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Sofie Smismans

Sofie Smismans

PhD students


Sofie Smismans is a researcher and assistant lecturer at the Department of Movement and Sport Sciences (MOSS; faculty of Physical Education) of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB). Sofie is an active member of the research groups SASO, SPLISS and SPMB. She graduated at the VUB in 2016 as Master of Science in Sports Management (Magna Cum Laude) and obtained an additional Master of Science in Management (Cum Laude) in 2017. After some working experience in the practical field of sport management (i.e., Special Olympics Belgium, MOEV, Strong Student Run), she got the chance to further develop her interest in sports management by engaging in research activities. Sofie’s research interests lie in the broad domain of (elite) sport science and more specifically in the domains of sport management, sport policy and sport psychology. While a great interest in elite sport success on a micro -, meso – en macrolevel is prominent, during her sport science education, she also developed an important interest in the personal and societal impact of sport  (e.g., gender & sport, economic aspects of sport, inspirational effect of elite sport). 

As a researcher, Sofie is involved in qualitative and quantitative research on (a) high performance management in elite sport, specifically targeting the fifth pillar of the SPLISS (Sports Policy factors Leading to International Sporting Success) model (i.e., athletic and post-career support), (b) the societal impact of (elite) sport, and (c) sport psychology and mental support. Concretely, Sofie is and was actively involved in the coordination of multiple international research projects for the European Commission: Be a Winner In elite Sport and Employment before and after athletic Retirement’ (B-WISER; 2017-2018), ‘Mind the Gap’ (2018-2020), ‘Ecology of Dual Careers’ (2018-2019)), Athletes 4 Society (2021-2023) and for the International Olympic Committee (‘How should athletes be supported before, during, and after athletic retirement? Moving from an athletic-centred needs analysis to practical guidelines for career support stakeholders’). Sofie’s research activities resulted in several reports, publications, workshops and presentations of research results to policy makers (e.g., Sport Vlaanderen) and on national and international conferences (e.g., EASM, ECP, FEPSAC, VBSW).  

As an assistant lecturer, Sofie assists in courses related to sport policy and management. Specifically, she assists in the courses ‘High Performance Management’ and ‘Event- and project management in sport’ and provides support and guidance to students in their internships Sport Management during both their bachelor’s and master’s years. She also supervises students’ master theses related to SPMB, SPLISS and SASO. Next to her teaching activities, Sofie is part of faculty committees (i.e., Opleidingsraad Bewegings – en Sportwetenschappen; RvB Doctoral School Human Sciences, Onderwijsraad) and participates in faculty activities (e.g., SID IN, Stap-voor-stap tegen kanker). 


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