This is a list of our current research projects. Recently completed projects can be found below. You can also find out more about our research in our magazine.


Dynamic co-management of human-wildlife interactions in the Netherlands

Wild animals are returning to the Netherlands on a large scale, and our attitudes toward wild animals are changing dramatically. In the 8-year project WildlifeNL (2023-2030),scientists together with social partners are exploring how people and wild animals can learn to better coexist within the landscape. We develop apps to monitor and intervene human-wildlife interaction.

Partners: ARK Natuur, Bij12, CrossbillGuides Foundation, fantazm, Fontys, HAN, Nederlandse Jagers Vereniging, Kempen en Maasland, LTO Nederland, Ministerie van Landbouw, Natuur, en Voedselkwaliteit, Natuurmonumenten, PWN, Radboud University, SLU, smart parks, Natuurmonumenten, UU, WUR

  • Project members UU: Ine Dorrestein, Martin Wassen, Koen Beuner, Britta Ricker, Svenja Waldmann, Karin Rebel, Hens Runhaar, Joost Vervoort, Remco Veltkamp

  • 2023-2031

  • Funding: NWA.ORC 1389.20.130

Visit project site WildlifeNL


Strategies and tools for incentivization and management of flexibility in energy communities with distributed resources

We focus on developing and demonstrating integrated tools in an energy application as the shared platform for citizens that stimulates long-term engagement and empowerment in the energy transition. The application provides informed and reliable instruction and feedback to citizens about optimal home energy management through research on persuasive and inclusive serious game design, coupled with artificial intelligence techniques, energy models, and input from smart meter data.

Partners: Universitat de Girona (Spain), Utrecht University

  • Project members UU: Ioannis. Lampropoulos, Jan Dirk Fijnheer, Wilfried van Sark, Remco Veltkamp

  • 2023-2026

  • Funding: HORIZON-CL5-2022-D3-01, Climate, Energy and Mobility, Innovation Action, Grant agreement ID: 101096490

Visit Project site Reschool


Game design, AI, system Modeling: Long-term consumer and community empowerment in energy applications

By developing integrated tools as the shared platform between citizens and the energy system, and thus enabling user-centred sustainable energy systems, we envision a future where households play an active role in the energy transition. This requires an interdisciplinary approach and collaboration along the whole energy value chain. Game research will be coupled with advanced modelling techniques and smart meter data, for providing informed and reliable feedback to citizens about optimal energy management in households. The developed tools will be demonstrated and verified in several Dutch municipalities for enhancing energy consumer empowerment which is crucial for a low-carbon energy system.

Partners: Utrecht University, E.ON SE (Germany), Elin Verd S.A. (Greece), Voltalis (France), University of Mannheim (Germany), University of Bayreuth (Germany)

More information about project GAIM

Unlocking the Past: Bridging Art, History, and Young People’s Media Environment Through Multisensory Extended Reality Engagement

Art museums and galleries found it difficult to attract young audiences. Many studies demonstrated that young people, particularly those between the ages of 16 and 24, inhabit a different cultural field than older generations, consuming and producing material in different ways and from different perspectives, and that they do not feel connected to art. The purpose of this study is to investigate the potential of multisensory XR in art museums and galleries, with the goal of assisting young visitors to absorb more information about artistic heritage and engage in interactions that can enhance the level of engagement, education, and dissemination. The multisensory XR experience will be designed with Rembrandt in mind; it aims to enhance the onsite museum visit by disseminating art history knowledge, Rembrandt's significance, and his relation to the Dutch Golden Age.

Project members UU: Jiaxin Liu, Dr. Stefan Werning, Prof. dr. Joost Raessens

Duration project: 2022-2026

Funding: China Scholarship Council (CSC) Grant


The Becoming-Playful of Warfare in the Netherlands

How and why has the mobilization of play in the service of the Dutch military-innovation complex escalated and intensified since 2014? This project addresses the development and deployment of ludic media technologies, such as drones, simulators and serious games, by the Dutch Armed Forces and their academic and industrial partners. Through qualitative content analysis, semi-structured interviews with key actors and participant observation at key sites of military-technological innovation, the project seeks to understand how the Dutch military-innovation complex uses play in its operations and what the implications are for the shape of contemporary warfare.


Urban Sustainable Mobility: student education, community involvement and participative planning

The project aims to improve the quality of teaching in universities, by offering students a hands-on approach in the preparation of a SUMP for a locality in their cities, actively involving local communities and local authorities in the process. It also aims to bring the concept of SUMP closer to urban citizens, offering to them a learning package and tools to understand sustainable mobility better as well as exercise their public participation rights in the planning of sustainable mobility in their area.
We develop a location based game (LBG) that allows players to choose between alternative mobility options or create their own mobility routes and score their own performance according to the benefits achieved, obstacles faced and negative impact for the environment and quality of life.

