New Citizens Scientists
Europe is making effort to engage more and more citizens in science. Therefore, the EU funds under Horizon 2020 the so-called citizen’ observatories. The aim is to gather data, collected by citizens via their smartphones or tablets and to combine them with innovative technologies. These collected data, scientists then can use for their research. Thus will improve not only the environmental monitoring but will increase as well the awareness of citizens on key issues such as Climate Change, Pollution and Biodiversity.
KEYWORDS: citizen scientists, data collection, biodiversity, climate change, pollution
AREA OF STUDY: Mediterranean Sea, Baltic Sea, North Sea, Black Sea, Atlantic Ocean
The principle of citizen science is simple: each one of us can collect data that scientist then use for their research. The data that can be collected have a great variety in the marine environment e.g. counting plastics, reporting a species and many more. And several smart applications have been developed that enable to gather data collected by citizens. Thus not only improves the environmental monitoring but increases as well the awareness of citizens on key environmental issues.
To encourage and increase the citizen science movements around the world, the European Citizen Science Association (ECSA) brought organisations from 17 EU Member States and other countries together. Furthermore, to train citizens and to encourage them to take part in data collection and research projects, ESCA works together with research institutes, universities, Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), museums, local authorities and citizen science initiatives.
Since the first citizen science projects were successful, more and more projects are springing up in Europe. The ways that citizens can actively participate in these projects have increased: data collection, best practices, citizen-consultations, video-contest, games and many more.
To continue this successful cooperation between the “new citizens scientists” and science, a main pillar was set under Horizon 2020: “Science with and for Society”. The projects that will be funded should aim to “build effective cooperation between science and society, to recruit new talent for science and to pair scientific excellence with social awareness and responsibility.”
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Check out some of the already EU funded projects that involve citizens on scientific topics related to water and visit TheBlueReporters section Society/Education “Get involved”.
BeWater– Society Adapting to Global Change: project promotes dialogue and collaboration between science and society for sustainable water management and adaptation to the impacts of global change in the Mediterranean.
MARLISCO – The “MARine LItter in European Seas: Social AwarenesS and CO-Responsibility” aims to raise public awareness, facilitate dialogue and promote co-responsibility among the different actors towards a joint vision for the sustainable management of marine litter. Its activities take place across all European seas (North-East Atlantic, Baltic, Mediterranean and Black Sea).
SFS – The Seas for Society project enables an open and participatory dialogue with stakeholder, citizens and youth to share knowledge, forge partnerships and empower actors on societal issues related to Ocean. It enriches the concept of “Blue Society”.
Picture Source: Pixbay
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