< Back to previous page


Koen De Brandt

  • Keywords:Physical education and physiotherapy
  • Disciplines:Sports sciences, Sports psychology
  • Users of research expertise:

    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: sport psychology, sport management, training & coaching, fitness, health & nutrition. In his research, he focuses 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' dual careers 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 45 international and national partners in different sectors (research, education, sport, employment and policy). Koen's current and future projects focus on dual career and mental health of athletes (e.g. Erasmus+ Sport project "Dual Careers for Mental Health).

    Koen teaches and assists in 10 courses in the Bachelor and Master programme of Sport & Movement Science, including Elite sports career planning I-IV, Sport psychology, (Module) High Performance Management, Mental training and coaching throughout the sports career, Specialized sport scientific support I-II, and Internships in Sport Management (2017-20). He also assists in the reform of the Master programme in Training & Coaching.

    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 350 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). Recently, 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 30 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.