Videogames for PhD soft skills training

Do you like playing commercial video games better than lengthy zoom meetings or exhausting training sessions? Well, if you do, this project offers you a chance to play those games and at the same time earn ECTS and improve your soft skills to be better prepared for future jobs.

Did you know that 80% of the PhD graduates end up working in a non-academic context? And that even though they are highly qualified and trained in conducting research, these doctoral graduates find themselves unprepared for work beyond academia? One of the major deficits which causes this unpreparedness is a lack in soft skills training.  

However, recent studies have shown that soft skills can be trained in a rather easy and fun way: by playing video games. Playing commercial video games are training millions of children and you people in soft skills every day, probably without them being aware of it. And we want to bring this to the university. That is why this pioneering research project was started, the VERSA project. In this two year research project the researchers want to implement a video game training methodology within the PhD graduate schools of three universities.

The benefits of this training methodology are three-fold. Most importantly, it is a fun way to engage in training your soft skills and earning those ECTS. Secondly, this can all be done at your own home, something which is unfortunately necessary due to the house confinement caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Finally, participating in this research and program is very easy and requires minimal time and no costs.

Students have to:

  • play at least 3 games related to 3 soft skills or modules
  • do a standardized survey prior to playing the game and a survey prior to their application for game playing
  • complete university training for skills or modules chosen to play 
  • fill in some questionnaires during and after doing the module

The amount of time is distributed in the following way:

  • min. 12h playing per game for relevant skill or module (no max. hours)
  • 3h for prep
  • 5h for university training per game-skill

Max. 3 ECTS via this program but students can do more modules   

The first training module starts at 1 April, so if you want to join this project, you have to:

  • Register, this can be done by filling in this survey, after which you will receive another email from the organizers.
  • Join the Kickoff on 23 March, from 09:30 - 13:30 in which the organizers will explain everything you need to know, answer all your questions and have fun checking out the games and meeting each other.

You will receive a certificate proving that you have completed the program and earned the ECTS.  

Feel free to send an email to Michiel Bouman (, Project Coordinator VERSA: Video Games for PhD Soft Skills Training) if you have any questions.