement methods and new psychological treatments as well as through governmental advice. Within the research group, we strive to valorizeresearch results and do so by engaging insustainable partnerships with various stakeholders from practice and other non-academic partners in society. Within these 

partnerships, the exchange of knowledge is central (in both directions), in order to reduce the gap between research and practice.

3. Job content and ZAP profile

The department seeks a 100% professorin the field of Clinical Developmental Psychology, with an assignment consisting of education(40%), research (50%) and services(10%). Specific to the discipline, the professorto be appointed is expected to provide assistance in teaching aimed at supporting children and adolescents with mental health problems (and their networks).

In terms of education, the professoris expected to contribute to various courses, all of which are taught in Dutch.Specifically, the newly appointedprofessoris expected to be immediately employable to deliver thefollowingcourses(as from academic year 2024-2025):

Integration of Models in Clinical Psychology.In the final year of the bachelor of clinical psychology, students are taught a multitude of theoretical models in clinical psychology, spread over five courses. This course represents theconcluding course of this ‘models block’, after which students should be able to situate problems of an individual in a society from a biopsychosocial perspective, integrating various theoretical models.

Assessment of Developmental Psychopathological Processes.Future clinical psychologists should have knowledge and skills regarding the assessment of developmental psychopathological processes within the action-oriented thinking framework and the empirical cycle, with a specific focus on hypothesis formation on the basis of the models in the domain of developmental psychopathology.

Developmental Psychotherapy.Future clinical psychologists should have knowledge and skills with regard to various treatments in clinical psychology, including developmental psychotherapy, with special attention to the selection of intervention methods on the basis of international guidelines for case conceptualizationand therapy plan, developments in evidence-based mental health andsteppedcare with regard to the development of a treatment plan. 

These coursesform an important basis for preparing clinical psychology students for their master’s internship.

In line with the educational vision of UGent and the faculty, thenewly appointedprofessoris expected to integrate recent fundamental and practice-oriented research findings into the teaching forclinical psychology students. Through activating and practice-oriented forms of work, students are encouraged to participate and think critically. The aim is to train students to become scientist practitioners who shape and adjust their actions from a basic critical scientific attitude. The newly appointedprofessorendorses these goals, is committed to stakeholder (professional field) participation ineducation and actively monitors the quality oftheircourses, and is prepared to make use of initiatives in the field of educational professionalization. The professoris also responsible for the qualitativesupervision of master’s thesis students and doctoral students. In order to be able to fulfil this teaching assignment, the professormust also have a good knowledge of and experience, or be willing to acquire that knowledge and experience,with the Flemish situation with regard to a) the process and instruments in the field of assessment of developmental psychopathologicalprocesses, b) development-oriented therapeutic techniques and c) the landscape with regard to youth care.

The department wishes to further develop researchin the field of Clinical Developmental Psychology. In line with the research vision of UGent and the faculty, the newly appointedprofessoris expected to conduct research in accordance with international standards regarding scientific quality and integrity (with attention to good research practices and open science principles), work asan autonomous and critical researcher and to cooperate with colleagues from theirown research group and department as well as from other research disciplines. Specifically,with regard to the field of study, it is expected that the appointed professor’s research is in line with, but also complementary to, existing lines of research in the Clinical Developmental Psychology research group. This includes the introduction of innovative research methods, understanding psychopathology in youthvia integration of different levels of analyses, introduction of new concepts and theories, attention to various context factors and transdiagnostic processes in the explanation, detection and management of psychological problems in youth, with a specific focus on research into the effectiveness of new interventions for the treatment of children and adolescents with psychological problems. Importantly, thenewly appointedprofessoris expected to seek external funding on a regular basisto supporttheir research line.

Finally, the position also entails an assignmentwith regard toscientific and societal engagement. The newly-appointedprofessoris expected to commit themself both scientifically and socially to sharing theirexpertise within the research communityby, among other things, regularly acting as a reviewer of scientific articles, serving on theeditorial board of peer-reviewed journals, giving lectures at national and international scientific conferences and participating in the organizationof conferences and study days. With regard to societal impactthe professor is expected, among other things,toprovidepolicy advice or share their expertise to practitioner organizations, to makeresearch findings available to a broad public in an accessible way (e.g. via social media, science café), to offer training (e.g. via lectures, study days and workshops, contributing to podcasts), to contributeto books for a broader professional audience, to writepractically usable articles,toimplementfindings from clinical studies, todevelop training packages and to involvestakeholders in research. These activities contribute tocompetentclinical psychologypracticesof (future) professionals and a more evidence-based practice, for which good contacts with the clinical field are indispensable.

In all these tasks, we also expect the future professorto be able to assume a coordinating and leading roleby co-managing a team.