Partners: Utrecht University, Technical University Darmstadt, PRISAMA Centre for Development Studies, City of Győr, City of Darmstadt, City of Glyfada

  • Project members UU: Remco Veltkamp, Sander Bakkes

  • 2019-2022

  • Funding: Erasmus+ KA203 Strategic Partnerships for higher education

Visit project site UrbanScope


Applied Gaming Intervention for reducing Loneliness of Children with Chronic Diseases

Many studies have shown that children with chronic conditions are at a greater risk for poor mental health and social problems. The project will investigate to what extent stimulating or modifying play behaviour through an applied game can enhance the adaptability of a child to a (chronic) stressful condition. Our hypothesis is that a well-designed applied game for children with a chronic disease will promote short- and long-term social and emotional development, thereby strengthening the basis for their future health and behaviour. The project is a collaboration with the Wilhelmina Children's Hospital (WKZ) and game developer IJsfontein.

Partners: Utrecht University, Wilhelmina Children's Hospital (WKZ), IJsfontein

  • Project members UU/WKZ: Sander Bakkes, Sanne Nijhof, Elise van der Putte, Remco Veltkamp

  • 2019-2020

  • Funding: Health~Holland (Topsector Life Sciences & Health)

More about project AGI-LO

Spationomy 2.0

Spatial and economic science in higher education - addressing the playful potential of simulation games

This project aims to innovate the way of teaching about the distinct fields of economics, business, geoinformatics and geography, all encompassed by game studies, via modern methods of informal teaching (gamification and playful education) and virtual telecollaborative techniques. The project tackles the issue of learning-by-doing by playing a serious and science based simulation game. This game-based learning transforms traditional means of higher education classes into innovative, creative learning environments in which all participants (teachers and students) will be engaged in solving real-world issues through gaming scenarios. During the blended mobility, students will learn and adopt joint methodologies/techniques/tools and they serve as actors in “spatial economic/business analytics games”, deployed to structure group-based and student-led investigations of advanced spatial economic data analyses.

Partners: Palacký University/MVŠO Olomouc (Chech Republic), Ruhr University Bochum (Germany), Maribor University (Slovenia)

  • Project leader: Dr. René Glas, Dr. Jasper van Vught, Dr. Stefan Werning
  • 2019-2022
  • Funding: Erasmus+

iv4XR: Intelligent Verification/Validation for Extended Reality Based Systems

The development and authoring of Extended Reality (XR) systems is an iterative process that includes quality assurance to make sure that the resulting systems are correct, and deliver a high quality user experience. XR’s fine grained and high level of interactivity and realism make such systems very hard and expensive to test. The current XR authoring and development toolset poses no XR testing technology beyond rudimentary record and replay tools that only work for simple test scenarios. This project aims to build a novel verification and validation technology for XR systems based on techniques from AI to provide learning and reasoning over a virtual world. With this technology XR developers can deploy powerful test agents to automatically explore and test the correct parameters of their virtual worlds as they iteratively develop and refine them. In addition, user experience is an equally important aspect for all XR systems.

Partners: NESC (Portugal), Utrecht University, Fondazione Bruno Kessler (Italy), Universitat Politecnica de Valencia (Spain), Gameware (UK), GoodAI Research (Czech Republic), Thales (France)

  • Project members UU: Wishnu Prastya, Frank Dignum
  • 2019-2022
  • Funding: H2020 ICT-25-2018-2020

Quality of assessment of sequences of choices in serious games

The main research question we address is: How can we use or adapt psychometric techniques to determine the quality of assessment of sequences of user interactions in serious games? To answer this question, we will first develop a format for representing the kind of sequences of interactions that are assessed in serious games. Then we will adapt techniques from psychometry to determine methods and develop software that analyses sequences of interactions. We will test our software on the playthroughs of the DialogueTrainer software for practicing communication skills.

  • Project members UU: Johan Jeuring, Raja Lala, Matthieu Brinkhuis
  • 2019-2020
  • Funding: DGA Fieldlab

Data2Game: Adaptive training games for crisis management

By using the latest developments in adaptive gaming, sensor-technology and natural language generation, we aspire to improve computerised training. The Data2Game project investigates how, and to what extent, the efficacy of computerised training games can be enhanced by tailoring the training scenarios to the individual player. The research is performed in close collaboration with serious-game developers at Thales/T-Xchange and with Veiligheidsregio Twente for the purpose of enhancing the training efficacy of members of crisis management teams.

