Building trust among citizens and institutions is still a great challenge. In modern democracies, public institutions need to be close to citizens, to increase their legitimacy, accountability and good governance. And citizens themselves are eager to be more involved in the policymaking process.
Increasingly often, policy makers are turning towards citizen science as a way to engage with their citizens and gather evidence for new, science-informed, policies.
Involving policy makers in citizen science projects could increase the impact of the project, especially with projects that could help to understand a public issue better or address one that is already well known.
It’s also a way to held institutions accountable and to influence policies using scientific evidence.
In the “NEWSERA Public sector and policy makers Lab”, policy makers and citizen science practitioners will discuss the gaps in communication between the two environments and work on how to close them, during a series of co-creation workshops.
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), policy makers and public sector professionals, 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 workshop was conducted between February 8 and February 12, 2021; the 2nd workshop will take place in Autumn 2021.
More details on the 3rd workshop will be published in the upcoming months.
The selection process to enroll as a NEWSERA pilot is closed.
The projects taking part in this Lab
GEOVACUI is a Citizen Science project that tries to dig into the causes and consequences of the emptying of towns in the interior of Spain under a geographical approach, integrating the physical conditioning factors and the social and economic problems that affect its inhabitants. To do this, it proposes recommendations to public managers to solve the problem by providing the residents’ vision.
D-NOSES is a citizen science project that addresses odour pollution. In the project, different communities affected by bad odours point out and assess odour points through the Odour Collect app, which maps them and traces their backward trajectory in order to identify possible sources of bad odours.
Cities at Night is a citizen science project to catalogue, locate and geo reference night photos taken from the International Space Station and has been coordinated with the European Space Agency (ESA) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).
PΩSTORYα is a citizen science project that reflects on and analyses urban environments in the process of gentrification. To do this, it focuses on the impact of new technologies and studies the collective memory of its inhabitants from a socio-ecological, functional diversity and gender perspective.
The Citizen Observatory of Drought is a citizen science project that promotes a better understanding of drought risk. It relies on geographic information technologies and artificial intelligence to disseminate spatial information related to water status and uses, climate variables, water resources and drought management and planning, and it is accessible to all citizens. Citizen input feeds the research process and specifically contributes to calculate indicators of social perception and public opinion to build a more robust Drought Vulnerability Index and to facilitate deliberation on the most appropriate and most accepted management measures by citizens.
GelAvista is a program responsible for monitoring gelatinous organisms in Portugal. It aims to involve the community in the development of science and to gather information about these animals, using the participation of the entire population that visits beaches, estuaries, rivers, marines and other areas, during their leisure or professional activities.
Novos Decisores Ciências aims to foster dialogue between scientists and inhabitants of the coastal communities of Trafaria, Almada, Portugal, engaging local stakeholders and policy makers. It uses scientific culture and research practices as tools for empowerment and citizenship and supports dynamics of social participation and emancipation. In this framework, the question “Will the sea one day “eat” the Torrão?” enhances the creation of meeting spaces to know and discuss the problem by strengthening ties through the collection of memories, participatory design, and collective creation, highlighting the potential of the community and the territory.
The general goal of the citizen science platform Invasoras.pt is to raise awareness about biological invasions in Portugal, with particular emphasis on invasive plants. It provides information on invasive plants at a national level and encourages public participation in mapping these species and in control and dissemination activities. Invasoras.pt provides useful tools and information for those dealing with this problem, as well as support materials for environmental education activities, for teachers and informal action groups.
GENA is a crowdsourcing/Citizen Science infrastructure for the acquisition and sharing of environmental data through tech. It tries to give a wider information range on the marine ecosystem and on noise in urban environments through monitoring with low-cost hydrophones. The data concerns the marine environment and noise pollution.
Air Heritage is a project focused on air quality in Portici, Campania. It aims to increase the awareness of the local community on the issue of air quality using innovative technological tools. Through Diss, a tool by Terraria, each policy/decision maker will be able to use the platform to evaluate the air quality in urban areas and predict a short-term response. Citizen scientists record air quality data using sensors that can be installed on a bike, stroller or other mode of transportation.
Aliens in the Sea aims to collect data on plant and animal alien species in the waters surrounding Sicily and its smaller islands, in order to create a database on their distribution and threat levels. The project also aims to raise public awareness problem of biological invasions through correct information, specifically among fishermen, beach goers, boaters, and others involved in sea-related activities.