KU Leuven

Een nieuwe blik op ‘integratie’: acculturatie van zelf, cognitie en motivatie

2024-06-30 (Europe/Brussels)
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KU Leuven is an autonomous university. It was founded in 1425. It was born of and has grown within the Catholic tradition.

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The research will be conducted within the Center for Social and Cultural Psychology (CSCP), which is part of the Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences. The CSCP enjoys an international reputation in the field and is both leading and innovative in terms of research on acculturation, diversity in society in education, cultural and gender diversity and affective processes. The CSCP-staff includes 5 female professors and a very diverse team of about 20 doctoral students and postdoctoral researchers. In a constructive atmosphere, they conduct research together on the above-described themes, hold weekly seminars and an annual retreat.
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In our super diverse society, more and more people are experiencing ‘psychological acculturation’ - a process of changes in psychological and behavioral functioning as a result of sustained contact with another culture. Yet, our current knowledge of psychological acculturation is limited, partly because scientific models of the past 60 years have mainly focused on cultural attitudes and identities, which gives an incomplete and simplified picture of this complex process. In the ERC project PsychAcc, a team of 2 PhD students, 2 Postdocs and a research coordinator, led by Prof. Jozefien De Leersnyder, is developing a new approach to understand and study psychological acculturation. Starting from cultural psychology, we will longitudinally study whether, in addition to attitudes and identities, the way people define themselves and their relationships (self-concept), think (cognition) and are motivated (motivation) also changes through contact with another culture. We focus on these processes because they are not only basic psychological processes, but also because they play an important role in well-being and school outcomes. As such, this research also aims to gain insight into underexposed barriers to equal opportunities at school. Throughout the studies, we focus on acculturation processes among adolescents from both the (Turkish and Moroccan) minority groups in Belgium and the Belgian majority group as well as on the role of meaningful intercultural contacts (such as friendships) in establishing mutual cultural understanding. The scientific importance of this research lies in the ability to re-think psychological acculturation as a multifaceted process of change. At a societal level, it encourages a shift in how lay-people and policymakers may consider cultural changes and ‘integration’ - away from a narrow focus on minorities' willingness and towards recognizing the often invisible nature of these processes that affect everyone. 

This doctoral trajectory includes the first ‘work package’ from this large European funded research and focuses on the question whether there is indeed acculturation in self-concept, cognition and motivation. In a first cross-cultural study in Belgium, Turkey and Morocco, we will validate the measurement instruments and investigate cross-cultural differences. Based on these results, we then design a 24-month study with 3000 adolescents from ethnic minority and majority groups in 40 Flemish secondary schools. Both datasets will form the basis for answering the research questions in a quantitative way and writing an article-based PhD by the summer of 2028. Throughout the whole trajectory, you will be guided by Prof. Jozefien De Leersnyder and a co-promoter (TBD depending on your particular interest) and you will be embedded in a warm team with weekly meetings. For all practical aspects of the data collection, you will be assisted by a research coordinator (see other vacancy) and a team of student workers. 

During your 4-year appointment, you will:

  • conduct research on the above-mentioned theme, working towards a PhD-dissertation
  • publish articles in English in recognized international scientific journals
  • actively participate in international conferences and help with the organization of local study days
  • provide a limited amount (max. 10% of your time) of teaching assistance on subjects in the Bachelor or Master in Psychological and/or Educational Sciences


  • You have a Master’s degree in Social or Cultural Psychology, a research master’s in Psychology, Migration Studies, Sociology, School Psychology, Developmental Psychology, Educational Science, Pedagogical Sciences, or a master’s degree in a related discipline where you have (possibly in addition to your education) demonstrable expertise in the field of social and cultural psychological processes, education or migration, and advanced statistics. Students who will graduate in the summer of 2024 are also encouraged to apply, provided they can demonstrate chances of successfully obtaining their degree by September 15. 
  • You have good knowledge of multivariate statistics and are motivated and able to further educate yourself in advanced statistical methods, such as longitudinal analyses and multilevel analyses if necessary. 
  • You are self-directing and have a sense of initiative, but you are also a team player who wants to learn from others and wants to help others where possible. 
  • You have sufficient knowledge of Dutch (B2 level) and English (C1 level); multilingualism in one of the migration languages is a plus. 
  • You are a good writer
  • Having multiple cultural reference frames and/or experiences in different cultural contexts is a plus.


  • We offer full-time employment (100%; 38 hours per week) as a doctoral scholarship holder for a period of 1 year. With a positive evaluation, the appointment is extended by another 3 years (total: 4 years). 
  • Guidance in your growth process as a researcher by a young and driven promoter and a co-promoter (team) that we determine together depending on your specific interests. 
  • Start date September 1, 2024. 
  • You will have the opportunity to participate in national and international conferences to present your own research and the opportunity to further educate yourself within the framework of this project. 
  • Excellent remuneration and benefits, including health insurance, 35 days of vacation, holiday pay, end-of-year bonus, etc.

profile Prof. Jozefien De Leersnyder
working conditions and benefits at KU Leuven


Send your application with the following documents (in 1 pdf file), before June 30, 2024 at 11:59 PM:

  1. A Dutch motivation letter (max 2 pages) in which you explain why you are the perfect candidate for this position. Convince us that you can really do it and that you really want it.

  2. A CV of maximum 1 page, including contact details (email, phone) of 1 to 2 people who we can possibly contact for reference

  3. An example of (an excerpt from) an English academic text that you have written (max 2 pages). This is to gauge at how well you can write (the content is therefore less important than the form and way of building arguments). It can be something that you have written before or something that you write specifically for this vacancy. Apply the APA style to your text. And indicate whether and how you used AI tools to generate this text.

  4. The grade lists of your past and current study program.

Selection interviews are scheduled between July 4 and 9, 2024, preferably live in person in Leuven (center).

More information can be obtained from Prof. Dr. Jozefien De Leersnyder, tel.: +32 16 37 23 16, mail: jozefien.deleersnyder@kuleuven.be.

KU Leuven strives for an inclusive, respectful and socially safe environment. We embrace diversity among individuals and groups as an asset. Open dialogue and differences in perspective are essential for an ambitious research and educational environment. In our commitment to equal opportunity, we recognize the consequences of historical inequalities. We do not accept any form of discrimination based on, but not limited to, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, age, ethnic or national background, skin colour, religious and philosophical diversity, neurodivergence, employment disability, health, or socioeconomic status. For questions about accessibility or support offered, we are happy to assist you at this email address.

Job details

Een nieuwe blik op ‘integratie’: acculturatie van zelf, cognitie en motivatie
Oude Markt 13 Leuven, Belgium
Application deadline
2024-06-30 23:59 (Europe/Brussels)
2024-06-30 23:59 (CET)
Job type
Save job

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About the employer

KU Leuven is an autonomous university. It was founded in 1425. It was born of and has grown within the Catholic tradition.

Visit the employer page