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Citizen science

Citizen science is an umbrella term. It describes a range of ways to involve citizens and societal actors such as NGOs in collaborative knowledge production: crowdsourcing research questions, collective data gathering and analysis (to name a few examples).

Citizen science methods can be applied in any domain of research and can be initiated either by the researcher or by a community with an interest or concern about a topic or issue.

Citizen science adds value because it helps to gather data that might otherwise not be available or be overlooked. This might include local observations and lived-experience insights, and data with a broader geographical or temporal spread.It also helps to create the shared ownership and momentum needed to jointly addressing urgent societal issues such as public health, climate change, and biodiversity collapse.

Citizen Science Lab

Leiden University is unique in already having a Citizen Science Lab, based in the Center for Science and Technology Studies (CWTS). The Citizen Science Lab is a knowledge hub and project incubator, as well as a research center on the ‘science of citizen science’.

Through the Academia in Motion programme, we are working on making citizen science and other societal engagement practices a more integral part of research, education, clinical practices, and societal activities across the university in all domains.

Our ambitions:

  1. A knowledge hub of best practices and novel applications is created by the Citizen Science Lab, gathering together existing know-how and experience from across the faculties of Leiden University.
  2. Case studies and examples of the value and impacts of various participatory practices are shared across the research community to raise awareness of the potential of citizen science.
  3. Dedicated webinars, workshops, and training sessions are provided to support this knowledge exchange and mutual learning, to build capacity in all domains of research, and to further develop best practice together.
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