Partners: University of Twente, T-Xchange, Veiligheidsregio Twente, Tilburg University, Utrecht University


  • Project members UU: Sander Bakkes
  • 2017-2021
  • Funding: NWO Professional Games for Professional Skills


The Virtual Toystore

This project is an add-on of the Virtual Supermarket. The Virtual Supermarket is developed to measure cognitive deficits after brain damage. In the same line of thought, we will design a more complex dynamic situation of daily living to measure cognitive functions and skills in a more sensitive and detailled manner. The Virtual Toystore will be designed for the younger children with (acquired) brain injury.

Partners: Wilhelmina Childrens Hospital, Center of Excellence in Rehabilitation Medicine (De Hoogstraat Revalidatie, UMC Utrecht, Braincenter Rudolf Magnus), Atoms2Bits

  • Project member UU: Dr. Tanja Nijboer
  • 2019-2020
  • Funding: Dr. C.J. Vaillant Onderzoeksfonds

Dangerous Games

Deploying Game Design to Combat Drug-related Threats to Health and Public Order

This  project explores play as a new modality to analyze big and complex datasets. Play, specifically, promises to stimulate new interpretations and out-of-the-box-thinking given its potential to safely explore different interaction patterns through role play and rule manipulation. This project distinguishes itself by developing a methodology of collaborative game design and play to explore complex interaction patterns from various angles with stakeholders who are not game design experts and bring their own datasets to the issue. As a test case, we focus on the highly complex issue of the use of illegal and prescription drugs, both for recreational or medicinal purposes, and its challenges to communities (e.g., the recent opioid crisis in which medical prescription has created an enormous public addiction problem). Professionals from the fields of drug prevention, law enforcement, drug trafficking and health care will all provide data from their different perspectives and subsequently develop and test the methodology in an iterative process.

Partners: Mainline Foundation, National Pharmaceutical Museum

  • Project members UU: Dr. Ing. Sander Bakkes, Dr. Ingrid Hoofd, Dr. Heidi Lesscher, Dr. Rafaela Quadros Rigoni, Dr. Stephen Snelders, Prof. Dr. Remco Veltkamp, Dr. Jasper van Vught, Dr. Stefan Werning, Dr. Damian Zaitch.
  • 2019
  • Funding: NWO KIEM


Recent developments in immersive learning technologies are providing exciting new tools for teaching and training programmes, yet they remain underutilised in science & technology education, and nowhere is this more true than in the field of chemistry and chemical engineering. CHARMING, the European Training Network for CHemicAl EngineeRing IMmersive LearnING, takes on this challenge by developing learning strategies, content and prototypes for the application of games and virtual/augmented reality for motivating, teaching and training children, students and employees in chemistry, chemical engineering and chemical operations. The inter-sectorial and interdisciplinary CHARMING ETN consists of leading universities and industry participants and trains 15 ESRs in the areas of innovative chemical engineering, instructional psychology & pedagogy and immersive technology.

Partners: KVE, BASF, ACTA ACTA , University of Duisburg-Essen UDE

  • Project members UU: Dr. Lisette Hornstra, Dr. Pieter Wouters, Dr. Bert Slof, Dr. Marieke van der Schaaf, Prof. Johan Jeuring, Prof. Liesbeth Kester
  • 2018-2022

  • Funding: H2020-MSCA-ITN-2018 (Marie Skłodowska-Curie Innovative Training Networks)


Using bottom-up, demand-driven research, the SMARTCHAIN consortium i) will perform a multi-perspective analysis of 18 case studies of short food supply chains in terms of technological, regulatory, social, economic and environmental factors, ii) will assess the linkages and interactions among all stakeholders involved in short food supply chains and iii) will identify the key parameters that influence sustainable food production and rural development among different regions in Europe.

Partners: 43 partners from 11 European countries, including Universität Hohenheim (Germany, coordinator), Wageningen University, Nederlands Bakkerij Centrum, Amped BV, Brandt en Levie BV (all Netherlands).

  • Project members UU: Remco Veltkamp, Arno Siebes
  • 2018-2021
  • Funding: Horizon2020 SFS-2016-2017
More about project Smartchain

The Virtual Supermarket

The Virtual Supermarket is developed to measure cognitive deficits after brain damage. Feasibility and user experience studies are well underway. With the new grant, cognitive complaints of patients with brain damage are related to performances on traditional neuropsychological assessment (pen-and-paper tests) as well as performances in the virtual supermarket (e.g. way finding, eye tracking, accuracy, total time needed). The traditional tests have very low predictive value with respect to cognitive functioning in complex dynamic situations of daily living. It is hypothesised that assessment with VR simulations such as the VR supermarket is much more sensitive and therefore has much higher predictive value. 

