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Research Projects

Development of a gamified application for public understanding of complex scientific concepts and biological data


Juho Hamari
TAU, 1st Supervisor

Sergi Beltran
CNAG-CRG, 2nd Supervisor


Identify effective gamified methodologies through the design, implementation, and empirical research of the effects of an application, with motivational affordances and/or VR technologies in the context of public engagement and understanding of biological data, genomics, bioinformation statistics, and modeling.


Tentatively, the research is composed out of 1) state-of-the-art investigation, based on which the 2) gamified application would be created for research and practice. The created prototype is then 3) empirically investigated (laboratory and/or field experiments) in terms of its pedagogical dimensions, engagement, gameful experience, and learning outcomes related to the ITN themes. Each phase of the research plan is expected to conclude with the write-up and publishing of research paper(s) in relevant academic journals and/or conferences.

Required Skills

Useful dimensions of candidate’s background

  • Bioinformatics
  • Educational sciences (especially public understanding of science)
  • Applied psychology (as relevant to education and motivation)
  • Computer science / Human-computer interaction

Skills and methods

  • Experience with scientific programming environment (e.g. Unity, C#, javascript, python, R)
  • Technical skills related to data analytics (examples: data visualization, SciVis, InfoVis and flexibly manipulating large datasets)
  • Aptitude for quantitative empirical research (field/lab experiment, surveys and related applicable data analysis)
  • Aptitude for psychophysiological and psychometric measurement

Advantageous qualities

  • Impeccable academic article writing/preparation productivity
  • Enthusiasm to collaborate locally and in the European-wide ITN network
  • Drive for rigorous and impactful research
  • Drive for a career in research

Expected results

We expect i) engage a wide audience in the topic of genomics, bioinformatics statistics, and modeling, ii) disseminate biomedical data and state of the art of science about bioinformatics statistics and visualization, iii) evaluate the impact of different gamification strategies on a wide audience in the context of bioinformatics statistics., and iv) provide guidelines about the design of a motivational framework for genomics, bioinformatics statistics education and public understanding.

Planned secondment(s)

Host: CRG (S. Beltran), Duration: 1 Month; When: Year 1; Goal: Medical omics data management and analysis.

Host: DDS (P. Garcia), Duration: 1 Month; When: Year 3; Goal: Get expertise in data visualisation technologies and User Interface Design.

Enrolment in Doctoral degree(s)

Ph.D. in Information Technology and Communication Sciences from Tampere University.


1. Legaki, N.-Z., Xi, N., Hamari, J., Karpouzis, K., & Assimakopoulos, V. (2020). The effect of challenge-based gamification on learning: An experiment in the context of statistics education. International Journal of Human-Computer Studies, 144, 102496.

2. Morschheuser, B., Hamari, J., & Maedche, A. (2019). Cooperation or competition – When do people contribute more? A field experiment on gamification of crowdsourcing. International Journal of Human-Computer Studies, 127, 7–24.

3. Hamari, J., Shernoff, D. J., Rowe, E., Coller, B., Asbell-Clarke, J., & Edwards, T. (2016). Challenging games help students learn: An empirical study on engagement, flow and immersion in game-based learning. Computers in Human Behavior, 54, 170–179.