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Personal profile


As a Professor of Games Science, his research interests include the application and impact of game science (applied games, serious games, gamification, game-based learning, game design thinking, playful learning) in teaching and learning, and other domains. To date Sylvester has over 90 academic publications, including one edited book- Serious Games for Healthcare. He has also keynoted at events related to serious games, gamification and technology-enhanced learning. He is a founding member of the Serious Games Society (seriousgamessociety.org/). Sylvester has also co-founded the GameChangers initative (http://gamify.org.uk) on game design thinking and playful learning that has produced open game-based learning resources and methodologies, which has been adapted and adopted by others in other countries, including France and Malaysia.

To date, Sylvester has successfully won projects with a total value of £19 million since 2010 including FP7, H2020, Erasmus+, NEWTON and HEFCE. He has coordinated and led the Beaconing project  (beaconing.eu) funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation programme under grant agreement No 687676 (€5.9 million, 15 partners, 3 years), HEFCE funded Mobile GameChangers and NEWTON (AHRC + MoHE) CreativeCulture project. Other projects include EU H2020 Crowd4Roads project, H2020 Bond project, the Erasmus+ Playing4Real project and Eramus+ Cultural Risks project. He was also named as a co-investigator on the EU Funded PEGASO and MAGELLAN projects.

He has previously coordinated the R&D work package of the EU FP7 Games and Learning Alliance (GALA) as a Scientific Coordinator- a network of 31 partners across Europe. He has also project managed various development projects, such as the development of the £70K 'PR:EPARe' game, which won the Outstanding Contribution to Health Psychology award in 2013 and 'Imparapp' - pervasive gaming for language learning. Other awards include the Research Collaboration Fellowship to Boston in 2015, Prime Minister’s Initiative Partnership Development Grant for UK/ASIA in 2010 and the EU Transversal Programme Study Visit fund in 2011.

Sylvester was previously a Reader and Senior Research Fellow at the DMLL, Senior Researcher at the Serious Games Institute, UK, a Research Fellow at University of Warwick’s WMG and a lecturer at Universiti Malaysia Sarawak. He graduated with a PhD in Engineering in 2009 at University of Warwick.  

Research Interests

Games Science (gameful/playful design, serious games, game-based learning, gamification, game design thinking); Hybrid learning spaces; Technology-enhanced learning; Pervasive learning and technologies; Trans-disciplinary game-based intervention development; Multi-modal platforms (tactile, wearable, mobile, mixed-reality)

Vision Statement

A champion of gameful, playful and persuasive designs that transform ordinary tasks into extraordinary experiences. My research interests are inspired by the potential of game techniques and technologies in sustaining engagement with serious activities, and to inform the design of experiences. My research focus is influenced by a a hybrid approach for holistically define, design and implement game-based interventions, including the blending of physical and digital spaces, and formal and informal contexts. I have developed a trans-disciplinary and holistic model for game-based design and development that can be adopted by researchers, designers and developers. My research findings will feed into a book on Game Science that I am writing and will be published by 2020.

Education/Academic qualification

Doctorate, University of Warwick

May 2005May 2009

MSc, University of Leeds

Sep 2000Sep 2001

Degree, University of Manchester

Sep 1996Sep 1998

External positions

PhD External Examiner, Hanken School of Economics

Oct 2018

PhD External Examiner, University of Tasmania

Jul 2018

PhD External Examiner, Universitat Oberta de Catalunya


PhD External Examiner, University of Toronto


PhD External Examiner, University of Aveiro

20 Dec 2017

PhD External Examiner, University of the West of Scotland

May 2017

EdD External Examiner, University of Huddersfield


PhD External Examiner, University of Bath

Nov 2016

External Reviewer (PARM Panel), Manchester Metropolitan University

Feb 2016

PhD External Examiner, Universidade de Lisboa

Jun 2014


  • L Education (General)
  • experiential learning
  • game-based learning
  • playful learning
  • STEM
  • Q Science (General)
  • computer science
  • games science
  • TA Engineering (General). Civil engineering (General)
  • Software Engineering

Fingerprint Fingerprint is based on mining the text of the person's scientific documents to create an index of weighted terms, which defines the key subjects of each individual researcher.

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Network Recent external collaboration on country level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots.

Projects 2016 2021

Research Output 2002 2019

Dungeons and dragons as a tool for developing student self-reflection skills

Clarke, S., Arnab, S., Morini, L. & Heywood, L., 1 Jan 2019, Games and Learning Alliance - 7th International Conference, GALA 2018, Proceedings. Söbke, H., Gentile, M. & Allegra, M. (eds.). Springer-Verlag London Ltd, p. 101-109 9 p. (Lecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics); vol. 11385 LNCS).

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference proceeding

Open Access
learning method

Blending context-aware challenges into learning environments

Andreea Stefan, I., Ștefan, A., Gheorghe, A. F., Yanez, P., Loizou, M., Arnab, S. & Beaufoy, J., 4 Oct 2018, 12th European Conference on Games Based Learning: ECGBL 2018. Ciussi, M. (ed.). Academic Conferences and Publishing International Limited, p. 634-642 9 p.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference proceeding

Open Access
learning environment

Bothersome Beasties (and how to deal with them!)

Clarke, S., Arnab, S. & Heywood, L., 1 Nov 2018, The 4th e-Learning Excellence Awards: An Anthology of Case Histories 2018. Remenyi, D. (ed.). acpi, p. 51-65 15 p.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

university teacher

Breaking barriers to game-based learning for active ageing and healthy lifestyles

Costa, L., Veloso, A., Loizou, M. & Arnab, S., 2018.

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper

Activities 2004 2018

  • 29 Participation in conference
  • 7 Invited talk
  • 6 Editorial activity
  • 1 Participation in workshop, seminar, course

Play and Games towards Collective Actions

Sylvester Arnab (Invited speaker)
30 Nov 2018

Activity: Talk or presentationInvited talk

The Magic Circle of Playful and Gameful Co-Creation

Sylvester Arnab (Keynote speaker)
4 Oct 2018

Activity: Talk or presentationInvited talk

Play, Technology and Learning: Transform Ordinary Tasks into Extraordinary Experiences

Sylvester Arnab (Keynote speaker)
3 May 2018

Activity: Talk or presentationInvited talk

Co-creative journey through playful and Gameful Design

Sylvester Arnab (Invited speaker)
15 Nov 2018

Activity: Talk or presentationInvited talk

Innovative Teaching and Learning through Research and Creative Practices

Sylvester Arnab (Keynote speaker)
26 May 2018

Activity: Talk or presentationInvited talk


Outstanding Gamification Research

Samantha Clarke (Recipient), Sylvester Arnab (Recipient) & Oliver Wood (Recipient), 26 Nov 2018

Prize: Prize (including medals and awards)

honors and awards

Press / Media

Gamification Radio Talk Show

Sylvester Arnab


1 media contribution

Press/Media: Expert Comment

Games and play put fun into education

Sylvester Arnab


1 item of media coverage

Press/Media: Public Engagement Activities

UNIMAS' CreativeCulture Project received research grant

Sylvester Arnab


1 item of media coverage

Press/Media: Research