28 June 2024

The NCCR Microbiomes receives the SNSF Lighthouse Award for scientific communication and outreach

The NCCR Microbiomes has received the Swiss National Science Foundation Lighthouse Award for scientific communication and outreach for our video game ‘Microbiomes’ and its accompanying learning modules.  

In order to explain microbiology and microbiome concepts in a playful manner, the NCCR Microbiomes, in collaboration with Kobold Games GmbH, developed the video game ‘Microbiomes’. The game was published in 2022 and went on to become a finalist of the Swiss Game Awards that same year. Through 36 different levels and using seven different microbial characters, the players solve puzzle-like questions that illustrate how different microbes reproduce, interact with each other and respond to their environment. The video game can be downloaded, free of charge, to computers, tablets or mobile devices using any operating system, through this link: https://koboldgames.ch/qr/app?id=microbiomes

We then embarked on a new collaboration, this time with middle-school teacher Roxane Moritz, to create a learning package that teachers can use, in combination with the video game, to teach basic biology and microbiology concepts. The teaching modules cover several of the learning objectives defined by the educational authorities in Switzerland. In the learning modules, the video game characters guide pupils through basic biology and microbiology concepts: teachers can use the modules in their class to introduce these concepts, which are then reinforced by carrying out the exercises presented in the modules and by playing the game. After completing two rounds of testing in the classroom, the modules will soon be available for download for all interested teachers.  

The first edition of the Lighthouse Awards also rewarded projects led by other NCCRs in the areas of Open Science, Technology Transfer and Education. We want to express our gratitude to the SNSF for granting us this award, as well as to the Fondation Herbette and Fondation Leenaards for their generous support of the development of our video game.