The NEWSERA #CitSciComm Labs
Citizen science projects are a complex ecosystem: they involve communities of citizens, scientists, policy makers and industries. One of the challenges these projects face is to adequately communicate the meaningful results and high-quality scientific data they generate to the stakeholders involved; this is crucial both to get back to the citizens who participated in the project and to inform new policies and businesses.
Another key aspect of CS projects is the effectiveness of the technology they employ: there isn’t much research on how the users interact with CS apps and their role in the project success.
NEWSERA tackles these and other issues in the #CitSciComm Labs, which are the core of the entire project. The Labs involve small groups of citizen science practitioners from 38 ongoing citizen science initiatives, the NEWSERA “Pilots” (selected from the NEWSERA survey and interviews), representatives from different stakeholders groups and science communication experts: together they collaborate on new and improved strategies of communication adressed to quadruple helix stakeholders and journalists.
The presence of representatives of citizens and society in general, academic scientists, industries and SMEs, policy makers and journalists is crucial for the Labs: they have an active role in voicing their interests and necessities. This way, with the help of communication experts, citizen scientists are able to understand how to reach them and involve them in their projects.
Each Lab is focused on one specific stakeholder:
- citizen and society at large,
- academic scientists,
- public sector and policy makers,
- industries and SMEs,
- data and science journalists.
HOW DO THE LABS WORK?
Each Lab consists of a series of three co-creation workshops, that are held online and with different groups for each country involved in the project (Spain, Portugal and Italy). While the co-creation workshops are held within each group, all groups come together in common sessions to share their work and findings. To learn more about the general functioning of the Labs, watch our video animation!
The 1st round of Labs was held in 2021 and was focused on framing the needs of pilot projects, as well as those of the key target stakeholders. The 2nd round was held during the first half of 2022 and dealt with cross-cutting topics such as defining indicators of success, increasing trust in citizen-generated data and tackling misinformation. The 3rd round was held at the end of 2022 with national groups of projects meeting in Italy, Portugal and Spain.
The results of the Labs will be the basis for five Communication Blueprints, guidelines for more effective science communication strategies in citizen science projects that will be produced by the NEWSERA Team and made available online.