Industries and small and medium-sized enterprises are among the leading innovators in society. Their relation to citizen science is still underdeveloped, and could lead to interesting new opportunities.
However, it’s an extremely heterogeneous group, with several scales, purposes, resources and areas of expertise; this makes it particularly challenging to reach and engage.
To attract and involve industries and SMEs in citizen science projects, it’s important to find common grounds between the two environments.
On the one hand, citizen science can be a promising tool for enterprises interested in social innovation and community participation, because citizen science projects could be used to promote a responsible approach to business, but also to explore the ideas and interests of potential consumers.
On the other hand, including industries and SMEs in their network could be beneficial for citizen science projects, in order to be more sustainable.
The “NEWSERA Industries and SMEs Lab” will be useful for citizen science practitioners to find effective communication strategies towards entrepreneurs and industries, during a series of co-creation workshops that will involve people from both groups.
Participants include a small group of: citizen science practitioners from 38 ongoing citizen science initiatives, the NEWSERA “Pilots” (selected during the NEWSERA survey and interviews), representatives from different enterprises, a science communication expert acting as moderator, and members from the NEWSERA Team.
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, there will be moments in which all groups come together to share their work and findings.
The 1st round of the Lab was conducted between January 25 and January 29, 2021.
The 2nd round of Labs focused on cross-cutting issues in citizen science, such as co-designing indicators, demostrating impact and dealing with ethical issues and misinformation. It was carried out between February and April 2022.
The 3rd and final round of Labs was dedicated to showcasing best practises, outputs and outcomes from the NEWSERA Pilots, and to drafting the Communication Blueprints, a series of guidelines for more effective science communication strategies in citizen science. The third round was carried out in person with national meetings on October 20th (Portugal), 21st (Italy), and November 3rd (Spain), 2022.
The selection process to enroll as a NEWSERA pilot is closed.
The projects taking part in this Lab
RiuNet is an interactive educational tool that guides citizens in diagnosing the hydrological and ecological status of a river. It is also a citizen science project that provides scientific data to researchers from the Freshwater Ecology, Hydrology and Management Research Group (FEHMlab) of the Department of Evolutionary Biology, Ecology and Environmental Sciences of the University of Barcelona.
Adopta una planta (Adopt a plant) aims to organize a network of trained professionals (rangers, technicians) and volunteers who monitor the distribution, occupation and population abundance of plant species and some habitats of the Aragon region. Its main objectives are data collection and engagement of volunteers in field trips to observe nature, to learn about plants and about the scientific method.
Vivencia Dehesa is the result of the regeneration project of the Valdepajares de Tajo estate, declared a Private Area of Ecological Interest, the first and only private protected natural area in Extremadura. The project is based on protecting biodiversity, producing high quality materials and engaging in dissemination activities. It includes teaching activities about nature and agriculture in a farm, where experiences are shared through courses, activities and organic products.
BIOOK is a non-profit association that aims to promote social innovation, creating ecosystems of participation and enjoyment of scientific-cultural production by citizens, eliminating the boundaries between biology and other disciplines. BIOOK is based on the Do It Yourself Biology (DIYbio) movement and on Citizen Science and promotes biohacking.
Lixo Marinho is a citizen science project that aims to raise awareness about a common problem on beaches – marine litter – and to provide comprehensive data for scientific monitoring. Its mission is to defend and preserve the environment against the impacts of waste on marine, coastal, estuarine ecosystems, and inland waters. It also aims to bring awareness and co-responsibility of society on the importance of environmental preservation.
Censos de Borboletas de Portugal is part of the European Butterfly Monitoring Plan and consists of regular counts of butterflies on fixed routes, or transects, following a standardized methodology that is used throughout Europe. This citizen science project allows the generation of a huge volume of data, detects trends on the conservation status of butterflies and their habitats and the creation of several European butterfly indicator.
ReefCheck Italia is a scientific association dedicated to the protection and recovery of the Mediterranean rocky reefs and tropical coral reefs. Volunteers are recreational scuba divers who observe and verify the health status of the coastal marine habitats. The Underwater Monitoring Program for the Mediterranean Sea is based on data collection about indicator species, on quantitative surveys in fixed stations, and on measuring temperature variations. It promotes local actions for environmental conservation and restoration, as well as beach clean-up activities with schools.
Sea Cleaner is a project focused on the problem of anthropogenic waste in the marine environment. Citizens are an active part in monitoring and data collection processes, together with professional researchers or trainers. Its aim is to raise awareness among young people on the environmental issues, and to bring them closer to science in an active and exciting way. Through education and training, students who participate in these science activities learn how to apply the scientific method in the field.