Recent Developments (Vincent Yzerbyt, EAESP president 2002-2005)
After 40 years of activity the EASP is more full of life than ever. Social psychology as a field continues to attract a growing number of outstanding young scholars and the fascination for empirical and theoretical progress does not seem to fade. Reflecting this enthusiasm, the activities of the EASP have been expanding both in number and diversity. It is therefore a pleasure to point out the recent developments of the EASP.
The membership of the Association has reached a impressive 629 Full members, 127 Affiliate members and 197 Postgraduate members , thereby approaching the magical number of 1000. Interestingly the ratio of postgraduate members who become full members right after their four year of postgraduate membership have ended is very high. This fact speaks to the outstanding level of training given by our full members to the junior members. It also reflects the growing employment rate of social psychologists in academic settings. In addition, social psychologists percolate in neighboring fields such as health psychology, work and organizational psychology, clinical psychology, political psychology, etc.
In recent years a distinct effort has been made to reach out toward Scandinavian and Eastern colleagues. As a result, the number of new members from these countries is beginning to increase. Further, the changes in the geopolitical situation encourage our Association to open up toward countries where social psychology used to be less prominent. A growing number of Eastern colleagues attend activities organized by the EASP and this is a trend that the EASP definitely wants to promote.
Besides the highly respected European Journal of Social Psychology, the EASP also counts on several other outlets to serve a variety of goals.
Established in 1971, the European Monograph series has become a well-established book series functioning as a major forum for research developments in European social psychology.
From a relatively modest size when it was launched in 1969, over the years the Newsletter became a meaty outlet now called the European Bulletin of Social Psychology. The Bulletin reaches out to all members of the EASP. Its mission is to foster an exchange of ideas and to keep the membership up to date with respect to the scientific activities organized by the Association and in the field more generally.
The European Review of Social Psychology was launched in 1990. The series hosts 7-10 review chapters per volume and it now appears as a e-first journal. Over the years, it has become one of the most valued sources of information for social psychologists across the world. When it comes to getting acquainted with significant and innovative research programs conducted both within and outside the European Continent, there are truly few competitors around.
Grants and Awards
Over the years, the EASP has instituted an impressive array of grants and awards to promote social psychology as a discipline.
The EASP grant system is primarily directed at helping members during the early stages of their scientific career. For instance, postgraduate travel bursaries are intended to promote short visits of postgraduates to departments elsewhere in the world to conduct new research, complete ongoing projects, or to undergo training in a particular methodological technique. The aim of the ‘seed corn’ research grants is to assist researchers in developing new research projects during their early postdoctoral period. More specifically, ‘seed corn’ grants intend to support breaking research which may facilitate subsequent larger scale funding from other sources. The Regional Support Grants are intended to promote any initiative which specifically assists young EASP members from regions where access to scientific information, facilities and/or funding is scarce compared to European standards.
Several awards are extended at each general meeting in order to acknowledge significant contributions of EASP members. As before, the EASP continues to recognize the lifetime achievement of one of its members by means of the Tajfel Award. The Jaspars Award singles out our most promising and gifted young scholars. The EASP also honors outstanding programs of research by means of the Lewin Award. Finally, exceptional service to the field is crowned by a Codol Award.
Meetings and contacts with other Societies
Next to the very successful general meetings, EASP’s medium size and small group meetings attract an ever growing number of experts from all over the world. These encounters of top-notch scholars take place in a context where the participation of postgraduate members remains an important objective. Numerous edited books have been published which depart from the scientific debate initiated at one or another of these small group meetings.
The EASP is also enthusiastically involved in a series of collaborations with other learned societies. Our Association has a series of formal agreements with both SPSP (the Society for Personality and Social Psychology) and SPSSI (the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues) towards supporting small group conferences and teaching fellowships (paying for experts to teach and work for short periods on the other continent). Numerous contacts are developing with other learned societies such as the AASP (Australasian Association of Social Psychology).
One of the most significant developments in recent years has been the formal agreement between EASP and SPSP to organize summer schools on an alternate basis, in even years in Europe and in odd years in North America. Under this agreement, 5 students and at least one faculty from one association take part in the summer school organized by the other association. This collaboration has brought together young and established scholars from both continents at an earlier stage than in previous years, thereby contributing to the mutual enrichment of both learned societies.
Role in the Forum of Science
As yet another recent development, our Association is getting more and more involved in policy development at the European level, as EASP has been asked for its expert opinion during recent EU-discussions concerning the creation of a European Science Council. Clearly, having a strong and representative body that can speak for all European social psychologists is a distinct asset in a context where decision making is increasingly taking place at the European level.
Because past behavior is a powerful predictor of future conduct, as in the past and more than ever the EASP will remain the ideal home for all those scientists who are fascinated by and want to better understand individual, interpersonal, intergroup and societal phenomena from a social psychological perspective. The evolution of recent years demonstrates that there is no shortage of initiatives within EASP to contribute to the development of the field.
Vincent Yzerbyt, EAESP president 2002-2005