The first NEWSERA #CitSciComm Lab, dedicated to find better strategies to communicate and engage citizens in general in citizen science projects, took place in the days between the 15 and 17 of December 2020. It was an exciting and challenging experience for the NEWSERA Team and the three groups participating in the Lab, in Spain, Portugal and Italy.

Citizen science projects had the opportunity to interact, discuss and co-create along with citizens, science communicators, and experts in citizen participation. Participants assesed the strengths, weaknesses, desires, opportunities and threats of the communication strategy of each project using the collaborative web-app Miro.

Working together remotely was a challenge, but the enthusiasm and committments of participants made it possible to define concrete communication actions that will be implemented and tested by the projects in the months to come.

These actions were designed according to the status and scope of each project: from strengthening online and social media presence; creating a network of ambassadors, like-minded associations, or engaging new actors within local communities; to developing new formats for in-person events, gamification strategies and new narratives. All these strategies aim at creating more dynamic, solid, and lasting relations with citizens, who could collaborate with the projects and work as amplifiers of their actions and results.

Citizens, volunteers and representatives of civil society in general were a key part of the co-creation effort: with participants that included recreational fishermen, teachers, university students, marketing experts and professionals in other backgrouds, there was plenty of ideas and inputs from different perspectives. The dialogue was stimulating and productive, and all the parts were eager to learn and explore new perspectives.

Between the first workshop of the Lab and the second, scheduled for mid-2021, the progress of the communication actions will be monitored and their impact evaluated, in order to see the effectiveness and the impact of these co-designed strategies.

Read the list of participating projects and more on the Citizens and society at large Lab here

On December 18th, following the co-creation sessions, our experience in the Lab and some preliminary insights were presented during an online meeting open to other citizen science projects and experts in science communication and citizen science. About 50 people participated, from many EU countries, the UK and the rest of the world.

 

The second #CitSciComm Lab, focusing on academic scientists, are taking place this week in Spain and Portugal.