Partners: Kenniscentrum Revalidatiegeneeskunde Utrecht (De Hoogstraat Revalidatie, UMC Utrecht, Hersencentrum), Atoms2Bits, 2SQRS LAB

  • Project members UU: Dr. Tanja Nijboer
  • 2018-2019
  • Funding: Het Revalidatiefonds

Virtual Training Doctor

Empowering older adults in conversations with healthcare professionals

The goal of this EIT Digital project is to develop an application for older adults to prepare themselves for conversations with healthcare professionals. 

Shared decision making (SDM) facilitates the discussion between health care professionals and older patients when decisions have to be made about desired care and treatment. SDM has a number of benefits, and several countries have set up programs to stimulate SDM in discussions between health care professionals and older patients. These programs target awareness of SDM of health-care professionals and patients, and sometimes offer trainings to health care professionals. We are not aware of projects or products aimed at training older patients.

This goal of this project is to design a product aimed at training older patients to practice SDM in discussions with healthcare professionals. The product is based on our earlier work on developing a serious game for practicing communication skills targeted at students in higher education. The main challenge of our work is the target group of older patients instead of higher education students.

Our target group is community dwelling older patients, aged 65+ years, with minimal digital health literacy skills. These patients might encounter various diseases and health conditions. We want to offer users of our simulation a choice to practice with multiple situations, such as a patient with diabetes, or a patient with multi-morbidity problems.

  • Projectmembers UU: Prof.dr. Johan Jeuring, Raja Lala MBA, MSc , Marcell van Geest, MSc Jordy van Dortmont, Ignaz Kevenaar 
  • 2018
  • Funding: EIT Digital
More about The Virtual training doctor


Automated Recognition of Bodily Interactions

The automated understanding of human behavior is a scientific challenge with many applications in society such as in social surveillance, health care and content-based video retrieval. In ARBITER, we research (1) how bodily interactions can best be represented quantitatively, and (2) how to automatically recognize interactions from video data. This approach allows us to robustly classify interactions in both space and time at a fine scale.

  • Project members UU: Dr. Ronald Poppe
  • 2017-2021
  • Funding: NWO TOP C2

Playful Active Urban Living

The current project aims to get insight in how mobile personalized technology can motivate urban residents to become physically active. More specifically, we aim to gain insight into the effectiveness of elements within an exercise app (motivational feedback, goal setting, individualized messages, gaming elements (gamification)) for making people more physically active, and how the effectiveness depends on characteristics of the individual and the urban setting. This results in a flexible exercise app for inactive citizens based on theories in data mining, machine learning, exercise psychology, behavioral change and gamification. The project contributes to the development of theories on sustainable behavioral change via personalized technologies.

Partners: University of Amsterdam (UvA), Applied University of Amsterdam (HvA), Federal University of São Paulo (Brazil), city of Utrecht, city of Amsterdam,, ZappYou, Amsterdam Smart City.

  • Project members UU: Dr. Monique Simons, dr. Dick Ettema
  • 2017-2021
  • Funding: NWO/SIA/FAPESP-program Data-driven research on Sports & Healthy Living
More about project Playful Active Urban Living


The main goal of PREHealth is to encourage city dwellers to use urban green and blue spaces more actively. This includes changing attitudes and behaviors towards the role, design, and maintenance of open spaces, through education at all levels: school, university, and adult learning. The project also aims to promote active citizenship, by establishing interactive mechanisms for public participation and co-design, allowing the citizens to take a more active role in creating environments that support healthy lifestyles.

Partners: Technische Universität Darmstadt – coordinating partner; PRISMA-Planning and Research Consultants, Szechenyi Istvan University, three local authorities (the Cities of Darmstadt, Athens, Gyor) and 4 associated partners including the city of Eindhoven

  • Project members UU: Dr. Monique Simons, Prof. Remco Veltkamp
  • 2017 - 2019
  • Funding: Erasmus+
More about project on PreHealth


Realizing Education through Environments and Augmented Locations

This project will pioneer the use of mainstream PlayStation VR technologies for innovative educational applications which engage world-wide audiences in the Europe’s rich historical and scientific heritage. The resulting technology and tools will provide an infrastructure for creating educational VR experiences and generate new business opportunities outside of Sony’s core gaming activities on the PlayStation platform. In the process it will create inclusive narrative-driven VR experiences which improve the social and physical accessibility of cultural heritage and contribute to the digital preservation of historical sites.

