Citizen science, by definition, has a strong connection with citizens participation. Citizens can be engaged in multiple roles, such as sensors, data interpreters or collaborators in the definition of research questions.
However, citizen science projects often struggle to engage people outside a clique of “usual suspects“, who are already interested in science or in a specific issue, or to enroll large groups in their activities. And even if outcomes of citizen science projects are generally considered positive, it’s not easy to clearly define their impact towards the general population, or to say that their activities are beneficial to all sides involved (so, for example, both to the researchers promoting a project and the citizens involved).
These challenges highlight a gap in the communication between projects and society. To close it, it’s useful to look at a project’s capability of being inclusive in recruitment, and at its resonance, in three key moments in the life of a project: its start, its ongoing activity and its conclusion.
An inclusive recruitment strategy may foster engagement and return a higher and more active participation; and the resonance across society through communication can increase the impact, especially when citizen scientists become ambassadors of the research.
These two issues will be at the core of the co-creation workshops of the “NEWSERA Citizens and society at large Lab“.
Participants include a small group of: citizen science practitioners selected during the NEWSERA survey, citizens with different backgrounds (some of them with previous experience of citizen science and others who don’t have any), a science communication expert acting as moderator, and members from the NEWSERA Team.
The 1st workshop was conducted during December 2020 and the 2nd will take place in Autumn 2021. More details on the 3rd workshop will be published in the upcoming months.
The Lab is held online, with three different groups of participants in Spain, Portugal and Italy. While the co-creation workshops are held within each group, all groups come together to share their work and findings during a common session.
The first common session was held on Friday 18/12/2020; it was open to external participants (citizen science projects, experts in citizen science, science communicators).