Citizen Science spans a range of levels of engagement: from being better informed about science, to participating in the scientific process itself by observing, gathering or processing data.

Citizen Science

Citizen science is a broad term, covering that part of Open Science in which citizens can participate in the scientific research process in different possible ways: as observers, as funders, in identifying images or analysing data, or providing data themselves. This allows for the democratisation of science, and is also linked to stakeholders' engagement and public participation.

Depending on their personal interest, time, and technological resources, the citizen decides on how to be involved. Observing sightings of birds, identifying galaxies, or working out how to fold proteins, providing resources by lending computer time or direct financing as in crowd funding of scientific projects.

European actions on Citizen Science

Giving citizens a greater role in science can deliver the vision of "science for the people, by the people" for Europe. Some of the benefits of this concept are:

  • efficient and transparent use of public and private science and research funding,
  • better engagement in research, governance and accountability,
  • bringing European policy making closer to the people whilst basing it on scientific evidence.

Policy activities on Citizen Science are part of the Open Science dossier. The European Commission continues to promote Citizen Science through research policy formulation and direct support because of its potential benefits for European researchers, competitiveness and the society at large. The planned communication on Open Science will propose concrete actions, for Citizen Science and public engagement.

We continue to mainstream Open Science activities throughout Horizon 2020, particularly through the Open Research Data pilot where valuable information produced by researchers in many EU-funded projects will be shared. The pilot supported by OpenAire aims to improve and maximise access to and re-use of research data generated by projects. This also contributes to economic growth through open innovation and leads to a better, more efficient and transparent science for citizens and society

Supporting projects

New citizen and public engagement actions can be supported as Collective Awareness Platforms for Sustainability and Social Innovation (CAPS), which are ICT systems leveraging the emerging "network effect" by combining open online social media, distributed knowledge creation, and data from real environments (Internet of Things).

The Socientize project was funded by the Commission, and it provided a very successful and dynamic forum for the Citizen Science community. It also produced a White Paper on Citizen Science which still is a valuable input to policy making.

Funding opportunities

Funding opportunities explicitly using Citizen Science or on Citizen Science/engagement type activities

SC5-18-2017: Novel in-situ observation systems 

SC5-19-2017: Coordination of citizens' observatories initiatives

SwafS-10-2017: Putting Open Science into action

ICT-11-2017: Collective Awareness Platforms (CAPS) 

Have your say on Citizen Science and any Open Science topic on the Digital4science platform.

Published: 
Thursday, 26 March, 2015
Last update: 
Tuesday, 9 May, 2017
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