Partners: Sony Computer Entertainment Europe, Sony Sheffield Hallam University, Jenner Trust, UTC Sheffield Academy Trust (UK), VRTron Ltd (Malta), CNR (Italy)

  • Project members UU: Dr. Herre van Oostendorp, dr. Egon van den Broek, Chris Ferguson
  • 2017-2019
  • Funding: Horizon2020 ICT-24-2016
More about project Reveal

Imaginative Scenario Planning for Law Enforcement Organizations

The project develops the competence to critically imagine and strategically plan for a future other than traditional law enforcement planning strategies and mechanisms currently allow for. Participants will co-design a toolkit to facilitate creative, novel and relevant scenario planning. These methods include deductive and inductive scenario approaches as well as morphological scenario development, simulation gaming and information assemblages. The combination of disciplines and expertise guarantees an innovative and creative approach to data collection that brings new knowledge to the scenario planning debate from law, politics and security, organizational anthropology and creative methods, scenario planning and systems resilience, and gaming and new media.

Partners: Coventry University, Oxford Brookes University, National Crime Agency (NCA)

  • Project members UU: Dr. Ingrid Hoofd, Dr Joost Vervoort
  • May 2017 – April 2019
  • Funding: Centre for Trust, Peace and Social Relations (CREST), United Kingdom


Serious gaming based on preconceptions to promote conceptual development in physics education

In this modern technological era possibilities to create alternative realities in game environments are endless. Students come into a classroom with preconceptions that has arisen out of daily life. These preconceptions cannot be ignored, but instead should be used in learning activities. In the present research an alternative reality in a game environment will be used to address students’ preconceptions.

  • Anne van der Linden MSc, Prof. Dr. Wouter van Joolingen, Dr. Nico Rutten, Dr. Ir. Ralph Meulenbroeks 

  • 2016-2021

  • Funding: Promodoc

TeCoLa project

TeCoLa harnesses gamified telecollaboration technologies to enhance foreign language teaching and learning. Virtual world interaction, video communication and online games are deployed to support online pedagogical exchanges between secondary school students throughout Europe. Special attention is given to authentic communication practice in the foreign language, intercultural experience, awareness raising and competence development, collaborative knowledge discovery in contexts of content and language integrated learning, and learning diversity and differentiated pedagogical practices.

Partners: LINK, Germany. University of Roehampton, United Kingdom. University of Antwerp, Belgium. University of Valencia, Spain. Transit-Lingua, France. 3DLES, The Netherlands.

  • Project members UU: Dr. MK Jauregi Ondarra
  • 2016-2019
  • Funding: Erasmus+
More about TeCola project


Within this Initial Training Network, UU and Noldus IT will develop a tracking system which uses a mobile camera mounted on the subject (egocentric video). New algorithms will be developed to calculate the location of the subject from the video sequences. By combining with other body worn systems (e.g. accelorometers), methods will be developed to detect a range of behaviours, e.g. social interaction, loneliness, falls, changes by mild stroke.

Partners: Noldus IT

  • Project members UU: Dr. Ronald Poppe, Prof.dr. Remco Veltkamp
  • 2016-2019
  • Funding: Marie Sklodowska-Curie EU Framework for Research and Innovation Horizon 2020, under Grant Agreement No. 676157


L2TOR (say ‘el tutor’) is a new project which will start beginning 2016. It is a Horizon 2020 funded collaborative project, led by Plymouth University, in which social robots will be programmed to provide dual language instruction to 4-year-olds. In the current project robots will be designed and programmed to provide language input in Dutch-English, Dutch-Turkish, German-English, German-Turkish, and Turkish-English. Utrecht University is in charge of designing ‘lessons’ series, that is, structured interaction-activity scenarios in the domains spatial, mathematical, and mental state language. In addition, Utrecht University is responsible for the three-country evaluation study in the final year of the project. 

Partners: Plymouth University, Tilburg University, Bielefeld University, Koc University

  • Project members UU: Paul Leseman, Ora Oudgenoeg, Sanne van der Ven
  • 2016-2019
  • funding: Horizon 2020
Visit project site L2TOR

RAGE – Realising an Applied Gaming Eco-system

The goal of the RAGE project is to support the EU based industry for non-leisure games (applied games) amongst others by developing an interoperable set of advanced technology assets tuned to applied gaming, and by showing how these technology assets are used in applied games. Utrecht University will particularly contribute to the assets for interactions and assessment, social agents, and embodiment and physical interaction.

Partners: Open Universiteit Nederland, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, INESC ID, Playgen ltd, Okkam srl, FTK forschungsinstitut fur telekommunikation und kooperation ev, The University of Bolton, Technische Universität Graz, Inmark Estudios y Estrategias sa, Universiteit Utrecht,Uuniversitatea Politehnica din Bucuresti, Nurogames gmbh, Bip Media sarl, Sofiiski Universitet Sveti Kliment Ohridski, Stichting Praktijkleren, Gameware Europe Limite, Ministério da  Justiça, Groupe Randstad France, Hull College of Further Education

  • Site leader for Utrecht University: Prof. Dr. Johan Jeuring; Assistant Professor Zerrin Yumack
  • 2015-2019
  • Funding: H2020 - ICT-21-2014: Advanced digital gaming / gamification technologies

Recently Completed Projects

Sorted by end date, descending.

