EU-Citizen.Science project kick-off meeting

DSCN3286The EU-Citizen.Science is a new project that is part of a family of citizen science projects that are funded through the Science with and for Society (SwafS) stream of the Horizon 2020 programme. The project started in January and will run for 3 years. It is coordinated by the Natural History Museum of Berlin (the Museum für Naturkunde – MfN) and the European Citizen Science Association (ECSA).

The meeting was opened by Johannes Vogel, the director of MfN and the chair of ECSA who set a target for the project, with the German presidency of the European Union in 2020, and the need to prepare activities that will emphasise the role of citizen science in cities.

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Men stand in front of a lectern with slides
The range of SwafS projects

Next, Linden Farrer from DG RTD provided the context for the project. The SwafS is about 500m Eur part of H2020, that tries to build effective co-operation, foster the recruitment of new talent for science and pair scientific excellence with a connection to societal needs. These goals have been turned into eight lines of activities. Citizen Science is falling under public engagement. The interim evaluation of SwafS in 2017 found it highly relevant, that there is satisfactory efficiency with a low success rate in calls – it’s the home for civil society organisations. SwafS is highly coherent with internal and international policies, and very high added value – it is not competing with local funding, and because of the level of funding, there is limited effectiveness. As a response to the evaluation, the focused the calls on sustainable institutional changes, focus on “doing R&I” through citizen science and user-led innovation, encourage collaboration among projects, and identify SMART impacts that can be measured. They align with overall goals: RR (MoRRI) SDGs, COP21 etc. The strategic orientation includes building the knowledge base, exploring and support citizen science, and other activities. There are future calls within the area of citizen science and there are 41 projects of which 31 are still active. There are many other H2020 projects that have an element of citizen science. Finally, RRI is an important element that is cross-cutting in H2020 and it is aimed to involve citizens, civil society organisations (CSO) and other non-traditional actors in EU research programmes. There is an aim to change the governance of research. The MoRRI D3.2 report is showing the interaction between different areas of the agenda. There are different projects that are taking an RRI approach is different between projects across the H2020 goals. There is almost no project in the ERC portfolio that is falling under the RRI framework. There are also projects that are going beyond the EU – with international partners that are no in the EU – from Japan to Chile.

Beyond H2020 and into Horizon Europe, the Lamy report pointed the need to mobilise and involve citizens. In Horizon Europe, there is more mission-based science – there is a bigger budget – 400 mil Eur to enhance citizen science and enhancing the European R&I system. The is an article on open science in general, and different R&I missions – a portfolio of actions that require a multi-stakeholder and transdisciplinary approach to achieve goals within a given time frame. The Open Science Policy Platform included in its recommendation citizen science (recommendation 8 in a document from 29/05/2018). OSPP build the visibility of citizen science – opening a roadmap, vision and skills to increase the recognition of it.

DSCN3283Colombe Warin, the Project Officer in charge of the project point that the consortia have a strong obligation for dissemination – need to freely share research strategies, methodologies, raw data, and methodology – to show commitment to citizen science and to the principles of RRI. It is also important to notice the difference between communication and dissemination as a concrete activity of the project,  although these are mixed in citizen science projects.

DSC_1462Katrin Vohland, the project PI pointed to the complexity of citizen science, the complexity of interpreting citizen science, and variety of ideas about what it is, how to call the people who participate, and which disciplines which bring with them different ways of understanding it, the methodologies… There are many approaches to data quality and accessibility. The project itself is the creation of a central hub for cross European Knowledge Sharing, including best practices, and there are lots of material that is emerging and need to be collected. We need a co-design of tools and guidelines so they are relevant to different audiences. The project includes 6 main work packages – first platform, community and network building; WP3 – the content of the platform which includes context, quality assurance and curation to consolidate the citizen science knowledge base; WP5 is about empowering diverse stakeholders to become citizen scientists, start citizen science project or adopt the professionally through training; WP4 that is about exploring new pathways of participatory governance with the public and policymakers, and finally WP6 that about advancing citizen science into mainstream of public engagement, science communication and education by dissemination and exploitation.

