Jana Missiaen and Heiderike Seynaeve receive DiverGent Thesis Prize 2017

(09-01-2017) On 9 January 2017, Jana Missiaen and Heiderike Seynaeve were awarded the DiverGent Thesis Prize for their research on the welfare of LGBT persons.

The award was presented by Anne De Paepe, Rector of Ghent University, and Resul Tapmaz (City of Ghent) in the Town Hall of Ghent.

Rector Anne De Paepe: "The DiverGent Thesis Prize draws our attention to excellent students who study subjects with a social dimension. This fit well with a university that strives for exellence and social commitment."

The thesis

The winning thesis describes the psychological well-being of LGBT people in Flanders. Previous research reveals that gay and / or transgender people are more prone to develop mental health problems and suicidal thoughts. In their research, Jana Missiaen Heiderike Seynaeve have identified the extent to which this group is vulnerable to suicide. Based on the results, recommendations to reduce the risk of suicide can be formulated, and protective factors can be promoted.

The award

The award consists of a €500 cash prize for the winner and an honourable mention for the other two nominees. The winner is invited to rework the research results from the thesis for an article that is to be submitted to the editors of 'DiGeSt' and/or 'Politiek en Samenleving'.

The Diversity and Gender Policy Unit organizes bimonthly afternoon lectures where it pools expertise on research, education and policy staff who work on gender and/or diversity.

What does DiverGent stand for?

DiverGent stands for contradiction and ambivalence. Adopting a stance where gender and diversity take centre stage, and where the status quo is there to be challenged. A divergent vision is necessary to be able to make an innovative contribution to social debates and offer policy solutions.

With the presentation of the Thesis Prize DiverGent, the Diversity and Gender Policy Unit wishes to recognize, and underline, the importance of this vision. The Policy Unit is a great believer in thinking outside the box, and this also happens to be one of Ghent University’s prime ambitions.


Sigried Lievens
Diversity and Gender Policy Unit
Tel. 09 264 98 24