Utrecht University's ambition to invest in specific research focus areas is instrumental in creating a more focused profile. The Utrecht Center for Game Research was founded by the game-related teaching and research groups at Utrecht University on May 1, 2014 to develop an integrated approach to scientific and social questions, by linking academic excellence and fundamental research to the university's social mission. See our flyer for more information, or read our magazine Game Research - Games that Change your Mind, either online, or download the high-res (60 MB) or low-res (8 MB) pdf file.
How are people motivated to eat healthy? How are citizens involved in making decisions about their city? Such societal issues are far-reaching, but it is challenging is to keep people engaged and active. Games have the potential to contribute to grand societal issues. Games are designed experiences, players learn by doing, taking decisions and experiencing consequences in a safe and stimulating environment.
It is our mission to employ games to help solving large societal challenges. Games are pre-eminently suitable to inform, motivate, appeal to emotion, and influence behavior. Games do that better than other types of media. The Utrecht Center for Game Research provides the multidisciplinary expertise that is necessary for top level research into developing and studying games: game mechanics, technologies, player-game interaction, as well as the context.
Aim and ambition
Our aim is to contribute to global trends with regard to serious or applied games, i.e. games designed for a primary purpose other than pure entertainment. We invest not only in research, but also in a broad field of game-related education, as well as collaboration with industry and academia alike.
By organising networking meetings, offering valorisation support, and allocating seed money grants to interdisciplinary projects, the Utrecht Center for Game Research works actively on the following three areas of ambition.
1) Strengthening interdisciplinary research
We stimulate collaboration by bringing together researchers from different disciplines, within national as well as international contexts. Practiced collaboration, harmonisation of activities, and complementary areas of expertise will lead to higher quality research and education. We have established a university-wide infrastructure consisting of joint seminars and colloquia, and we coordinate grant applications. Our PhD candidates work across disciplines.
2) Expanding research volume
We stimulate and support the writing of national (NWO, CLICKNL) and international (Horizon2020, ERC) research proposals. We encourage the formation of structurally embedded international research networks. Our ongoing collaborations with commercial partners will continue to attract new investments. The increase in visibility of our research and teaching activities has made the Utrecht Center for Game Research a natural partner in international initiatives. By organising international conferences, summer schools, and graduate programs, we attract the best and brightest (research) Master’s students and PhD candidates.
3) Increasing impact
Combining complementary areas of expertise makes our research more relevant for both academia and society. With the support of the Research Support Offices, we continue to find practical applications of our academic knowledge to socially relevant research topics. We support joint output such as scientific publications on embedded research. The collective research groups form a recognised body of expertise and experience that defines an innovative research programme, putting us in a strong position to influence local, national, and international research agendas.