IAS Endowed University Chair

Over the last decade, the scope of education impact assessors has broadened considerably. The previous focus on assessing more traditional, knowledge-based educational achievements such as maths or language scores has expanded to also encompass social and emotional skills. This shift is probably best described by the term ‘twenty-first century skills’, which is commonly cited in debates on education, and advocated by a wide range of education policy organisations throughout the world. The idea here is that social and emotional skills are key constructs that have to be achieved through education, alongside more knowledge-based indicators of school performance.

Recent research and reports have suggested that important models of individual difference, such as models that describe personality traits, can also be used to structure skills in the social-emotional field. At the same time, the domain of differential psychology and the focus on psychological assessment can also be a valuable source of expertise for studying the development of social and emotional skills and indices of youth employability. This chair came into being in order to stimulate innovative research in this field, and to foster the translation of this research into teaching practice and impact evaluation.


The most important objectives of the chair are:

  • To conduct fundamental research into the assessment and the development of normative and formative social-emotional skills from childhood through to young adulthood. To research how ways of assessing individual differences and social and emotional skills in school using various methods, and throughout a young person’s development, in order to describe and understand the trajectories of development on an individual level. Alongside normative development patterns, to also investigate the impact of specific individualised and/or school interventions. The skills in question are seen as important both for life and work, and are linked to a wide range of outcomes including well-being, health and employability.
  • Recognising, introducing and evaluating innovations in education policy programmes in order to stimulate the development of young people’s social and emotional skills, their performance in school, and employability;
  • To join forces with the Ayrton Senna Institute and Partners of the Institute in order to communicate, disseminate, and translate evidence-based knowledge regarding the normative and formative development of social and emotional skills to parents, educators, policy makers and the general public.


Logo Institutio Ayrton Senna




Prof. Filip De Fruyt, Professor in the Department of Developmental, personality and social Psychology.