European Citizen Science General Assembly 2019

DSC_1604.JPGThe assembly run at the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences (RBINS) which is located in the Museum of Natural Sciences. ECSA Vice-Chair, Lucy Robinson, will be stepping down this time. ECSA have a team of 6 people that are involved in various projects and activities of the working groups. Some of the highlights from the work of ECSA in 2018. In 2018, ECSA has about 150 paying members. There is a reduction in individual members. The newsletter has over 1700 subscriber, the newsletter open rate is 25% which is good, but they want to increase. In the last year, the organisation worked on internal and external structures and accredited as an observer at the UN Environment Assembly. There are now 9 working groups, covering many issues. The development of the global partnership of citizen science organisation continued to evolve with engagement with the UN Environmental Assembly. ECSA is engaged in 6 H2020 projects – DITOs, WeObserve, LandSense, D-NOSES, EU-Citizen.Science and Panelfit. The DITOs project provided the ability to ECSA to support the development of citizen science networks in Italy, and also activities in opening up science, and considering how ECSA, as the legacy organisation of DITOs, develop more open and inclusive practices. So what came out of DITOs? the development of the ECSA, working groups and follow up projects. There are especially efforts in policy engagement work. WeObserve is another project where ECSA coordinated support across citizen observatories – key challenges include awareness of projects, the acceptability of the approach and data, and sustainability. WeObserve work as a range of communities of practice – on engagement, impact, interoperability, and the SDGs. The LandSense project is dealing with providing innovations in a citizen observatory around land use and land cover. D-NOSES address the scaling with recording odour issues – the Odourcollect is being used to collect data about smell issues and more case studies will start appearing in the coming year. EU-Citizen.Science is aiming to develop a sustainable platform and mutual learning space for citizen science in Europe. The Panelfit project is the facilitate the adaptation in the regulation of ICT research through open access guidelines for a citizen science project. The suggestion is to provide a data management plan for citizen science projects. They also consider how to address especially vulnerable population in Europe. ECSA budget, beyond the restricted funds that are linked to projects, is about €61,000 which enables the creation of new roles in the organisation.  The organisation is starting to build capacity and long term staff that is not tied to a project, but it is still limited in the financial support that it can provide to working groups.

The plan for the year ahead is to ensure that we can increase the sustainability and independence of ECSA. There is a special effort to increase transparency and have a clear procedure – e.g. what is the way in which the organisation participate in projects proposals. There was a step change in the number of project proposals were ECSA is being asked as a partner. In terms of governance, ECSA planning to have two Vice Chairs to the coming year and that in the future we will create a role of President, and then have a Chair and Vice Chair who are taking active work in the organisation. There will be also processed for conferences and General Assembly. ECSA is setting its processes with these procedures.

A new working group was set on citizen science networks and helping them to set abilities to share information, and setting minimum standards.

Next ECSA conference in 2020 is 25-26 May 2020.

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Published by

mukih

Professor of GIScience, University College London

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