On April 12, from 9.30 to 16.00 CET, all NEWSERA partners met for the annual Consortium Meeting – like most of this year’s events, the meeting was virtual and held online due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and related travel restrictions.

It was an important moment and a full-day immersion in discussions related to the project, to look at what NEWSERA has achieved so far and set priorities for the months to come.

The meeting began with a performance review of each WP; a collective word cloud creation exercise helped focus on key concepts and challenges.

One of the word clouds created during the Consortium Meeting.

Part of the day was dedicated to discussing the work done in the #CitSciComm Labs so far, and creating plans to improve the Labs operations in the months to come. The first cycle of the Labs was conducted during the first months of 2021, with the first workshops of the Citizens and Society at large Lab, Academic Scientists Lab, Industries and SMEs Lab, and Public Sector and Policy Makers Lab; this first phase involved 39 pilot citizen science projects across Italy, Portugal and Spain. During the course of the project and between workshops, the Lab managers will keep in touch with pilot projects, in order to constantly monitor and assess the effectiveness of the communication strategies they decided to implement, as well as to offer assistance and advice. This exchange will also help to foster a network of citizen science projects, as well as gather information such as common challenges and concerns.

Despite the fact that the overall organisation of the #CitSciComm Labs had to be reworked around virtual spaces and co-creation environments, working online has opened up new possibilities. For example, it made possible to include people that might not have attended otherwise, and to involve more communication experts, who were a valuable resource during the Labs.

The NEWSERA project had an excellent first year, despite the many difficulties posed by the current pandemic. But there is still a lot of work to be done and we are excited to explore new ways and strategies to make citizen science a new paradigm for science communication.

In the upcoming weeks, a set of preliminary policy briefs will be published on the website. Stay tuned for more updates!