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Collaboration between the University of Chile and BASE Millennium Institute is awarded the Public Science Fund from the Chilean Government 2022

The program, which is part of the Ministry of Science, Technology, Knowledge, and Innovation’s Science and Society Division, will fund the “Antarctic Metaverse: A virtual exploration trip to learn about southern biodiversity” project in the category of “Knowledge Dissemination Products.” The Faculty of Communication and Image of the University of Chile (FCEI) and the Biodiversity of Antarctic and Sub-Antarctic Ecosystems Millennium Institute (BASE) will work together on regional projects with the cities of Punta Arenas and Puerto Williams.

Knowing the biodiversity of the Antarctic continent and exploring terrestrial and oceanic ecosystems in a friendly and playful language are part of the objectives of the project “Antarctic Metaverse: A Virtual Exploration Trip to Discover Southern Biodiversity,” a project selected by the Science Fund Public from the Ministry of Science, Technology, Knowledge, and Innovation in its 2022 call.

During the call for applications, which took place in July and August, 331 projects were sent in, but only 220 were deemed good enough to move on to the next stage. Three outside experts from the Ministry of Science, Technology, Knowledge, and Innovation looked at all of these projects and made a list of the 47 best ones. “Antarctic Metaverse: An Exploration Trip to Learn About Southern Biodiversity” was one of the top three projects at the national level in the “Knowledge Dissemination Products” category.

For Dr. Elie Poulin, director of the BASE Millennium Institute, the results reflect the interest of the research center of excellence in bringing Antarctic work closer to people: “We are delighted with the award results, which also reflect an institutional articulation and collaboration with the Magallanes region,” he points out.

The project “Antarctic Metaverse: A virtual exploration trip to learn about southern biodiversity” was ranked among the top three projects nationally by a fund that received more than 300 applications. Photo: PAR Explora O’Higgins.

The visibility of the work carried out by Antarctic researchers will also be a pillar of the virtual project aimed at students, teachers, and families. “We believe that it is very relevant to show the participation of women in Antarctic science from its most diverse spectrum: in the natural sciences, social sciences, international Antarctic law, biology, oceanography, genetics, scientific diving, and more,” points out Dr. Julieta Orlando, Alternate Director of the BASE Millennium Institute.

The interdisciplinary team that will carry out the project is made up of five professionals with extensive experience in science communication and new platforms: Víctor Fajnzylber, as director of the project and an academic from the Film School of the Faculty of Communication and Image (FCEI ) from the University of Chile, Dr. Tamara Contador as a content manager, academic at the University of Magallanes, and researcher at the Millennium Institute BASE-INVASAL and CHIC, Walter Waymann as Creative Manager, and specialist in 3D design supervision and organic models with extensive experience in immersive proposals, Jaqueline Meriño as General Coordinator, Molecular Biotechnology Engineer, and specialist in research management, innovation and Linkage with the Environment, and Nadia Politis, a journalist specializing in Science and Digital Communication, as Director of Communications from the Millennium Institute BASE.

The “Antarctic Metaverse: a virtual exploration trip to learn about southern biodiversity” is a partnership between the University of Chile, its Faculty of Communication and Image (FECI) and the XR-Labs Laboratory (Nucleus of Virtual Reality, Video Games, and Emerging Technologies). The initiative is supported by the Chilean Antarctic Institute (INACH), the National Youth Institute (INJUV), the Department of Sciences of the Municipality of Cerro Navia, the Cultural Committee of Puerto Williams, the Museum Anthropological Martin Gusinde of Puerto Williams, the Cabo de Hornos International Center for Studies of Global Change and Biocultural Conservation (CHIC), and Fundación Tremendas.

The Biodiversity Antarctic and Sub-Antarctic Ecosystems Millennium Institute (BASE) is a scientific research center of excellence that is funded by the Millennium Scientific Initiative (Millennium) of the National Research and Development Agency (ANID) and seeks to study the past, present, and future of Antarctic and sub-Antarctic biodiversity: the fate of a unique biota, in a changing world.

More information at http://www.institutobase.cl

By: Constanza Barrientos

Translated by: Catalina Ovando

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