Workshop Report WG 3: Citizen Science Strategies in Europe

Workshop Report WG 3: Citizen Science Strategies in Europe

Date: June, 6th 2018
Location: University of Geneva, COST Citizen Science Workshopday

Hosts: University of Geneva
Co-organisers: Claudia Göbel, Sven Schade, Marina Manzoni, Katrin Vohland

After the participants were welcomed, a few minutes were spent explaining to present the scope and objectives of the COST Action, WG3, and of this particular workshop. Particular attention as given to the aims of the activity on European Citizen Science (CS) strategies - as part of COST WG 3 - and of this particular workshop (which lasted for 75 minutes).

The aims of this particular workshop were:
• Further reflections on the issues/dimensions to be addressed.
• Thoughts on the most realistic way forward.
• Considerations for extensions of the exercise beyond Europe and the COST countries.

Sven Schade presented how this workshop is one step in a process that started November last year with a COST MC meeting in Tartu, Estonia. It was the second dedicated workshop on this topic, after a meeting we had in March 2018 in Lisbon. Following that meeting in Portugal, we provided the people that registered for our Geneva workshop with a template of questions that we considered using for the required information collection. They were asked to fill in the questions for their respective country and to provide feedback on the template and the suggested overall approach. Eleven of the registered participants, from eight different countries, provided input and comments on a template that we might want to use for information collection. Sven presented some preliminary findings , such as inconsistencies in information received for the same country, difficulties to answer some of the draft questions, and missing connections to policy design and development (hence Paul’s presentation, see above). Out of the replies we derived a set of central inquiries, which were the basis for group discussions

Work in groups

As a step back before we started the more interactive part of the workshop, we reflected which different perspectives we have represented in the room – in order to manage expectations and to break into working groups. Under the general topic of WG 3: ”Improving the science-society-policy interface“ we have launched an empirical study asking “How does CS concept & practice manifest in national & sub-national contexts?“. This meeting and the last workshop in Lisbon were two essential steps to move tis work forward. So far, members of the working groups are approaching this question from three main perspectives:

  1. Policy Analysis: How is CS addressed by policy? And how can/shall we address CS in policy?
  2. Exchange between practitioners: How to push CS on political agendas?
  3. Science and Technology Studies: How is CS co-created in different socio-political contexts?

We used this separation for more in-depth discussions in three different groups (Download Workshop Report for detailed infomation).


After the break out groups reported back to all participants, we had the opportunity to debate the most relevant content for our work, acknowledging the interests and viewpoints of all participants. In brief, we argued about the following points:

  • Two sub-working groups seem to be emerging: one on supporting exchange between practitioners (Daniel & Kjell volunteer to coordinate this), one on the longitudinal research (Sven & Claudia are already committed to coordinate this).
  • The concrete survey design that we foresee needs practical testing with stakeholders. Jessie Oliver offered her expertise.
  • Need to refine methodology in respect to sampling. How many people to involve and what can we assume these people to know? There is a challenge building a repository that will contain data and information based on which policy decisions could be made. Are our methods and data robust enough? Is one person per country enough to provide all the information required?
  • Suggestion to improve the survey and move forward with it to have something concrete in our hands - on which we can then still improve in subsequent steps.
  • Complement survey with more in-depth interviews with people involved in national strategy building to generate complimentary knowledge on processes behind strategy making and richer maps of actors involved, e.g. regarding  accounts of who opposes strategies and invisible CS (a central questions remarked in the previous workshop on the topic, in Lisbon, March 2018).
  • There could be an STSM to do interviews with people from different countries.
  • As an alternative/addition, there could also be an open inventory inviting people to “put themselves on the map”, if they like – then this resource would grow more organically and remain more up to date.
  • Clarify what a national strategy is – e.g. German CS strategy vs. US national strategy, federal community of practice frameworks as scaffolding and agencies.
  • Think of including the US as a case, too.

Download Report