UK Biomedical charity the Wellcome Trust has today launched a new initiative conceived to connect scientific researchers and games developers.
The concept, called Gamify Your PHD, pairs groups of developers and scientists to create new games exploring and explaining the latest developments in biomedicine.
It sets out to combine PHD work on biomedical science or the medical humanities with game design via two day 'hacks' not dissimilar to those commonly seen in indie games development competitions. The most successful collaborations will receive funding from the Wellcome Trust to support a full release.
"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 Wellcome 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."
"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," added Tomas Rawlings, the Wellcome Trust's gaming consultant. "Gamify your PhD is an exciting twist and evolution of these areas."
To demonstrate the concept UK indie Mobile Pie has made a Wellcome Trust-commissioned web app titled Gamify Your PHD (pictured) that both explores core game mechanics and recreates iconic moments from the history of science.
Gamify your PhD has been launched as part of a wider effort by the Wellcome Trust to use games to engage the public with science. Other elements of the Wellcome Trust's work with the games sector include range of awards schemes open to studios interested in creating innovative, entertaining and accessible games based on biomedicine and medical history.
More information can be found on the Wellcome Trust's Gamify Your PHD website.