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United Nations, December 2016 - Participatory Research, Citizen Sciences and Fab Labs for Peace and Development - Annual International Conference

High Level Workshop See detailled presentation

United Nations, December 2016 - Participatory Research, Citizen Sciences and Fab Labs for Peace and Development - Annual International Conference

High Level Workshop See detailled presentation

Home > Records > Participatory Research, Citizen Sciences and Fab Labs for Peace and Sustainable Development Goals > United Nations, December 2016 - Participatory Research, Citizen Sciences and Fab Labs for Peace and Development - Annual International Conference

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Minutes from the 2016 Conference :

International Annual Conference on the Participatory Researches, Citizen Sciences and Fab Labs
December 12-16, 2016
United Nations, Geneva, Switzerland

Here is the page of Minutes of a former Conference. To see the Program of this year, please look on this Program of Conference

Wednesday December 14, 2016
from 09:00 to 12:00

Presentations were in both English and French. Debates and questions were organized in both English and French.

Leading Projects of Education to Science and Citizen Sciences since 1992, and creating 1st Participatory Researches Camps in 2004, the NGO Objective Sciences International have the Special Consultative Status to United Nations. Active in all continents, the NGO organize every year, since 2012, the International Annual Conference on Rights of Nature in United Nations, at which one participate all Governments actives in this domain or interested by these works. From 2016, and every year, OSI organize into the heart of the United Nations hemicycle the International Annual Conference on the Citizen Sciences and Participatory Researches, in order to allow all the actors and operators in these domains to exchange, meet and share directly and at the largest international level.

Crowd Sourced Sciences

Operators of Citizen Sciences who exchange already at national and continental levels (Europe, America, Asia, Africa, Middle-East...) and who desire to discuss together, and share practices and solutions, at the world level, meet together at the Annual International Conference organized in the United Nations.

Fab Labs / Citizen Science / Participative Researches

Several public or associative organizations that are active in the domain of Citizen Sciences or Participative Research, federated or organized, at the national level. The main national actors, the federations, and the specific operators, organized presently at the international level, and are called to meet annually at the end of the civil year, at the International Annual Conference on the Citizen Sciences and the Participative Researches, at United Nations, in Geneva.

This annual space of sharing results and pooling of skills, allow to the actors of the domain to exchange practices, solutions, ideas, needs.

Your Annual Exchanges Resource

In the following of the national and continental meetings that are organized in each country and continent by the local federation, this International Annual Conference at United Nations allow the actors to implement in consultation, or to inform mutually, of progress and actions they lead during the year, or that they have in project.

The participants at this Conference were:

  • Local and regional actors of different countries
  • Thematic Actors by scientific disciplines
  • Regional or national federations
  • Thematic Federations, by scientific disciplines
  • Large Institutions of Science or Education
  • Government departments (Education, Research, Environment, Industry ...) and international associations of Ministries
  • Specialized Journalists (science, environment, education, sustainable development ...)
  • UN agencies (UNDP, UNEP ...)

Subjects on the agenda in December 2016 were:

  • Standards and references of exchange on Citizen Science practices between national and international organizations
  • National and international Charts of Citizen Science, examples, projects, ongoing discussions of shares
  • Financing Solutions of the actions of Citizen Science
  • Access of citizen actors to the Research beyond their simple contributions
  • Administrative Status / legislative / recognition / etc of actors of Citizen Science projects
  • The Citizen Research, beyond the digital interface
    - * Expected Features of web portals of Citizen Science
  • Services for Citizen Science provided by FabLabs
  • Dissemination and Exploitation of the results to the uninvolved Big Public
  • Road map for the mutual opening of the data collected

Detailed Program

Discussions between stakeholders of the meeting took place in a round table between speakers and debates with the audience of the Assembly.

