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Data in Biological Research

Led by: University of Edinburgh 

Funding awarded: £2,880 

Two teenage boys sit, facing away from the camera and looking at a laptop running the game Minecraft

The team behind the Data in Biological Research project used the computer game Minecraft to encourage young people to explore pandemic preparedness and how large-scale data can be used to inform policy.

During workshops, participants were introduced to the world of viruses with crocheted virus models before using Minecraft to examine different disease spread scenarios. Afterwards, participants took on the role of a public health body exploring the challenges and ethical considerations in decision making. Scientists from the School of Biological Sciences also attended the workshops to discuss their work. A drop-in version of the workshop was also created for festivals and other family events.

The project team reached over 1,000 people of different ages, with children and families taking part at events across Scotland, including the Fife STEM Futures Festival in June 2023 and the Belladrum Tartan Heart Festival in July 2023. Through collaboration with Science Skills Academy, the researchers were able to engage with people in remote Highland areas who they would not normally.

The team will continue to run the workshop at festivals and in schools around Edinburgh and Fife, as well as reaching more people in the Highlands through an ongoing relationship with Science Skills Academy. This pilot project will also inform future community partnerships in remote areas and engagement about health data with schools, teachers and communities.

Watch the project summary

Find out more about the project in this video, recorded as part of the RDS Public Engagement Fund showcase in February 2024.


Back to the 2022-23 Public Engagement Fund recipients

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