APF Announces New Program Honoring K. Anders Ericsson

by APF Staff on October 24, 2022

WASHINGTON — The American Psychological Foundation in conjunction with Natalie Sachs-Ericsson announces the establishment of the K. Anders Ericsson Dissertation Research Grant.

K. Anders Ericsson, PhD, was one of the world’s preeminent experts on expertise and passed away in June of 2020. He is survived by his wife, Natalie Sachs-Ericsson, his children, Lina and Jens Ericsson, and his grandson, Jakob.

Ericsson’s passion for understanding skill acquisition processes, particularly the role of deliberate practice, led to the widespread use of the expert performance approach. It emphasizes the importance of understanding the mental processes and knowledge that differentiates experts from lesser performers and spurred investigations in many domains, particularly in sports and medicine. He contributed to the development of better process tracing techniques to fully understand skill acquisition, including the analysis of concurrent and retrospective think-aloud verbal protocols gathered during problem solving on representative domain tasks.

“This continuing gift in Anders’ name will help develop and train the next generation of expertise researchers and advance his lifelong goal of uncovering what makes an expert an expert,” said Sachs-Ericsson, PhD. “This gift will help support students in perpetuity and further contribute to the lasting legacy of K. Anders Ericsson.”

The K. Anders Ericsson Dissertation Research Grant will support one annual $10,000 grant for dissertation research in the general area of expertise and skill acquisition with a preferred focus on applications of the expert performance approach and/or the impacts of deliberate practice in diverse domains of skill. The grant is open to applicants who are graduate students in the process of completing their dissertation.

“This generous gift will allow for funding to continue the important work of K. Anders Ericsson and to support the next generation of investigators working in this important area” said APF President Terence Keane, PhD. “We at APF are grateful for the opportunity to support research on expertise and thereby expand our program offerings in this area.”

Speaking of her late husband, Sachs-Ericsson said, “I really liked that he fostered the belief that everyone is capable of developing expertise in a given domain with the right coaching, dedication, and deliberate practice.”

The inaugural application cycle for this fund will be in 2023. Application details will be available in late 2022 on the K. Anders Ericsson Dissertation Research Grant webpage.

For any inquiries, please contact APF Communications Associate Bethany Giblin.