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

Ontario universities are launching a Virtual Scavenger Hunt that will take the public on an intriguing online journey through the world of research at the province’s 21 publicly assisted universities, the Council of Ontario Universities (COU) announced today.

The month-long contest, which begins February 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.

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.

Please share on your social media channels:

  • Follow Research Matters on Twitter @ontarioresearch and use the hashtag #Scavenger2014.
  • Follow Research Matters on Facebook.

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.
  • 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.


COU 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.

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For further information, please contact:

Wendy McCann
Director, Strategic Communications and Media Relations
Telephone: 416-979-2165 x233
Cell phone: 647-271-0825
Email Wendy McCann