Piloting drones for research at the Science Quest

From February 23rd to 25th 2018, IBBL (Integrated BioBank of Luxembourg) took to drones to illustrate the principles of biobanking to high school pupils and the general public as part of the Science Quest, a large-scale outreach event organised by LIH (Luxembourg Institute of Health).

The LIH Science Quest was the first of its kind large-scale outreach event in Luxembourg, aiming to give school pupils and the general public a glimpse of the biomedical research activities taking place in the Grand Duchy. Ultimately, the idea behind the Science Quest was to raise awareness among the younger audience about a career in science and inspire the next generation of researchers.

The event saw the participation of over 50 teams who, over the course of a two-hour adventure, had to face various intellectual and physical challenges and solve intricate enigmas spread across several semi-dark rooms. Each room and associated activity sought to illustrate a different scientific concept related to cancer research.

To illustrate the activities of a biobank in a compelling way, IBBL took to drones, hurdles…and carbonated ice! Over a 10-minute timeframe, the teams passing by the dedicated room were tasked with the collection of samples and their safe delivery and storage in the carbonated ice tank of the biobank. Participants therefore had to pilot their drones across an arduous obstacle course in order to successfully win samples, which then had to be labeled and stored accordingly before the timer ran out.

“The public, and especially young students, often have little idea of what a biobank is and what it does. Its complexity cannot obviously be explained in 10 minutes, but we thought that our activity gave a pretty good feeling of the sample collection and storage processes!”, comments Arnaud D’Agostini, Head of Marketing and Communication at IBBL. “The Communication team of the LIH did a fantastic job organising the event, from its initial conception to the logistics, and we were more than happy to help out. We hope to have this pleasure again next year”.

The Science Quest was partially funded by the “Promoting Science to the Public” (PSP) grant of the Luxembourg National Research Fund (FNR). On its opening day, the event was inaugurated by Marc Hansen, Delegate Minister for Higher Education and Research, and Lydia Mutsch, Minister of Health.

Watch the official movie of the event here below.