Escaping the Chasm

Utrecht University has set the goal that in 2020 blended learning will be an integral part of the university’s educational model. However, some teachers do not explore technological opportunities that can enhance their teaching. This project aims to introduce teacher teams to new educational technologies in a playful, collaborative way. The project team will develop an escape room in which teacher teams will be voluntarily ‘locked up’. They can only escape by collaboratively solving educational, innovative and technological puzzles. These challenges are designed to raise interest in and curiosity for educational innovations. Also, this experience will better align the perception of usefulness en usability with realty. After this activity, participating teachers will discuss their experiences and possible applications for their own teaching.

  • Project leader UU: drs. Jasper van Winden
  • 2017 - 2018
  • Funding: Utrecht Education Incentive Fund

The X-Games

The interpretation of medical images to establish diseases (radiology) is a very complex skill with great clinical implications. Learning this skill requires an intensive training program according to the principles of deliberate practice: intensive training focused on specific tasks, complete with feedback and the possibility to repeat and refine. Serious gaming facilitates these training principles by adding gaming elements which stimulate motivation (engagement) as well as the learning activity itself.

The goal of this project is to develop, validate and evaluate a serious game for radiology education, with a target audience of bachelor medical students, aimed at improving their image interpretation skills.

Partners: VQuest

  • Project members UU: Drs. A. van der Gijp, Dr. M.F. van der Schaaf, Dr. I.C. van der Schaaf, Drs. C. Mol, Dr. ir. K.L. Vincken, Dr. C.J. Ravesloot
  • 2017-2018
  • Funding: SURF

Depict: DEsigning and Policy Implementation for encouraging Cycling and walking Trips

By applying immersive simulation technology and stated-preference methods this project is focused on developing an in-depth understanding of the meaning of attributes of e.g. the bicycle and walking infrastructure, traffic rush, gradients, urbanization degrees, and greenness in stimulating walking and cycling for various population categories in The Netherlands and São Paulo. The results will be used for policy recommendations in both countries.

Partners: University of Oxford, University of São Paulo

  • Site leader for UU: Prof. Dr. Martin Dijst (Geosciences)
  • 2015-2018
  • Funding: FAPESP-ESRC-NWO Joint Call for Transnational Collaborative Research Projects

Powersaver Game: Gamification in a household energy game

This research project will give insight into what the influence of gamification is on energy consumption in households by means of electricity and gas usage and on attitudes towards sustainable energy use at home. For this project Powersaver Game is designed that is to be used as a research instrument that will allow us to investigate different factors and that could strengthen the change in attitude and behaviour. Since our aim is an effective transfer between the game world and real world, we introduced gamification elements from the real world, by energy saving activities, in the game. Powersaver Game is used in a series of experiments. First, the game will be compared with a control (non-game) version. Next, features such as feedback, personal relevance and competition will be examined. 

Partners: Inholland University of Applied Sciences, BeNext, Oogwenk, ToekomstGroep

  • Project members UU: Jan Dirk Fijnheer, Herre van Oostendorp, Remco Veltkamp
  • 2014-2018
  • Funding: Inholland University of Applied Sciences

Graduate Programme Game Research

The focus of the Graduate Programme Game Research  lies on the computer science and humanities aspects of games. We perform research and education on the development, application and socio-cultural context of (serious) games and simulations, for example with regard to persuasive technologies and interaction, artificial intelligence, software technology, and virtual worlds, in relation to subject areas like playful-smart cities, health, education, and safety.

  • Project members UU: Prof. Dr. Remco Veltkamp, Prof. Dr. Joost Raessens; Dr. Stefan Werning
  • 2013-2018
  • Funding: NWO Graduate Programme
More about Graduate programme game research

Go Go Gozo: Field-based learning - multidisciplinary mobile mapping methods

An ongoing field-based encounter between students and staff from different disciplines, bringing together students with academic researchers from Geography, Sociology, Development Studies, Geoinformatics, Game Studies, Interdisciplinary Studies and New Media Studies in order to explore the links between mapping, mobility and play.

Partners: University of Manchester (UK), University of Warwick (UK)

  • Project members UU: Drs. Alex Gekker, Dr. René Glas
  • 2015-2017
  • Funding: Erasmus +

The preservation of digital games as Dutch cultural heritage

This research project has set up the first unified effort between game research, cultural heritage institutions and the Dutch game industry. It seeks answers to questions around definition, preservation, archiving and exhibition of the history of Dutch digital games and game development.

