ECSA 2016: Open Science – Policy Innovation & Social Impact (Day 1 afternoon)

wp-1463667147107.jpgSee the first post of the day here. After the afternoon break, the second afternoon panel was dedicated to started with Innovative approaches to civic engagement, learning & education

Chair/Organiser: Taru Peltola French National Institute for Environmental and Agricultural Science and Research

Michael J.O. Pocock Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, UK. Defined himself as an ecologist who is interested in citizen science. He is interested in ecosystem services and what way is it to engage people and communicate to people about such issue – which led to the hypothesis led citizen science in the Conker  Tree Science. This includes ecosystem services, invasive species and other ecological discussions within the interaction. Challenge is finding if the educataional benefits that are assumed are happening. The is also experience from the Biological Records Centre, which has been working for 50 years with different group and enthiast groups. BRC provide support through infrastructure, but the communities are learning and developing themselves. Meaningful interactions – we can mass communication, but the mass participation allow deeper engagement. Also there are questions that are coming from the community of the people that were involved, and there was no response from the thousands of participants. However, direct emails and contacts raised research questions, but the level of engagement in this part of the project limited

wp-1463667959231.jpgDavid  , Haus der Zukunft, Germany – the house of the future – the reality lab is a lab to allow people to create their own future. They want to enable people to share the future. There issues that they are exploring today are complex – such as data security so trying to go through your own process. They are thinking about apps that help people to see what information is being collected so they can think about the implications. The type of engagement that they are trying to achieve is hard and they can reach 50 people face to face, but aim to have apps and toolkits to allow more people to be involved – e.g. through games which helping to understand issues.

Isabelle Arpin IRSTEA, France. As a sociologist, she research citizen science – gardeners from Grenoble, which is about management based on insects instead of pestisides. The city wanted to connvince the gardeners that the approach was appropriate. The citizen science was means to convince gardeners that the approach was valid. They were trying to show that they’ll experience more butterfly. There was a scoe of change for the gardeners in their personal and professional life. The gardeners were not highly educated but as they were engaged, they learned more about insects. It’s not spontenous to notice things (e.g. attnetion to insects). There are technologies of attnetion that make people aware of new things in their area.

Marie Céline Loibl Sparkling Science Austria, Federal Ministry of Science, Research and Economy, Austria. The research of citizen science in Austria – well funded range of projects of involving people in many fields of work, and the scope have developed may universities – 450 schools, over 50 universities with interest to work in authentic research situation. It’s about offering people to fund research and only project that can be run with you. Most students are involved because of guidance by teachers, not only by the students themselves, volunteering people – but all the projects have difficult phase in the middle of knowing how to go through the project, but when it works it is amazing

Mike Sharples The Open University, UK 16:00  the Open University is about inclusive research, and they have been working to allow people to do open inquiry rhough nQuire-it where people can create missions and proposed investigation. On the platform it is easy to create a session and then using mobile phones as the measuring device. The app unlock sensors on the phone and see link between air pressure and percipitation. The professional scientists – engaging professional and creating sustainable community is a challenge. You need to moderatee and facilitate an inquiry to make it both sustainable and successful, and without it it will not be successful Experts can help in understanding calibration, data reliability and more. Asking birds and relationships to noise are open questions, but there is value in the learning.

Which budget should be used: research money or public engagement. Marie is using official money, the open university are getting money from research, trusts, volunteers and more. Michael get funding from the government research and others. Is it possible to get ‘research money’ to do citizen science? The FWF in austria started providing additional funding for citizen science for projects. This is also happening in the H2020 level. Michael – citizen science is quality science but percieved as risky, and make research funders reluctant to invest in it. Looking at cost and benefits of citizen science, which was challenging. There are risks but the benefits are especially big when it works. There are also innovations that helped the EU.

How to measure engagement? is it quantity or quality? Marie – in Austria they offered awards to citizen science activities to encourage the incentives carefully – to make sure that data is valid. There are issues about quality of conversation and check that they lead to shared understanding – e.g. how you calibrate instruments. Looking at the conversations and outcomes. David – quality of engagement should be the top. There are challenges and funders sometime want to see high number of participation. Isabel – the importance was the engagement of gardeners was about quality and not quality. It is important to have trust and not just forced to interact with highly educated people.