Organiser : NGO Objective Sciences International, Geneva
Chairman : Thomas EGLI, President of Objective Sciences International
Moderator : Heiner BENKING, Member of the Advisory Board of European Citizen Science Association

09:00 – Opening of the Conference


09:30 - Introduction

09:30 - 15’
Opening Remarks
Recall of concepts of the International Annual Conference
Thomas EGLI, President of the NGO Objective Sciences International

Sub-group 1

Citizen seismology: from risk awareness to risk reduction

Seismology has always been an observational science and until the development of modern seismic networks in the 1960’s citizens’ testimonies were the main source of information about earthquakes. The role of citizens is growing again thanks to the developments of Internet and the rapid adoption of smartphones and extend in various directions from citizens operated networks using cheap MEMS sensors to massive to rapid crowdsourcing of testimonies or geo-located pics after damaging earthquakes. More recently, it was demonstrated during the catastrophic Nepal earthquake in April 2015 that smartphone apps, thanks to the two-way communication channels they offer could contribute to risk reduction by providing timely and geo-targeted information to people affected by violent shaking to limit inappropriate behaviors and errors and reduce anxiety.
Remy BOSSU, (CEA, Bruyères-le-Châtel), Seismologist at Euro-Med Seismological Centre, pioneer in the field of citizen seismology, France,

Presentation - Remy Bossu

Opisthobranch monitoring by citizen science in the Catalan coast

The Catalan Opisthobranch Research Group (GROC) is avoluntary-based, non-governmental organization focused on opisthobranch monitoring along the Mediterranean coast of Catalonia (NE Spain). The main research objective of GROC is to set phenological patterns and geographic and bathymetric distribution of the main opisthobranch species found in shallow waters. Opisthobranch data is obtained through citizen science, i.e. volunteer divers previously trained by the organization who apply standardized protocols and share their observations and underwater photographs in an online database. In the last two years 217 different divers registered 1,159 dives and 49,346 occurrences of 169 different opisthobranch species in the website. These observations increased 15% the number of sea slug species known from the study area, from 205 in 2007 (Ballesteros, 2007) to 236 in 2015. Some of these observations not only enlarge the species distribution, but are also some of the scarce records worldwide, e.g. Lomanotus barlettai (3 rd and 4 th ), Pseudoilbia avellana (3 rd ), or Runcina bahiensis (3 rd ). Moreover, our preliminary data on opisthobranch phenology reveals different patterns among species, thus reinforcing the need of long term monitoring of some elusive species. We proved citizen science is a very powerful tool for opisthobranch ecology research when volunteers are properly trained and sampling protocols, identification resources, and web-based tools are available. However, taxonomic courses and a good data validation mechanism seem to be the key to avoid misidentifications in these kinds of projects.
Mr Guillem Mas Cornet, Catalan Opisthobranch Research Group (GROC), Espagna,

Presentation - Guillem Mas Cornet

“Expedition Münsterland” A bridge from science to society and from the city to the Hinterland

The idea of Expedition Münsterland, as an outreach strategy was born when reflecting upon the importance of the WWUs’ regional competence. How to apply approved means of the internationalization process for an outreaching regionalization of science activities towards the universities’ urban Hinterland.
Since 2010, an unconventional research community repeatedly sets off on expeditions supported and moderated by the WWUs’ Innovation Office (AFO) to discover and explore unknown or forgotten places and themes in the rural living environment of citizens of the urban Hinterland of Münster/Germany. The agenda for the numerous and diverse expeditions is mainly based on the input from citizens and leads to further community-based research by the various university departments. Key factors of the Expedition Münsterland are to increase regional prosperity, to stimulate mutual exchange between the region and its university and to take on social and ecological responsibility for the urban Hinterland.
Citizen Sciences nowadays play an increasing role within the dialogue between universities, as doors will be opened for an active exchange between science and society, which ideally could lead to a better democratisation of science, meaning here a better mutual understanding of science and society and scientists and citizens. Gaining knowledge largely depends, amongst others on motivation, inspiration and participation.
Those three aspects were actively targeted during the “Expedition for Peace”, a flagship project within the framework of the Expedition Münsterland. The “Expedition for Peace” is a prominent example for community-based research and took place along the year 2014 and 2015. The aim of the numerous projects of the “Expedition for Peace” was to facilitate a participatory approach to common war memories of World War I and to identify common ways and means for presentations. By the purposeful combination of art, science and citizens new and unconventional ways of knowledge transfer and mediation of history could be struck out in new directions. Formats used within the “Expedition for Peace” were exhibitions, excursions, talks, theatre pieces, and publications - all together based on contributions by citizens as well as professional scientists. Numerous actors from heterogenic fields of expertise worked together from the very beginning of the project, the thematic and conceptual setting, to the research work, till the final public presentation. Amongst others a historical bicycle-guide was published, dealing with the history of existing and non-existing peace-memorials in the Münsterland.
The “Expedition for Peace” was ruled out in the city of Münster, as well as in the urban Hinterland, involved actors with various backgrounds, brought scientific knowledge to citizens and vise versa and further sensibilised both, habitants of the city and of the rural area for their neighborhood. Forgotten historical places were woken from their long sleep and brought back to people’s attention and interest.
Dr. Wilhelm Bauhus, Head of the Innovation Office (AFO), WWU Münster/Germany
Anne Harnack, Project Coordination and Project Conception, Innovation Office, WWU Münster/Germany

