​SwafS: New low-cost technology as enabling factor

The EU is advocating for an open science agenda, of which citizen science is an important element. It can involve a vast range of activities. New technological and low-cost instruments are opening up new opportunities for public engagement with research. IT technologies enable citizens to engage in monitoring pollution, collecting data on biodiversity, language studies as well as many other research activities.

The LERU's report "Citizen science at universities: Trends, guidelines and recommendations" identified three important trends in recent projects run by professional scientists at universities.

1. Increasing coordination and collaboration between citizen science practitioners from different fields, which leads to sharing procedures and best practices, and to the creation of networks and associations. 

2. Emergence of platforms that support a variety of citizen science projects, creating broader public awareness and encouraging a greater retention of volunteers.

3. Expanding the role played by citizens in the projects beyond simple tasks to include greater participation in all phases of the research process from conceptualisation to publication.

Citizen Science projects (examples)


 • RRI tools – RRI TOOLS, a project to foster Responsible Research and Innovation for society, with society www.rri-tools.eu

• NewHoRRIzon – Excellence in science and innovation for Europe by adopting the concept of Responsible Research and Innovation www.newhorrizon.eu

DITOs – Doing It Together science represents a step change in European public engagement with science and innovation http://togetherscience.eu/

• SPARKS – an awareness-raising project to show Europeans that they can get involved in science and that various stakeholders share the responsibility for scientific research and innovation http://www.sparksproject.eu/