Partner: Sound and Vision

  • Project members UU: Dr René Glas, Dr. Jasper van Vught
  • 2015-2017
  • Funding: NWO Museumbeurs and Utrecht University Focus Area Game Research seed money grant.  
Visit project site Game On

Persuasive gaming. From theory-based design to validation and back

The research in this project is concerned with the characteristics, design principles, and effectiveness of persuasive gaming. We study gaming practices that combine the dissemination of information with attempts to engage players in particular behaviors and attitudes.

Partners: Erasmus University Rotterdam, Eindhoven University of Technology, Submarine, IJsfontein

  • Project members UU: Prof.dr. Joost Raessens, Dr. Teresa de la Hera
  • 2013-2017
  • Funding: NWO Creative Industry
Visit project site Persuasive Gaming

VIEWW - Virtual worlds for well-being

In this project we do research on affective body animation, crowd simulation, biomechanical animation, computational modelling of music emotion, and video analysis of human interaction. The game is crowd sourcing tool to collect data about perceived emotion in music.

Partners: University of Amsterdam, University of Twente, Waag Society, CGI, Inreda Diabetic,, Elitac BV, DIGIFiT, Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences, Motek Medical, 8D Games

  • Project members UU: Prof. Dr. Remco Veltkamp, dr. Zerrin Yumak, dr. Frans Wiering, dr. Roland Gerearts, 
    dr. ir. R.W. (Ronald) Poppe
  • 2012-2017
  • Funding: FES fund
Visit project site Vieww

BEAT IT! Training behavioural control in adolescents

In a rapidly changing environment in which technology plays a major role in the lives of adolescents, there is strong need to develop an intervention that meets the needs of these youngsters. Media and games have become a fact of live, and for that reason we will employ the concept of serious gaming for the development of an intervention for increasing self-control among adolescents. The main focus is to develop a game which is fun to play and will keep adolescents motivated to finish the training/game. The game will include evidence-based training paradigm’s, however these paradigm’s are incorporated in such manner that they are not explicitly visible for the player.

The game will be designed by students of the Game Technology study in corporation with a Game Design Studio.

Partners: Shosho Amsterdam (Game Design Studio)

  • Project members UU: Dr. Margot Peeters, Dr. Ir Robbert Jan Beun, Wouter Boendermaker MSc, Dr. Rens van de Schoot, Prof. Dr. Remco Veltkamp
  • 2015-2016
  • Funding: Dynamics of Youth (DoY) 
Visit project site Beat-it

Simulations and Simulation Games in Academic Education

A project aimed to develop and sustain simulations and simulations games within Utrecht University’s institution-wide academic education. The goals is to support teaching staff to use simulations and simulation games to realizing learning goals; develop and train core competencies of students; to train students to work in multidisciplinary settings around complex issues; to connect educational education to changing ways of learning of contemporary students.

  • Project leader: Dr. Tom Overmans
  • 2014-2016
  • Funding: Utrechts Stimuleringsfonds Onderwijs 
Visit project site Simulation Games


Communicate! is project that develops the Virtual Patient, a serious game for practicing communication skills. It supports practicing interpersonal communication skills by interacting with a virtual character that responds to choices of a player and displays emotions. Besides a playing environment, Communicate! offers an editor for scenarios. A scenario is a graph-like structure, extended with several constructs to avoid the development of repetitive structures. The research in the project focuses on scenario development, and several aspects and technologies related to learning. 

Partners: Utrecht municipality

  • Project leader: Prof.dr. Johan Jeuring
  • 2013 - 2016
  • Funding: Educate-IT

SAGE –Serious Games Pathway within the Undergraduate IT Programs

SAGE aims to develop a sustainable serious games curriculum in the undergraduate IT programs of the four consortium universities from Palestine and Tunisia.

Partners: Birzeit University and Al-Quds University (Palestine), University of Sousse and University of Sfax (Tunisia), RWTH Aachen (Germany), Utrecht University, Stockholm University (Sweden)

  • Project members UU: Dr. Ir. Frank van der Stappen, Dr. Ir. Arjan Egges
  • 2013-2016
  • Funding: EU Tempus Program

Growing Games

Growing Games is a stimulation programme to foster the durable grow of the Dutch applied game sector.