Approach to the platform in WP2 with a focus on the platform, community and network building – technology decisions are still open in order to support different audiences: participants, practitioners, policy makers, and science journalists. The groups made the first steps of recognising what are the training needs, how they are linked to specific tools and formats, and what user-centred design principles should guide the implementation.

WP3 is focusing on identifying quality criteria that will be used to judge which tools and resources will be curated on the platform. It is led by IIASA. This was done by identifying specific tools and then considering what quality criteria apply to them – for example, ECSA’s 10 principles of citizen science. About 20 “tools” were recognised in a 20 minutes exercise.

WP4 is about awareness and engagement and is led by Earthwatch – it will share a conceptual model for awareness, empowerment, and engagement and then develop tools and strategies for citizen engagement. It will also provide a coordinated approach to citizen science with other SwafS initiatives. There is also an element of reaching out to policymakers.

WP5, which UCL is leading on, is focusing on training. First, a core objective is to assess the training needs of those inexperienced in citizen science and those that are involved in it. Based on that, aggregate, curate, and create a suite of innovative training resources to address these needs and enhance European knowledge sharing in this area. There will be a specific effort to increase linkages with SDGs. Finally, the WP5 will try to identify and develop a delivery model that reaches citizen scientists and potential practitioners/citizen science project leaders in all countries of Europe. This work package starts only in the summer of 2019 with the gap and needs analysis. There are multiple target groups: Public (newcomers and citizen scientists), Practitioners (coordinators), Academia (career scientists, primary and secondary school teachers), Policymakers (and civil servants), Press (journalists and media experts), and SMEs and industry (and new entrepreneurs). So identifying needs and considering what form of training suit them will be quite a task…

WP1 is led by MfN and deals with management is also tasked with coordination with other projects that are funded from the same call – the SwafS 15 which is about exploring and supporting citizen science. There is a whole group of projects in the call that can be linked to the coordination effort of EU-Citizen.Science. For example, MICS, a project that is coordinated by Earthwatch is focusing on measuring the impact of environmental citizen science and in particular on river restoration, and they aim to provide tools that support the process of understanding and measuring impacts. In WeObserve, there is a CoP on Impact. The Super-MoRRI provide another set of impact evaluation. Integrating these into EU-Citizen.Science so information can be shared widely is important. The ACTION project will include cascading grants for participatory science toolkit about pollution.

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The communication approach to address the vision and objectives of the project

WP6 which is focusing on dissemination and communication is led by ECSITE and Daphnie Daras and Suzanna Fillipecki presented it – the European Network of Science Centres and Museums. The effort of Ecsite effort will include helping with communication with science journalists and science centres across Europe. The project will inherit the social media channels of DITOs. The need to reach out to the multiple target groups with different messages to reach out to them. Some early analysis involved identifying specific messages – for example, for researchers who are not involved in citizen science, to find a way to encourage them to understand and consider it.

WP7 is about evaluation and impact assessment. It is led by the centre for social innovation in Vienna (ZSI), with Barbara Kieslinger and Teresa Schafer. ZSI is a not-for-profit that works on different social innovation and got into citizen science through an interest in maker spaces and DIY science, and provided input into the Socientize project in 2014 and many activities since. The WP is assessing the usefulness and user acceptance of the project’s activities. Although we have described objectives, we need to define the details of what will be the measurements of success and knowing that we’ve reached the objectives.

 

 

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Ecsite 2018 conference – Day 1 afternoon: science shops, and the current practice and future of RRI

The afternoon of the first day of Ecsite 2018 included two parallel sessions (the notes from the morning is available here)

Science shops: participatory innovation, research and equity

Bálint Balázs (ESSRG) – the ESSRG acting as an independent science shop in Hungary, and want to share their and other organisations experience in running science shops.

