Assistant Professor

Erik van der Spek

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

Group / Unit
Systemic Change
Department / Section
Industrial Design
Floor / room

Research Profile

Erik van der Spek is Assistant Professor of Game and Play Design. He is the chair of the Industrial Design (ID) Department Council and secretary of the International Federation for Information Processing (IFIP) Technical Committee on Entertainment Computing (TC14). He also leads the ID Play Lab. 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. In addition to his TC14 work, Van der Spek has been the student game competition chair for CHI Play and supervises more than 60 student games per year, some of which have won national or international prizes and recognition.

Academic Background

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.