The Hi Score Science project, winner of the CSIC’s 1st Science Popularisation and Citizen Science Awards
In recent years, outreach activities have been actively integrated into scientific practice, and institutions such as the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC) have included the social communication of science among their fundamental objectives. In this spirit and with this aim in mind, the first edition of the CSIC Awards for the Popularisation of Science and Citizen Science was organised by the CSIC’s Deputy Vice-Presidency for Scientific Culture. This is a strategic action of the Council to encourage the implementation and dissemination of projects that make scientific and technological advances in the various branches of knowledge available to a curious and non-specialist public.
The jury, made up of people involved in popularisation, science communication, research and teaching who work both inside and outside the Council, awarded a first prize and a runner-up in each of the categories: Popularisation Projects, Citizen Science Projects and Single Work. He also highlighted the high quality of the 233 works submitted by CSIC staff, which “made the final decision extremely difficult”.
The science dissemination project Hi Score Science received a runner-up prize of 1,500 euros in the category of best dissemination project, which aims to reward initiatives aimed at bringing scientific knowledge to a non-specialist audience through any format or channel. The jury valued “the multidisciplinary nature, the desire for international projection and the attractive language and format for young audiences” of the proposal.
The following projects also received awards: ‘Oceánicas: la mujer y la oceanografía’, from the Spanish Institute of Oceanography (IEO-CSIC), in the category of dissemination projects, in the Citizen Science Projects category, the initiative ‘Adopta una planta’, from the Pyrenean Institute of Ecology (IPE-CSIC), runner-up: the ‘Microplastic Watchers. Observers of the Sea’, from the Institute of Marine Sciences (ICM-CSIC) and the Blanes Centre for Advanced Studies (CEAB-CSIC). In the Single Work category, the first prize, the Scientific School Calendar, from the Institute of Mountain Livestock (IGM-CSIC), the runner-up, ‘Evolution. 250 years of the National Museum of Natural Sciences’ (MNCN-CSIC).
The awards ceremony will be held on 16 June at the CSIC headquarters in Madrid.
About Hi Score Science
The Hi Score Science outreach project is aimed at the creation and development of a video game, in Spanish and English, for mobile devices (iOS and Android), PC, Mac and Linux, and arcade machines, called “Hi Score Science”. The project stems from the need to adapt our outreach activities to the world of the youngest, belonging to the digital generation, which is currently focused on video games and new technologies.
Hi Score Science is projected not only as a game of questions and answers about science, but also wants to go further and increase scientific culture and the interest of users in science, explaining what is behind new scientific advances. The project is developed by two research institutes, the Instituto de Síntesis Química y Catálisis Homogénea (ISQCH) and the Instituto de Nanociencia y Materiales de Aragón (INMA), both joint centres of the CSIC and the University of Zaragoza, which allows for the inclusion of informative explanations of the scientific reality behind each of the answers. In addition, Hi Score Science encourages users to participate in the project by contributing scientific content to the game and rewarding them with a pass and a trip to the National Final held at the CSIC headquarters in Madrid, a visit to one of the CSIC museums and technological gifts for the individual prizes.
Thanks to its innovative format in game mode, Hi Score Science has already become a tool in demand by education and teaching teachers who request it as another tool in their classrooms that allows them to get closer to the world of teenagers in order to increase their scientific culture and vocation.
The project has been expanding in successive years, going from a regional to a national level, approaching rural areas, establishing provincial finals in towns in Huesca and Teruel and even going to a public with greater difficulties such as the Hospital Classrooms and the adult public, normally far from popularisation activities. The game has an on-line mode that allows you to compete with users from anywhere in the world, which has allowed us to develop an absolute national on-line league in which users of all ages and educational levels compete every month.
The free, ad-free game, Hi Score Science, is available on the Play Store and Apple Store and on PC, Mac and Linux (www.HiScoreScience.org). All information about the project and how to enter the different categories is available at www.HiScoreScience.org.
In addition to the current award, the project has been awarded first prize in the XVIII Edition of the Science in Action programme in the “Science Teaching Materials in Interactive Support” category (IBM Award), has received the D+i TOP seal, a national recognition that rewards the best inclusive science dissemination projects, and has been nominated twice for the Third Millennium Awards.
A scientific team behind Hi Score Science
The Hi Score Science project has been developed between two research centres, the Instituto de Síntesis Química y Catálisis Homogénea (ISQCH) and the Instituto de Nanociencia y Materiales de Aragón (INMA, both joint centres between the CSIC and the University of Zaragoza, with a team of more than 50 volunteers currently participating in the project.
The project has the collaboration of other UCC and science museums, such as the Deputy Vice-Presidency of Scientific Culture of the CSIC (VACC), the National Museum of Natural Sciences of Madrid, the Geological and Geominero Institute of Spain, the Elder Museum of Science and Technology, Eureka Museum, Casa de la Ciencia of Seville, the Museum of Natural Sciences of the University of Zaragoza and the Planetarium of Aragón, the CASIO Científicas project, the Ciutat de les Arts i les Ciències, the University of Cantabria and the University of Alcalá.