Workshop WG 3: Citizen Science and Environmental Monitoring: Benefits and Challenges

WG 3 Workshop: Citizen Science and Environmental Monitoring: Benefits and Challenges


Photo by CA15212

21 and 22 November 2018 (incl. half-day overlap with a workshop of the COST Action 17122 - Increasing understanding of alien species through citizen science)
JRC, Ispra, Italy (given limited availability of rooms, we reserved a room for up to 30 people)
Organization Commitee:
Marina Manzoni (European Commission - DG Joint Research Centre - JRC), Sven Schade European Commission - DG Joint Research Centre - JRC), Katrin Vohland (Chair of Citizen Science Cost Action, Museum für Naturkunde Berlin)
Application Deadline:
20 September 2018

We see a twofold positive development in Citizen Science. On the one hand, the many and impressively evolving communities get better and better organized, and thereby also develop stronger interest to be involved in environmental policy. On the other hand, policy officers increasingly use or at least recognize the potential of citizen science for environment-related policies. Much notably, the European Commission’s Actions to Streamline Environmental Reporting (COM(2018)10) promote the wider use of citizen science to complement environmental reporting (Action 8) and provide an opportunity to contribute to the drafting of guidelines on how Citizen Science and environmental reporting can be interconnected.

Yet – at least at the European level - the two groups only occasionally debate and collaborate with each other, or perhaps even mistrust each other. Whereas in several countries we witness success stories at national, regional and local levels, functioning collaborations between Citizen Scientists and governmental bodies are rare in other countries. We still do not know why some solutions only work in specific contexts and how Citizen Science could be better promoted to complement environmental reporting across EU countries. This workshop will elaborate on the opportunities and challenges, and recommend a way forward in order to improve the current situation.

Expected outcomes: Feedback on the proposed roadmap to develop guidelines about the relationship between Citizen Science and environmental reporting; Clarity about the degree of engagement that we would want to see; Best practices and ideas on what we can do in order to offer this desired degree of engagement equally across the EU; …

Draft Agenda

21 November 2018 (Wednesday)

12:00 – 13:00  Conclusions from the Invasive Alien Species workshop and introduction to the field activities

13:00 – 14:00

Welcome lunch (with meeting “Strengthening the link between Invasive Alien spices (IAS) apps data and policy: Development of an appropriate governance framework”, organized by JRC Unit D.2)

14:00 – 17:00

Joint exhibition and field work with meeting “Strengthening the link between IAS apps data and policy: Development of an appropriate governance framework”

22 November 2018 (Thursday)

09:00 – 10:45

Session 1: Introduction

  • Tour de table, participants expressing their experiences and expectations
  • Impressions from the previous day
  • Set-up for today
  • Scene setter on the EC actions to streamline environmental reporting, roadmap to develop guidance on the relationship to citizen science
  • Highlights from relevant EC activities, including recent study on an Inventory of citizen science activities for environment policies

10:45 – 11:00

Coffee break

11:00 – 12:30

Session 2: Do’s and Dont’s

  • Examples from Member State authorities, NGOs, etc.
  • Group work on best practices and challenges
  • Reporting back from the groups
  • Joined discussion

12:30 – 13:30

Lunch break

13:30 – 15:30

Session 3: Organizational settings

  • Overview of stakeholders involved at different geographic scales
  • Group work to recommend scenarios and frameworks
  • Reporting back from the groups
  • Joined discussion

15:30 – 15:45

Coffee break

15:45 – 17-45

Session 4

  • Wrap-up of the workshop
  • Discussion of next steps
  • AOB
  • Closure of meeting

How to Register?

if interested, register using the form on this website (klick "Please fill out the form to register"). Prepare a one page (maximum) motivation letter for upload. It shall include the following:

  • A short description of yourself (see additional priority criteria to address) and your motivation to participate.

 As only a limited number of participants will be subject to COST full funding, two sets of criteria for participants’ selection are presented below.

General criteria:

  • Quality and relevance of the submitted motivational letters
  • Geographical and thematic spread
  • Spectrum of perspectives, backgrounds and case studies

Additional priority criteria:


Marina Manzoni (European Commission - DG Joint Research Centre - JRC) | Marina [dot] Manzoni [at] ec [dot] europa [dot] eu


Workshop Report


The ultimate goal of the workshop was to identify benefits, challenges and recommendations from a large number of different stakeholders (from the scientific, policy and citizens perspectives) - with a view to improve developments, promoting and accelerating the use of Citizens Science for (environment-related) policy making throughout Europe.


The outputs from these two days joint effort and collaborative work include (i) a collection of presentations about activities and best practices in the environmental domain; and (ii) precious expert feedback and recommendations on a number of priority issues - both, in terms potentialities and challenges encountered by CS approaches applied to policy making at EU and at Member State level. Furthermore, the event offered valuable feedback on the very first draft guidelines on CS for environmental monitoring, and the related draft roadmap.

Next steps:

The results and conclusion stemming from this workshop will feed into an EC Staff Working Document (SWD) on how CS can complement monitoring and reporting in the environmental domain.

The workshop highlighted a number of essential findings, cross-cutting and interrelated needs, fundamental elements and influencing factors, potentialities and challenges that will need to be subject of further research.

The results from the Workshop will be summarised in a technical report, including relevant recommendations extrapolated in support the development of CS in the environmental domain. The report will be made publicly available and also inform broader stakeholders communities. We hope that it will also stimulate the deployment and uptake of CS approaches in other policy domains.



Wednesday, November 21, 2018 - 13:00 to Thursday, November 22, 2018 - 17:45
JRC Joint Research Centre
Via Enrico Fermi, 2749
21027 Ispra VA