Partners: Dutch Game Garden, Izovator, TNO, Economic Board Utrecht, IMMovator, ClickNL Games, Dutch Games Association, HKU, Hogeschool Utrecht, Kamer van koophandel, Spil Games, CbuzineZ, Hanegraaf, FreedomLab, aBSRD, Center for Applied Games, Dasym, Koninklijke Landmacht, Hogeschool van Amsterdam, Ministerie van Defensie, KPMG, Games for Health, AMC, Game World Consultants, Hilversum Mediastad, Provincie Utrecht

  • Project members UU: Prof. Dr. Remco Veltkamp
  • 2013-2016
  • Funding: province of Utrecht

SleepCare- Persuasive Technology for Personalized Sleep Coaching

The goal of the project is to develop computerized strategies to improve exercise adherence. A mobile e-coaching system has been developed that uses strategies from gaming and persuasive technology in the domain of insomnia therapy.

Partners: Delft University of Technology, University of Amsterdam, Philips

  • Project leader: Dr. Ir. Robbert Jan Beun
  • 2012-2016
  • Funding: STW-Philips-NIHC

ERC Starting Grant: Charting the Digital – Digital Mapping Practices as New Media Cultures

The key objective of this research programme is to investigate to what extent and how digital maps can be considered as new techno-cultural phenomena that have altered our way of being in and moving through our spatial environments. Part of this research project investigates playful mapping practices that people nowadays engage with.

Partners: University of Warwick (UK), University of Manchester (UK)

  • Project members UU: Drs. Alex Gekker
  • 2011-2016
  • Funding: European Research Council

Scientific games for education

In this project we aimed to respond to the call of the cTWO (commissie Toekomst Wiskunde Onderwijs, Commission Future of Math Education) for making more use of ICT in the classroom and for the further appliance of math in authentic contexts. We did so by designing a first prototype of a 3D world that offers high school students a relevant authentic context in order to develop active mathematical thinking, one of the spear points of the new math curriculum for both havo and vwo. This relevant context is shaped by the history of mathematics, which is currently not a part of Dutch high school curricula. In the envisioned game, history, enriched with relevant heritage objects from Museum Boerhaave, will serve as a narrative to create practical, technical and scientific situations (contexts) in which math is used as a tool to solve a certain problem.

Partners: Museum Boerhaave, Huygens ING, QLVR, Brill Publishers

  • Project members UU: Prof. Dr. Toine Pieters, Prof. Dr. Remco Veltkamp
  • 2014-2015
  • Funding: NWO KIEM and Utrecht University Focus area Game Research

Games and social change: In-between screens, places and communities

This network explored the burgeoning ‘Games for change’ movement that has emerged in the last decade, which has appropriated to engage people beyond entertainment. A growing number of artists, educationalists and activities are developing games that contend with personal, social and political subject matter, e.g. poverty, immigration, fiscal crisis, with the explicit intention of altering or affecting player opinion outside of the game world.

Partners: Manchester Metropolitan University (UK)

  • Project members UU: Prof.dr. Joost Raessens, Drs. Niels Hoogendoorn
  • 2013-2015
  • Funding: Arts & Humanities Research Council (UK) – Game changing research networks for the Video game industry

European Summerschool in Game Research 2014

This Summer School was hosted by Utrecht University, but organized by different European universities that are considered as leaders in the field. It consisted of a two-week intensive programme during which students were encouraged to develop their research ideas further. It provided a unique opportunity to learn about cutting-edge theories and methodologies from leading scholars in the field. Students had the rare opportunity to broaden their horizon internationally, and gained knowledge about games and play from an interdisciplinary perspective.

Partners: Erasmus University Rotterdam, Eindhoven University of Technology, University of Warwick, (UK), University of Tampere, (Finland), Leuphana University (Germany)

  • Project members UU: Prof.dr. Joost Raessens; Dr. René Glas, Dr. Teresa de la Hera, drs. Alex Gekker, drs. Stephanie de Smale
  • 2013-2015
  • Funding: EP Nuffic
About European Summer School in Games and Play

Creative Territories: Exploring Innovation in Indie Game Production Contexts and Connections

This network brought together leading international and UK scholars, indie games developers and creative industry stakeholders to examine this transformation of the young but highly significant video games industry to identify how it makes possible new kinds of cultural production, collaboration and creativity.

Partners: University West of England (UK), Dutch Game Garden

  • Project members UU: Dr. Stefan Werning, Prof.dr. Joost Raessens, Drs. Stephanie de Smale
  • 2013-2015
  • Funding: Arts & Humanities Research Council (UK) – Game changing research networks for the Video game industry

COGITCH – COgnition Guided Interoperability beTween Collections of musical Heritage

This project researches which musical features make you remember a fragment well. Through the game we collect data about those hooks in music.

Partners: University of Amsterdam, Meertens Institute, Sound & Vision

  • Project leader: Prof. Dr. Remco Veltkamp
  • 2011-2015
  • Funding: NWO CATCH
Visit project site Cogitch