The beginning (1987 - 1991)
EFPSA was founded in April 1987, when students from the University of Lisbon (Portugal) invited psychology students from all over Europe to a meeting. This was a very momentous occasion, where psychology students from eight European countries formed the European Federation of Psychology Students’ Associations.
The basic outlines of this Federation were transformed into formal statutes during the second meeting in Liege (Belgium) in April 1988. At the same time, the first long term project of EFPSA, the Europsycho-database on education and exchange, began. In January 1989, EFPSA was registered as an internationally working not-for-profit association according to Belgian law. During the third General Assembly in April 1989 in Lund (Sweden) the Federation developed its structure and started to fill this structure with contents. Also in 1989, the first meeting of the Executive Board (EB) was held in between two annual Congresses and took place in Berlin. This ensured more continuous work during the whole year and better preparation of the General Assembly.
The collaboration with the European Federation of Psychologists’ Associations (EFPA) started in July 1991 in Amsterdam (The Netherlands). Since 2001, EFPSA has been an affiliate member of EFPA.
After EFPSA’s participation in the first European student conference, which brought together approximately 500 students from a number of disciplines, in Liege (Belgium) in November 1990, a lot of new contacts were made, especially with Eastern European countries. During the fifth General Assembly in April 1991 in Geneva (Switzerland) EFPSA grew to 11 members, and the first delegation from Eastern Europe was welcomed. In this year the idea of permanent working groups (called ‘Task Forces’) came up to enable more efficient work on projects such as Europsycho, Erasmus, the European journal Psyscriptum, participation in conferences, educational matters, etc.
The early development (1993 - 1996)
Over the next five annual congresses, held in Bergen, Norway (1992), Amsterdam, The Netherlands (1993), Lancaster, UK (1994), Pula, Croatia (1995),and Jyväskylä, Finland (1996), EFPSA developed further. As well as the annual congresses, several other events such as summer schools and seminars (e.g. Portugal, Croatia, Germany) became a part of EFPSA’s activities.
Since its foundation, EFPSA has grown to be a large European organisation with numerous European-wide events successfully organised. The first EFPSA Congress happened in Portugal and we celebrated our 30th anniversary back in the city of Lisbon where it all started.
The years 2000 - 2010
Since 2001, EFPSA has been an affiliate member of EFPA. Contact with the European Federation of Psychologists' Associations (EFPA) originally began in July 1991 in Amsterdam (the Netherlands). Since then, EFPSA has grown in size and had to implement some significant structural changes, creating a new form of Executive Board. In 2003, the concept of National Representatives (nowadays known as Member Representatives) was introduced. These formed the new decision-making body from each of the associations which were members of EFPSA. Furthermore, the Board of Management as a separate body within the Executive Board was formed due to the need for leadership on strategic decisions, as well as monitoring the efficiency of the whole organisation.
In 2006, EFPSA developed its Corporate Visual Identity and became recognised with its representative logo and orange colour. Today the branch which is taking care of EFPSA's image is the Marketing Office, where different teams work to improve promotion of the organisation. In 2007, the first European Summer School (ESS) with the topic “Cross-Cultural Psychology” took place in Leie, Estonia – followed by European Summer Schools covering different topics each subsequent year. Since 2011, all ESS participants completing the training programme and committing to the research project have been invited to join the Junior Researcher Programme, extending the European Summer School from a one-week Event into a fully structured 13-month research programme. Over time the ways of communication within the organisation have changed drastically with the internet spreading further. The EFPSA website has been improved several times. Also the possibility to make online calls has influenced communication within EFPSA and made it a lot easier to stay in touch with each other. This development also allowed the expansion of already existing Services to the internet and the creation of new online Services. For example, the Travel Network started as a simple database of contacts – this changed in 2004, when the former EFPSA President Markus Hausammann created the website www.efpsa-travel.net. It can now be found through the main website or at https://more.efpsa.org/studytravelabroad/.
