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Citizen Science projects that have completed their journey

Jan. 18, 2022, 9:56 a.m.

In 2021 (and early 2022), three EU citizen science projects have finalised their actions and came to an end: WeCount, MICS and ACTION. Here are the latest achievments:

WeCount Policy Brief #2: Citizen science for sustainable urban mobility: Empowering citizen traffic counters to shape local policy:

As WeCount came to an end, partners reflected on the project’s main results, drafting policy recommendations building upon evidence from its real-life examples for achieving change by proactive citizens in co-designing local traffic policies. WeCount enquired into which kind of innovative citizen science methodologies/tools are effective in empowering citizens to influence policy-making processes. As citizen participation in urban mobility gains traction, challenges to citizen engagement approaches arise. These must be well-designed and carefully implemented to empower citizens to use their data to advocate for behavioural and policy change.

Involving citizens in science projects is beneficial only if their contribution is recognisable and well-identifiable in project results. Simply handing out tools (i.e., traffic counting sensors) is not enough. Citizen engagement activities must be in place to inform citizens about how to act. WeCount citizen science approaches proved to be effective in actively engaging more than 1,000 citizens about the power of crowdsourced data in shaping local transport policies. This is the challenge that WeCount’s second Policy Brief addresses, showcasing real-life examples for achieving change by proactive citizens in co-designing local traffic policies.

MICS Measuring Impact of Citizen Science

The MICS project has developed approaches and tools to assess citizen-science impacts across five domains: society, environment, economy, governance, and science and technology.

Five case-study sites (two in the UK, and one in Italy, Hungary, and Romania) explore the applicability of the MICS approaches and tools in regions with differing needs, contexts, and approaches to nature-based solutions, and with various levels of citizen-science application.

The lessons learnt through these case-studies are influencing the current development of the MICS platform. This platform will provide a means for project coordinators to measure the impact of the citizen-science initiatives they manage.

The MICS platform consists of three key elements: (1) a project page, where project coordinators can provide details about their own projects, and browse others; (2) an impact assessment, presented as a journey of 200 questions and corresponding answers, designed to measure indicators of impact; and (3) an assessment output, where the results of the data fed in will produce an impact score and tailored feedback on how to make a project more impactful.

MICS’s legacy will be an open-access platform, that will measure the impact of any citizen-science project at any stage of its life cycle.

The ACTION Participatory science toolkit for participatory, inclusive, citizen-led citizen science initiatives is about to be published in its final version

The ACTION toolkit is about to be published in its final version! It offers a resource collection for everyone interested in doing citizen science the ACTION-way: participatory, inclusive, citizen-led and open access. The focus is on citizen science against environmental pollution, but other types of projects may benefit from it, too.

The toolkit draws on the expertise in pollution, citizen science, participatory design, social innovation, socio-economic studies, open science, social computing, open data and software development in the ACTION team, to ensure it suits the requirements of citizen science projects, addressing the practical problems that they face throughout the different stages of each project.

For each of the different stages of the participatory science lifecycle (Problem framing, Research implementation, Impact and sustainability and Policy impact) it offers an introduction as well as a collection of practical tools, guidelines and recommendations, suggested activities and practical examples. A downloadable version will be available at the end of January.

The toolkit as all ACTION’s outputs are openly available on the ACTION website.

The ACTION project comes to its end. On behalf of all the ACTION team, we’d like to thank the readers for their interest, the communities and stakeholders who participated so willingly in the project and wish them luck with their future endeavours.

Photo by Aisha Serafini from Pexels

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