Assistant Professor

Erik van der Spek

Department / Institute
Industrial Design
EAISI Health
EAISI Foundational


Erik van der Spek is Assistant Professor of Game and Play Design. He is the research director of the TU/e Game/Play Lab and secretary of the International Federation for Information Processing (IFIP) Technical Committee on Entertainment Computing (TC14). His research interests are the design of games and play for entertainment, learning, vitality and empathy. From playful interaction to immersive VR experiences, Van der Spek tries to discover the elements that engage us to construct imaginary magic circles, to have cathartic mediated presence experiences in fantasy environments, and that stimulate us to see the world in a newfound light.

Van der Spek has been a board member of the TU/e Data Science Center, chair of the ID Department Council and Squad Leader of the Vital Play, Play and Learn and Games and Play squads. He is currently in the steering committee and has been the program chair of ICEC. He has also been the student game competition chair for CHI Play, ICEC, and supervises more than 60 student games per year, some of which have won national or international prizes and recognition.

Researching game and play design, I try to put the fun in functional.”


Erik van der Spek holds an MSc in Game Technology (2007) and a PhD in Human-Computer Interaction (2011) from Utrecht University. Immediately after obtaining his doctorate, Van der Spek joined Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) as Assistant Professor. He also founded game design consultancy firm Game Descience in 2013.