Is citizen science about generating new science in civic engagement or engagement. Mike – they try to learn good science and good learning. David – the open agricultural project of MIT is carrying a message of decentralised agriculture and also doing good research Michael – citizen science is central to my work, but it is not possible to do the science without that. Equaly, engaging with people give benefits to both side. The worst words in citizen science are ‘they should’. Marie – there is a need to integrate both. Isabel – there can be a focus on engagement that also lead to science.

16:45 Citizen Science strategy and impact development in Germany Aletta Bonn, Katrin Vohland & GEWISS team Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research – UFZ, German Center for integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv), Museum für Naturkunde Berlin, Germany. The experience in Germany they saw hopes from government, NGOs and researchers – thinking about the added value of citizen science. The project funded by the ministry of science and education. They created a platform that reframe citizen science platform, providing events, interaction, discussions etc. Key insights: there was a question about the definition of citizen science – near a clear definition, but keep it open. At the core, these are questions about cooperation and participation and what conditions are needed for it. There is mutual learning which is under exploit area. The results is a green book with the strategy. A video show the details participatory process that they went through to arrive to the paper.

Some core issues in the consultation includes: fairness in participation process, sustainbility of collaobrative activites, and move towards responsible research and innovation. People comments include fun but also ‘science should be accessible to everyone’. There are in position papers different views of where citizen science fit. In the institutions, researchers thought that it should be in data collection and maybe disseminatio. but civil society organisations seen a much wider role – less in design, but everywhere else. The recommendation include strengthening existing structures: networking, funding instruments, citizen science training and volunteer management, and synergies with science communication. Understanding different roles. There was also a recommendation to think of new structures – building a culture of vluing citizen science in society, science and policy. We need data quality and data management and the last recommendation is to integrate citizen science in scientific processes, in education and in decision making =. They aim to move from green to white paper.

17:00 Citizen Science as an input for better policy formulation & implementation Chairs/Organisers: Jose Miguel Rubio-Iglesias DG Research & Innovation, European Commission, & Susana Nascimento Joint Research Centre – JRC, European Commission New order of panelists

Lea Shanley co-Execuctive Director, South Big Data Innovation Hub at Renaissance Computing Institute (RENCI), University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, USA experience from tribal mapping to policy engagement in washington. In 2010 she looked at public involvement in managing NASA assets. There is a citizen science act to help federal agencies to get hrough it – basic legislation that give authorisation to agencies to do what they want to achieve. These were concepts that work in the senate, but then reachign out to 60 organisations and people and then integrate the results into the legaslistic process

Roger Owen Head of Ecology, Scottish Environment Protection Agency, UK. There is a distinction between participation and citizen science. There is a long tradition in the UK of using citizen science data for decision making, but if we want to get into behaviour change, we need better dialogues and enagement. This is indeed top down – EPAs know what they got to do, and they tend to commission top-down process, but then they need to also thinking about other observers and what they are interested in, and we need to feed back what they are doing with data and how it is used in decision making

Christian Herbst Deputy head of Strategic Foresight and Science Communication, Federal Ministry of Education and Research, Germany. The interest started from science communication perspective during the year of science. They see citizen science as part of science communication. The coalition treaty stated that it should bring participation and science communication together. Bringing society and science together – involve more people in science. We need quality and quantity – we need to invovled a lot of people. We need to have dialogues with citizens about science and need to initate decision making process, co-design and co-production can be integrated in decision preparation phases – that’s an area for citizen sciecne now.

Sven Schade Joint Research Centre – JRC, European Commission. JRC is an internal science service for the EC. The process that the JRC done was to look at data driven information. They started in 2012 to look at crowdsourced data, but then more and more citizen science. They have just published a report about data management in citizen science – over 120 projects, and most in the environmental area. They are now moving to look at the way citizen science can be used to influence decision making. It doesn’t influence the process.

