Diagnosis: Kidnapped! Escape game

Diagnosis: Kidnapped! Escape game

Author: Ali Floyd – University of Dundee. United Kingdom


  • Nathan Glover – Agent November, United Kingdom
  • Irene Hallyburton – Drug Discovery Unit, United Kingdom
  • Erin Hardee – University of Dundee, United Kingdom

The Wellcome Centre for Anti-Infectives Research has a range of missions. As researchers, we make new medicines and technologies to fight deadly diseases of the developing world. As a Wellcome Centre, we want to create innovative experiences that bring our work to life, giving difficult and abstract concepts real world meaning.

We are fascinated by the potential of gamification in this transformation. It offers the potential to engage non-expert audiences with science topics, using elements such as competition, teamwork, continual assessment and narrative framing. It is a hot topic within the science communication community, one we wished to explore for ourselves.

Inspired by the popular escape room format, we have developed a PE activity which consists of a series of puzzles and challenges. With a compelling storyline, it opens up aspects of the drug discovery process. Looking at parasites, chemistry and pharmacology, it explores how they all come together to create new medicines.

We propose to run this escape game for conference delegates in order to share our practice and get feedback from other science communicators. The game itself runs for around 45-55 minutes, depending on how quickly participants progress through the puzzles. We would then spend the rest of the time in conversation. This would include us telling the story of the project’s development with our scientists and collaborators.

We are also keen to share our evaluation. As part of the University of Dundee’s School of Life Sciences, we have a framework which allows us to align participants’ feedback with our strategy. We ran a successful session at Engage in 2018 on this, and we would love to share how it is working on a specific project.

The author has not yet submitted a copy of the full paper.

Presentation type: Demonstration
Theme: Transformation