The Wellcome Trust Aims to Gamify Science

The Wellcome Trust has launched a browser-based game based on the PhD work of biomedical science and the medical humanities. Utilizing video games to teach concepts – both simple and complex – isn't a new development, but the Trust is looking to make the content more current and relevant. The call has gone out for researchers to share their work for a chance to have it created into a full length game. 

"The Trust is inviting researchers to share ideas for games based on their PhD work in biomedical science or the medical humanities, and small teams of games developers to turn these ideas into addictive, challenging and educational games.  Those selected will partner at a two day hack in which the games will be created. The best of these will receive funding to develop into a releasable game."

To check out some of the work that has already been created, head over to the Wellcome Trust's website and play retro minigames centered around the work of Newton, Asch, Mendel, and Darwin. Chances are, you will already be familiar with many of the theories currently translated in game-form. However, by applying this design to new scientific breakthroughs, the Trust stands to engage the general public and bring awareness and appreciation to researchers.

The Wellcome Trust will accept applications from developers and researchers and determine who will be participating in the project come September. The chosen games will be made into mini web-based versions like the ones currently available on their site. From there, the best titles will receive funding to be turned into a releasable game.

"The engaged researcher has lots to learn from gaming and game design can benefit hugely from the latest scientific advances," said Daniel Glaser, Head of Special Projects at the Trust. "That's why the Wellcome Trust is throwing its weight behind this innovative interaction. Today's brightest researchers understand that science does not take place in a vacuum and the best research can engage with the most popular culture. I'm very curious to find out what these teams will come up with."

Tomas Rawlings, a gaming consultant working with the Trust, said, "Science and games are a natural fit, both are about the participant seeking to understand the rules that govern the world they find themselves within and achieving this by experiments such as trial-and-error. Gamify your PhD is an exciting twist and evolution of these areas."

The browser based game has been developed by Mobile Pie and also includes a very fun Periodic Table of Games and a game-name generator. The application deadline for both researchers and developers is August 12 and the chosen concepts and developers will convene on September 3-4 to create the select titles. All games created will be available online.