Elena Montani Policy Officer, Knowledge, Risks and Urban Environment Unit, DG Environment, European Commission. Policy making is slow, especially when new technologies emerge. So they are reflecting on how they can integrate citizen science in decision making process. There is big potential: behaviour change, economics – showing that it will be cost effective, there are no success stories at member states to integrate into a wider framework. There is environmental knowledge community, and exploring how new forms of knowledge are emerging – looking specifically about Nature 2000 areas. They accept the challenges and als othe opportuntiies . Apps are easy to use about noise, but they can be contradictory to official records, so need to consider how to reconcile these forms of data collection.

Lea – they are building on the long work of Cornel, and the federal government agencies there were a range of interest across the board – but they found agency staff that were interested, but didn’t know what to do. They began by linking champions through the federal community of practice – with funding from the Sloan foundation, they commissioned studies to deal with barriers – data quality, privacy, costs and created case studies approach. We also use to set together of case studies that demonstrated success. The ‘new visions on citizen science’ worked well to promote attention – getting high level support to such action. There is risk averse approach at federal agencies, and working through high level bodies such as the White House allowed the development of list of tools, and get their commitment – have executive on record that it is permitted.

Martin – we need to educate policy makers about the need to integrate citizen science. Sven – there is another level in the EU – the 28 member states have their own understanding, culture, approaches, regulations and systems. There are plenty of success stories at the national level across the board. Christian – although government provide funding for governmental guidelines, but in the end, but there is a need to listen to people and understand more about citizen science. Citizen science is about getting involved with science, which will influence scientific decision making. There is scientists opposition to citzien science – see it as a danger. Martin – use of citizen science for data collection – to what degree can they use the information for decision making, Roger – the anglers monitoring initative show us that the aggragated data does provide early warning to the professionals. Data can be filtered and use properly for decision making. Sven – there are ways to measure lakes in Finland that provide new information that can be tested. Lea – in the federal government they talk about augmenting and filling the gaps, not about replacing. Elena – the EU is interested in encouraging participation – as part of Aarhus convention. Roger – air quality as a method to engage people and see how policies are in terms of effectiveness. Elena – They are potential that cannot be ignores . Sven – at different levels there are different needs and approaches. Christian – participation is different at different levels: local, regional and national.

Can citizen science help us in understanding the how? Roger – yes, it give us an understanding of how to do things not just in what. What do we need to tell policy makers? Elena – how the data that is provided can be integrated into their policies, and need to be reassured that it is comparable, and also what it brings to society – need dialogue: there is utilitaristic approach from institutions to reduce cost of data gathering. Lea – another way of understanding what the citizens want, understanding of improving the missions of the organisation. Link the priorities to the interests of the policy maker. Sven – the opportunity is part of the digital single market as an entry point. Christian – there is also the potential of social innovation. Give new ideas to policy makers. Roger – regarding standards for citizen science, not simple, but SEPA develop the choosing and using citizen science guide. Sven – in basic services there are inteoprability standrads, Lea – for some data need to match standards. ECSA already published two policy paper. Questions to the audience: what are the experience of working with policy? what tools help with that? Christian – how many think that citizen science is about impact on policy making – an aspect but not the only. Roger – success of citizen science is aobut changing people behaviour – quite a lot of people.

Last question: one term – inequality: participation, opportunity, knowledge. Christian suggest that every citizen science should include dealing with inequality. Roger – interest in reaching hard to reach and marginalised communities, through dealing with housing association. Alena – citizen science is about dealing with inequality. We cannot field the gaps without full participation. Need to empower people that are not empowered. Christian – very important issue, as people across Europe are opposing political systems. We need to engage more people in scientific processes. We need spectrum of projects. LEa – pariticpatory mapping community have done that for many years, giving people a seat at the table. They reached out to groups who are doing social science data. Sven – citizen science is one approach but it can be used to help with inequality. LEa – there is also controversy about citizen science


Aletta – observations: we had an inspiring day and we can think of new questions that are being asked and how people in the conference and outside the society address them. The diversity of the field is very rich in experience and knwoledge. It is exploding on twitter (and there is this blog). There are new books