Koen De Brandt
Koen is currently working as a postdoctoral researcher at the department of Movement and Sport Sciences (MOSS), which is part of the Faculty of Sport Science and Physiotherapy. Koen is an active member of the research group Sport Psychology and Mental Support (SPMB), and he coordinates the central University department Topsport en Studie of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB).
Koen graduated at the VUB in 2012 as Master in Physical Education and Movement Sciences (minors: Fitness & Health - Personal training) and obtained an additional Training & Coaching minor (Trainer A diploma in volleyball) at the VUB in 2014. During his university studies, Koen was active as a professional volleyball player in different Belgian top clubs (e.g. Euphony Asse-Lennik, Prefaxis Menen). In 2017, Koen obtained the degree of Doctor in Sport and Movement Sciences with his doctoral dissertation 'A holistic perspective on student-athletes’ dual career demands, competencies and outcomes'.
Koen's current research and applied work focuses on the dual career of elite athletes (the combination of elite sport with study and/or employment). Koen coordinated two Erasmus+ Sport projects that focused on optimizing elite athletes’ competencies during their dual ‘elite sport and study’ and ‘elite sport and employment’ career pathways: Gold in Education and Elite sport (GEES; 2015-2016) and Be a Winner In elite Sport and Employment before and after athletic Retirement (B-WISER; 2017-2018). Both projects were co-funded by the Erasmus+ Sport programme of the European Commission. In addition, Koen is the leading researcher in the 'Elite Sport and Higher Education in the Brussels-Capital Region' project (2013-present), which is funded by the government of the Brussels-Capital Region. Furthermore, Koen has investigated elite athletes’ doping behaviour in a project funded by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA; 2014-2016).
From an applied perspective, Koen translates his experiences as a former professional volleyball player, as a former VUB student-athlete, as a qualified volleyball trainer, and as a current researcher into practice by providing dual career support to elite student-athletes with the central academic department Topsport en Studie at the VUB, and by sharing his experiences and expertise with different working groups (e.g. the Overlegplatform Topsport en Studie of Sport Vlaanderen). In his leisure time, Koen is still acting as a passionate beach volleyball player.