Explore research, solve clues and win prizes with the Research Matters Virtual Scavenger Hunt

Friday, Jan. 31, 2014 – Thunder Bay and Orillia, ON

Lakehead University is one of 21 Ontario universities launching a Virtual Scavenger Hunt that will take the public on an intriguing online journey through the world of research, the Council of Ontario Universities (COU) announced this week.

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

“Ontario's universities constantly produce useful and fascinating research that we generally only hear about when a major breakthrough is made,” says Erica Sawula, Lakehead University’s Research Matters Student Ambassador.

“By participating in the Virtual Scavenger Hunt, you can have fun while learning about how Ontario university research is changing lives every day,” Sawula says.

The contest ends on Tuesday, March 4, with the grand prize winners announced that evening at What Matters Now Thunder Bay, one of COU’s Research Matters discussion series taking place at Fort William Historical Park in Thunder Bay.  The event is part of Lakehead University’s Research and Innovation Week that runs from Saturday, March 1 until Friday, March 7.

Students from each of the participating universities will deliver daily video clues via email to registered contestants whose answers can be hunted down online. Clues will also be available on the Research Matters website.

“We hope the public will play and enjoy the Virtual Scavenger Hunt,” says Max Blouw, COU Chair and President of Wilfrid Laurier University. “It’s a fun puzzle that will open the window to some truly fascinating research going on at Ontario universities – research that is transforming lives for the better.”

The puzzle – part of COU’s Research Matters campaign to raise awareness about Ontario university research – was designed by University of Toronto student and enigmatologist Stacy Costa.

"We made the puzzle challenging enough to keep it interesting, but players don't need any specialized knowledge to solve the clues," says Costa. "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 will be giving 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.

“The public will be amazed when they discover some of the research that our universities are conducting,” says Bonnie M. Patterson, COU President and CEO. “The Virtual Scavenger Hunt will put a spotlight on 21 fascinating research projects, but that is just the tip of the iceberg. We hope that as a result of this contest, Ontarians will take new pride in the research going on in their own province.”

Click here to register, view the Virtual Scavenger Hunt video trailer, and read more about the Scavenger Hunt.

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Quick facts:

  • Nine Ontario universities are among the top 25 Canadian research universities, and 18 are among the top 50, according to Research InfoSource.
  • In 2010, Canadian universities were responsible for more than 1/3 (38 per cent) of Canada’s research and development activity, conducting more than $11 billion in research.
  • Lakehead University is named as Ontario’s Research University of the Year in the Undergraduate category in 2013 by Research Infosource.
  • Canadian universities conduct almost $1 billion in research annually with the business sector and almost $1 billion in research annually for the not-for-profit sector, addressing pressing health and social needs that affect communities.




Media: For more information, please contact Brandon Walker, Lakehead University Media Relations Officer, at (807) 343-8177, or mediarelations@lakeheadu.ca; or Wendy McCann, Director, Strategic Communications and Media Relations with the COU, 416-979-2165 ext. 233 or wmccann@cou.on.ca.


In 2015, Lakehead University will celebrate 50 years of exceptional education. Guided by a new Strategic Plan (2013-2018), our University is known for providing an education focused on independent thinking, unconventional scholarship, and a close sense of community. About 9,700 students and 2,000 faculty and staff learn and work in ten faculties at two campuses, in Orillia and Thunder Bay, Ontario. Home to Ontario’s first new Faculty of Law in 44 years (Fall 2013) and the Northern Ontario School of Medicine's West Campus, Lakehead is among Canada’s Top 10 undergraduate universities (2014 Maclean’s University Rankings), as well as 1st in Ontario and 2nd in Canada for its innovative research (Re$earch Infosource). Our Orillia campus is the first in North America to be built entirely to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) standards. Share your Lakehead story as it relates to our Strategic Plan at www.lakeheadu.ca/presidents-office/nurturing-passion, and learn more about Lakehead at www.lakeheadu.ca.

The Council of Ontario Universities is a membership organization of 21 publicly assisted universities in Ontario. It works closely with the provincial and federal governments to shape public policies that help universities deliver high-quality programs for students and advance the research and innovation that improves the social, cultural and economic well-being of Ontarians.