The University of Twente (UT) has a new student team: Esports Team Twente. It is the seventh official UT student team. Although the team will focus on excelling at the major esports tournaments and competitions, research and education on the subject of esports (and improving performance) will be no less important. In recent years, the University of Twente has made significant advances in data research within top-level sport. This was recently widened to include esports, making a student team the logical next step.
“Esports are booming worldwide, especially among students”, explains Civil Engineering and Management student Thijs Lieverse, one of the team’s founders. “In Blueshell, UT has had the Netherlands’ largest esports student association (250 members), and the idea of an official student team is widely supported. We want to show the world what Twente has to offer when it comes to esports. For a lot of us, that’s about much more than just winning tournaments and competitions.”
The team members will look closely at the different factors that influence performance in esports and immediately apply what they learn to improve results. Lieverse: “The research will cover such areas as psychology and stress, optimum sitting posture and data analysis. We will challenge new team members to put promising new ideas for improving team performance into practice immediately, ensuring that different disciplines are combined within our team.”
At the end of last year, the University of Twente opened the eSports Lab in the DesignLab on campus. In it, work is being done to improve e-athletes’ response times, insight, stress levels and spatial awareness. The perspective of coaches and spectators is also being taken into account. In this, UT is a pioneer in combining esports and science and, with the eDivisie, has also launched a unique innovation programme. E-athletes from Feyenoord and Heracles Almelo, who are competing against the other Eredivisie (Dutch premier division) clubs in the EA Sports FIFA 20 eDivisie competition, are taking part in the first pilot.
UT researcher Guido Bruinsma, who initiated the lab, is providing support to the new Esports Team Twente. “The collaboration between Esports Team Twente and the UT eSportslab is giving a great boost both to the team and the lab. Thanks to the team, scientific insights and methods can quickly be applied in practice. The link with the team will also make it easier for practical questions to be addressed, and these questions will soon be finding their way straight into research and teaching.”
In recent years, the University of Twente has made significant advances in data research within top-level sport. Esport is a recent addition to that. Sports data in Twente really began to take off thanks to Prof. Joost Kok, dean at UT and an experienced data science researcher. Founder of the Sport Data Centre (SDC), Kok worked with the Dutch women’s football team and skating coach Jac Orie to collect and process data.
At the University of Twente, various different disciplines are involved in esports. Bruinsma: “We try to look across all the different UT faculties and to align the expertise we have at our disposal for the benefit of eSports. The team will help in this process. This may include coming up with an effective design to collect and analyse data, taking measurements from e-athletes directly, or creating products for e-athletes with the ultimate goal of furthering professional esports as an area of scientific research.”
UT offers specialisations in data science within several Master’s degree programmes, each with their own unique focus. Read more about education and data science here.
In the upcoming period, Esports Team Twente will be focusing on recruiting new members. On 26 February, the new team will appear in public for the first time. At the UT ‘Meet the student teams’ event in the O&O square, the team will be talking to interested parties.
More info: www.esportsteamtwente.nl