Norbert Steinhaus  Coordinator International Science Shop, Wissenschaftsladen Bonn – Bonn Science Shop, which created the Living Knowledge network. He started with a definition: science shop provide independent, participatory research, to address civil society concerns. There are two general approaches – science shops that are established in universities, and another type that is a not-for-profit organisation outside universities or museums. The Bonn science shop started in 1984, about 50 members of the association, with a budget of 2.6m EUR and 35 people that are working on different projects. Focus on different engagement and different methods that are suitable for the different stakeholder groups. One of the first projects was Art as a medium of science education, in the Botanic Gardens in Bonn and that led to environmental festivals and other learning experiences. Other activities include the Sparks exhibition, but also with other museums and bodies such as Big Picnic in the Botanic Gardens of Bonn. Getting ideas of bottom-up, expressing concerns is an issue across projects – the idea of a pop-up science shop was and engagement.

María Jesús Pinazo, The Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal) – Hospital Clínic – setting science shops in hospitals and different forms of science shops. the inSPIRES project – a project to build effective cooperation between science and society through Science Shops and increasing responsible participatory research. It is a difficult issue to promote science shops in Bolivia or North Africa. In particular, they are thinking about using RRI, open science, open data and having impact evaluation that needs to be part of their project. They take care to think about cultural context, deal with societal issues, and focus on health. The project will review the science shop concept, and they need to think about the approaches, and recreate civil society the response for their demands. They are in particular planning to create a mentoring programme that will support  having new practitioners in science shops. They are looking at transdisciplinary and transnational science shops projects – having multiple communities address the local problems. Different partners, in Bolivia and Tunisia. They also manage to identify similar questions between different shops by noticing which problems are emerging

Giovanna Pacini (University of Florence) organising science cafe every two weeks, with a link to radio programme and also screening the science shop experience. A physicist who works in a centre for the study of complex dynamic and also in a not-for-profit association Caffe Scienza. She was involved in different projects to fund the effort of the science cafe. The events are being streamed and shared on YouTube, a radio programme (RadioMoka) and also run a science communication – more a laboratory for PhD students in physics and computer science. They try to increase interaction between scientists and public through using science cafe as a way to engage people throughout the research. They are creating a new Florence science shop, and the first thing was to explain it using Monopoly as a way to explain the science shop. Pilot projects include citizen science on diabetic patients, traffic and pollution, domestic violence, and urban gardens. They use the science cafe to collect questions for the science shop work. This is also part of InSPIRES project – inspiresproject.com. The science shop in Florence science-shop.complexworld.net and through InSPIRES they can offer mentoring.

Q – how to demystify scientists? In science cafe, it’s more difficult, the control of information and perceptions of science are unclear. If you challenge the scientists to leave your role – e.g. in science cafe, asking the audience and pushing them to move from the role of telling people

Q – how to reach out to stakeholders? Norbert – start with a smaller group and reach out in a way that takes into account the barriers and the need to reach out actively to people.

Q- financing: is it all project based? sustainability should come from institutions which integrate it into their practice, or the municipality. Reaching to policymaking is difficult, and after elections is something can change. Building the relationships with the city helped through projects that then led to other projects. Incentives for scientists and commitment is difficult it is easier to work with students as it can be credited, and the professor by creating a theme for research. Linking paid services (e.g. education activities) to projects as a way to create sustainability. There is a request for flexibility on the researcher side, and the staff don’t focus all the time on the same topic.

The impact is a complex issue, and the InSPIRES project has developed tools to evaluate it and follow it up with qualitative and quantitative measurements. The impact can come indirectly and over time. For example, working with Roma communities in Hungary is very difficult due to a breakdown of trust and they don’t know how to participate, and they don’t see the value in this area. A group of researchers learned from science shops experience and carry out Participatory Action Research – those who are most in need are being ignored. Need to build trust.

Q – is the model of science shop and science cafe are suitable to push museum outside the walls of the institution. There are issues and experimentation of museums in different communication modes, receiving information from the local community. The partners who hosted the exhibition linked to medical professionals, patients and other stakeholders and then use the museum as the space to carry out the work.

A decade of RRI: stepping stones or erratic rocks?