Study Abroad considers its existence, at least, since the early ‘90s where it began as a project under the name “How to Study Abroad” and later on as "Study and Work Abroad" (SWA). Since 2005 the Service has focused on “Study Abroad” (SA) and can now be found through the main website where information, advice and experience stories can be found. As of 2015, the Travel Network and the Study Abroad Services have been merged into the Study & Travel Abroad Service, which continues much with the same visions, missions and values as the predecessors. In 2016, the Student Exchange Responsible became part of the team, opening up the opportunity for Member Organisations to receive support from EFPSA in organising their international exchanges with other psychology student associations and students from other healthcare disciplines. The Internship Task Force was launched in the mandate 2015-2016 and extended for the mandate 2016-2017 in order to build a strategy, working towards the development of an internship platform for EFPSA. The team set forth a number of goals for the Internship Task Force. These were to outline the internship possibilities students are looking for, set-up a database with contacts of possible partnerships that could provide internship opportunities, make initial contact with the collected contacts in order to establish these partnerships, and build a solid foundation for the following mandate. The work has now been passed on to the Internship Responsible, within the Study & Travel Abroad Service, following approval of the position during the General Assembly held at the 31st EFPSA Congress in Gakh, Azerbaijan in 2017. The first internship opportunity was offered to psychology students in August 2017.
After several years of preparation, the first issue of the Journal of European Psychology Students (JEPS), EFPSA’s online open-access, peer-reviewed journal, was published in 2009. The idea behind the journal is to give psychology students the unique chance to publish their own research in an international journal and to gain experience in the publishing process as well as in scientific writing. The Journal of European Psychology Students’ Bulletin is a supplement to JEPS that blogs about academic writing, scientific publishing, and essential research skills in the field of psychology. This has been published since 2010. In 2016, JEPS introduced Registered Reports, a recent development in the field of psychology. The aim of pre-registration is to encourage research that presents suitable hypotheses and methodology in order to counter undesirable but prevalent research practices such as cherry-picking and p-hacking. This was a progressive step forward for a quality student journal.
In 2010, the General Assembly approved a comprehensive revision of the Statutes and Domestic Regulations proposed by a Statutes Task Force. The most important changes included the introduction of three kinds of EFPSA members: National, Regional and Local Organisations. Representatives from those organisations were together now referred to as Member Representatives.
In the same year the Training Office was introduced to the organisation. The first steps in creating a sustainable training system were the introduction of a Training Officer and the first Train the Trainers summer school taking place in Austria in August 2010. At the 2011 Congress, this first generation of trainers was already delivering sessions to the Member Representatives and the Executive Board. In 2014 the first edition of the Train Advanced Trainers was introduced.
The online growth (2010 - now)
In these years, EFPSA has grown rapidly. With an EFPSA Working Community of over 100 people, the core goals of EFPSA can be achieved at a faster rate and a bigger scale. This is manifested in the amount of following on EFPSA's social media accounts in 2021.
- Facebook: 28,000+ likes
- Instagram: 4,000+ followers
- LinkedIn: 3700+ followers
- Twitter: 1300+ followers
Besides our online presence, our physical presence has grown at the annual EFPSA Congresses. The EFPSA Congress has been growing in size allowing for more and more students, professionals and academics to connect with each other. At the 24th EFPSA Congress (2010 - The Netherlands) gathered around 200 participants. At the 28th EFPSA Congress (2014 - Czech Republic), EFPSA welcomed around 300 participants. At the 31st EFPSA Congress (2017 - Azerbaijan), EFPSA welcomed 350 participants. At the 35th EFPSA Congress (2021 - the Netherlands), EFPSA welcomed 400 participants to exchange knowledge, cultures, and practices.
Unfortunately, during the world wide pandemic in the spring of 2020, the 34th EFPSA Congress could not take place in Ireland. The General Assemblies were held virtually to maintain a normal transition of the mandate.
Below is a list of where each annual EFPSA Congress has taken place over the last 30 years:
EFPSA Congress History
- 2022 Cyprus