Using Science and Sense to thrive in the Digital Now

I’m a researcher, teacher, facilitator, and author working across sectors to help build new hybrid environments that promote human flourishing at work and in learning organizations. I apply developmental science principles and practices to all my transdisciplinary collaborations. I work with a range of organizations, pulling together expertise across disciplines to create technologies and social infrastructures that elevate human potential, promote psychological and social health, and prevent burnout, anxiety, and depression.

After more than 25 years conducting research on the best digital and face-to-face approaches for promoting emotional and mental health in young people, I recently (Sept. 2021) left my tenured, full professor position in academia to broaden and amp up the real-world impact of our work.

Current Work


I spend about half of my time as a scientist and researcher at McMaster University (in Canada) and I’m the Director for the Games for Emotional and Mental Health (GEMH) Lab (in the Netherlands). The lab aims to build and empirically test digital games and apps that are based on solid behavioural science and combines data-driven design with stunning art that insures we retain, delight, and inspire users.


The other half of my efforts are dedicated to transformative collaborations with social entrepreneurs and leaders in education. I run workshops, courses, and culture-change curricula that provide hybrid solutions to some of the biggest challenges we face in the digital age. We come together to build strategies that combine digital and face-to-face energy so that organizations can go beyond productivity and achievement statistics to focus on psychological thriving, mental health, and social connection.

My portfolio of projects and partnerships are diverse, but they are all underpinned by an “effective optimism” approach. That is, I am fiercely optimistic about the future of work, learning, and community-building, but this optimism is grounded in science and participatory research.

Useful Links

For a list of my publications and media contacts, please see: https://gemhlab.com/researcher/isabelagranic

For my research lab’s publications, research projects, evidence-based games, and videos that explain our mission in its various manifestations, see: www.gemhlab.com

For my Google Scholar profile, see: https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=4T5cjVIAAAAJ&hl=en

I’m also Chief Science Officer of The PlayNice Institute, an organization that seeks to build and distribute evidence-based games that promote emotional health and well-being for children and youth; for more information, see: https://www.theplayniceinstitute.com/

Recent Blogs

My talk at RE:Publica

My talk at RE:Publica

Here's a 30-min run-through of some of our research that is most exciting me these days. You can't hear the audience, but they were super into the material, ooh and ahhing at the videos, and generously chuckling at my slip-ups. An overall fabulous conference with the...

MindLight has been nominated for Most Significant Impact!

MindLight has been nominated for Most Significant Impact!

I'm honoured and thrilled that Games for Change has nominated MindLight as one of the three games up for the Most Significant Impact award. Check out the rest of the nominees here: http://www.gamesforchange.org/festival/gameplay/

CBC News: New studies on MindLight

CBC News: New studies on MindLight

New studies are starting up at Queen's University with Tom Hollenstein! CBC did a great little piece summarizing what we're doing. So excited to be working with my colleague and friend on this new generation of studies. Check it out:...