Frank Kupper (Athena Institute, The Netherland) – Responsible Research and Innovation: what people think of include public engagement, informal education. Actually, it’s a central theme in H2020 and triple origin – societal trends, as a way to implement policy goals, and follow up of science/policy work on science and technologies. These three streams have complicated things. It’s a process of opening up science and alignment of science and society, and the second is an umbrella of covering a whole range of issues in research policy and action. The basic idea of RRI is that early stage engagement, you can take a joint responsibility for the future and respond by changing the course of action. It has been a central theme, and in Horizon Europe RRI disappeared, but the underlying concepts are already there in open science or citizen science. We will cover experiences from a project about keeping the RRI spirit alive without the term?

Carmen Fenollosa (Ecsite) – quick presentations on activities, and discussing RRI. HEIRRI project is about RRI in higher education in H2020. Include a state of the art review in the field of teaching. The core of the project included 10 educational programmes that were carried out. The HEIRRI programmes are all open access and available on RRI-tools website. The question is: who is in the best position to make the change?

Annette Klinkert (CEO city2science) – NUCLEUS was also about communication, learning and engagement in universities. In NUCLEUS focus on responsiveness to a different academic area – looking at university governance and influencing this process. Universities can thrive if it is in communication and responsive to the world outside. They have engaged with university leaders and understanding the barriers to RRI – from too complex, it implies irresponsibility… Also visited different countries to work with different places that work with society and universities. They developed a roadmap for the development of RRI and putting the effort to lead to a change, and aiming for “DNA of RRI” that can be put into different organisations. They think of a network of stakeholders? Do we have an understanding of multiple publics? Do we have co-creation expertise – will that risk existing scientific expertise? Are we going to challenge the current academic system? Also about the engagement – with whom? And also what are the changes to institutional structures.

Ilse Marschalek (Centre for Social Innovation, Vienna) – part of the RRI-Tools projects, and new project called New HoRRIzon which manages the RRI-Tools. New HoRRIzon is looking at the link to SDG and the embodiment of RRI into their work. They are creating social lab – a team, process, appropriate space, then carrying out social experiments and having a learning cycle (Newhorrizon.eu). Pilots include maintenance of a community of practice in the social lab activities. They are interested in questions about open science and public engagement – what can public engagement in RRI really fulfil? The approach is focusing on process rather than participants. there is the confusing understanding of science communication, citizen science, public engagement in research projects. There is poor commitment to use the results of the public engagement activity, and myths about time, costs, uselessness.

Carlos Catalao Alves (Pavilion of Knowledge (Pavilhão do Conhecimento) – worked in RRI-Tools and Fit for RRI. Worked in public engagement for 20 years. RRI and Open Science is competing. The workshop that was organised in an RRI project, people talked about the impact of science and the way it can change society and the way society can change research. Actually, there was a need to avoid the term. The idea is that RRI is not brandable, and not being pushed forward is that it didn’t come from the scientific community, but as an agent that will moralise the academic community. The misunderstanding of RRI are companies such as Facebook and technology companies are in trouble, and society turned around companies – Cambridge Analytica is a research company that was doing things that are undesirable. When we started talking about RRI many years ago, the very few researchers – the educators, public engagers there was no problem. However, with researchers, only think that it is about communication of the science. RRI is socially accessible that is answering societal needs.

Lale Dobrivoje (Centar za promociju nauke, Serbia). In RRI tools carried out different activities to train, advocacy meeting and dissemination. They continue to work in the RRING network that aligns with the Sustainable Development Goals. RRI still have an opportunity. There are ways of thinking that through funding mechanism and projects period, RRI will influence the next 5 years and then there are other activities. We can also think about the impact through SDG activities.

Leonardo Alfonsi (Director at Psiquadro, Psiquadro scarl) – Perform project is about innovate STEM education – an attempt to combine RRI with the field of performing arts: standup comedy, clowning, and science busking. Trying to create a show together with the audience – secondary school students. They developed forms of performances, in particular with early career researchers. The indications are that the use of RRI values helped in co-producing the performance. And the question is what is the impact of RRI on the creative process?