scavenger hunt post cardA new contest will offer participants a shot at great prizes and an opportunity to learn more about research.

Virtual scavenger hunt contest shines light on research

A new contest will be a great way for people who love puzzles – especially students – to win cash prizes and learn more about the fascinating world of research.

“I think it will get people thinking about research, just how far it goes, and what other opportunities are available for students after they finish their undergrad,” PhD student Kelly Carr said of the virtual scavenger hunt about to be launched by the Research Matters campaign.

The month-long contest, which begins February 3, is open to students and the public. Contestants can solve new clues every day to enter for prizes. Intrepid scavengers who get all 21 clues correct can unlock a secret message they can submit to be entered for grand prizes.

Research Matters will give away prizes to clue solvers every day, as well as 21 grand prizes of a Research Matters gift bag with clothes, puzzle books and more. In addition, university students will be eligible for five cash prizes of $500 each.

Here’s how it works:

  • Participants go to the Research Matters contest website to register
  • Every day, a clue from one of Ontario’s 21 universities will be released on the web site and promoted through its social media channels
  • Participants can solve the clue by visiting that university’s web site for the answer
  • Clues will be filled in on a grid and at the end of the 21 days will reveal a message
  • Correct entries will have a chance at winning great prizes

“We made the puzzle challenging enough to keep it interesting, but players don't need any specialized knowledge to solve the clues,” said University of Toronto student and enigmatologist Stacy Costa, the puzzle’s designer. “I think anyone who plays even one or two of the daily clues will find themselves drawn into competing for the grand prizes.”

Research Matters is a public awareness campaign run by the Council of Ontario Universities aimed at helping people better understand the importance of university research. Each university has several student ambassadors who promote the campaign on their campus. Carr, a graduate student in kinesiology is one of those ambassadors, along with chemistry student Rami Gherib and psychology student Maria van Duirhoven. Student ambassadors went to Toronto last fall to record video clues for the contest, which will be broadcast on screens around campus to help promote it.

Michael Siu, the university’s vice-president, research said he hopes people enjoy the contest.

“It’s a fun puzzle that will open the window to some truly fascinating research going on here at the University of Windsor and at universities across Ontario  – research that is transforming lives for the better,” he said.

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