Sylvester Arnab


    Accepting PhD Students

    PhD projects

    1. Co-creative game design practices
    2. Empathic and playful learning design
    3. The mapping of pedagogical and motivational aspects with game design
    4. Applied research in game-based learning and gamification for learning
    5. Game literacy and gaming culture
    6. XR (VR, AR, MR)

    Willing to speak to media

    Calculated based on number of publications stored in Pure and citations from Scopus

    Research activity per year

    Personal profile


    Dr. Sylvester Arnab is a Full Professor in Game Science (Applied Games) at the Centre for Postdigital Cultures at the Institute for Creative Cultures. His research focuses on the investigation into how engaging, empathic, and empowering experiences are designed and applied based on strategies and elements commonly used by playful and game-based approaches (analogue and/or digital) and how their operations are underpinned by pedagogical and motivational theories and practices

    Sylvester is the co-founder of the multi-award winning GameChangers initiative that emphasises an open practice in playful and game-based learning. Gamechangers has informed empathic teaching and learning and community engagement in various countries, including Indonesia, Malaysia, and Vietnam, towards responding to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

    To date, Sylvester has successfully secured research funding with a total value of over £19 million since 2010 (£9.9 million as a principal investigator). Funders include the UKRI (AHRC and ESRC), European Commission (FP7, H2020, and Erasmus+), British Council, British Academy, and HEFCE.

    Sylvester has over 100 academic publications including a book - ‘Game Science in Hybrid Learning Spaces’ - which provides insights into the research and practice of purposeful game design with a focus on hybrid education. He is regularly invited to give public and keynote lectures in various international events. Sylvester is currently supervising six PhDs with four completions and has examined over 10 PhD theses.

    Sylvester was previously a researcher at the Serious Games Institute, Applied Innovation Lead at the Disruptive Media Learning Lab, and a researcher at University of Warwick’s WMG. He graduated with a PhD in Engineering in 2009 at the University of Warwick. 

    Twitter: @sarnab75 



    Research Interests

    Game 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.  I am specifically interested in hybrid approaches for holistically defining, designing, and implementing game-based interventions that include 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, development, and practice findings have informed the discussions in my book on the topic of Game Science, focusing on the design, application, and implication of playful and game-based technigues and pedagogy on Hybrid Learning Spaces that was published in 2020. 

    Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

    In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

    • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
    • SDG 4 - Quality Education
    • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities

    Education/Academic qualification

    Doctorate, Soft Volume Simulation using a Deformable Surface Model, University of Warwick

    May 2005May 2009

    Award Date: 22 Jun 2009

    MSc, Python for Speech/Image Processing and Computer Vision, University of Leeds

    Sept 2000Sept 2001

    Award Date: 1 Nov 2001

    Degree, Texture and Pattern Recognition, University of Manchester

    Sept 1996Sept 1998

    Award Date: 1 Jun 1998

    External positions

    PhD External Examiner, University of the Arts London

    26 Jul 2022 → …

    PhD External Examiner, University of Essex

    Jun 2022 → …

    PhD External Examiner, Sheffield Hallam University

    May 2022 → …

    PhD External Examiner, Royal College of Art

    24 Mar 2021

    Academic Expert for Institutional-Led Review of the Creative Technologies Programme, University of the West of Scotland

    22 Mar 2021

    PhD External Examiner, Goldsmiths, University of London

    16 Dec 2020

    PhD External Examiner, Open University of the Netherlands

    2020 → …

    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
    • STEAM
    • Q Science (General)
    • computer science
    • games science
    • gamification
    • TA Engineering (General). Civil engineering (General)
    • Software Engineering


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