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Blog


 

July 2016

Citizen science in Europe: How to take a strategic approach

There is an increasingly lively discussion going on about citizen science and the relationship between citizens, researchers and policy-makers in Europe. As an organisation that has sought to engage people in discussions about research over the last 15 years resulting in changes to public debate, new legislation and to the conduct of journalism, corporate policies, education and research, we think this is exciting and important.

Some impressive organisations and initiatives are appearing. However, there’s a risk that if we don’t clarify what people mean by citizen science, we will miss opportunities to establish common goals and for European bodies, research organisations and external bodies to provide support. By mapping out the different types of relationship between citizens, researchers and policy makers, we can clarify objectives of specific initiatives and measure success.

Sense about Science co-hosted a lively debate of these issues in Brussels in June, with the publisher Elsevier and European initiative REIsearch. From the rich discussions there, and from our years of work, we have set out the three distinct types of citizen science, to enable people at the EuroScience Open Forum 2016 and beyond, to map initiatives and organisations across them, to develop joint goals and to ask what are the priorities and are we creating an environment that’s conducive to them?

Citizen science