Presentation - Anne Harnack

Project Noah: Challenges of a worldwide platform for citizen science

Project Noah (Networked Organisms and Habitats) is an award-winning mobile and web platform designed to help people document their nature sightings. Originally launched out of New York University in 2010, the project became a joint venture with National Geographic and the go-to community for amateurs worldwide. The experience is built around a simple and engaging interface that caters to entry-level casual naturalists while still providing a structure for complete ecological records. An emphasis on mobile technology makes it accessible and a tool of choice for fieldwork. Currently Project Noah counts over 325K registered users worldwide and over 500K mobile app downloads, more than 780K observations (each observation can contain up to 6 geo-tagged photos and a video) from all 7 continents spanning 10 categories of living organisms (including several newly described species), and over 430K followers on social media. Individuals, organizations and schools can create their own specific missions, while the mobile app comes with a field guide option letting users see what species have been spotted around their current location. Project Noah also generated two spin-off products: a tablet app for an educational platform developed by Amplify, and a mobile app for visitors of the US Fish & Wildlife refuge network. In its 6 years of existence Project Noah has motivated countless users to share wildlife observations and join local conservation projects, and has inspired young users to pursue careers in science. Yet, filling the spot between professional scientists and a large web-based international community of casual naturalists has come with multiple challenges. The app is free to use for hobbyists as well as institutions, and doesn’t generate the revenue needed for proper ongoing support and development. Thus Project Noah is still to manifest its true potential to make an impact on science and conservation. Project Noah’s true value lies in a tightly knit international community of wildlife spotters and its collection of over 1.5 million geo-tagged images which has yet to be properly mined. These issues will be discussed in the context of data validation, standardization and transfer across platforms, strategies to keep communities involved and the financing of citizen science.
Danièle Pralong and Yasser Ansari, Switzerland/USA

Presentation - Danièle Pralong

Sub-group 2

Sciences shops et tiers-lieux de fabrication numérique au service du bien commun : conditions de naissance et de durabilité en Afrique subsaharienne.
Depuis janvier 2015, le Centre de Recherche pour le Développement International (CRDI) du Canada, à travers le réseau Open and Collaborative Science for Development (OCSDNet), finance le Projet SOHA (Science Ouverte en Haïti et en Afrique, Sous le titre intégral de science ouverte (Open science) comme outil de développement du pouvoir d’agir et de la justice cognitive en Haïti et en Afrique francophone, nous avons conduit une recherche-action avec un double objectif. Premièrement, documenter les obstacles au rapprochement entre université-société; deuxièmement, proposer des solutions adaptées pour un développement durable local et juste.
Pour cela, nous avons distribué un questionnaire sur le rôle de la science dans la société, la littératie et les ressources numériques (en ligne et physiquement) aux étudiants de dix-neuf pays d’Afrique francophone et d’Haïti. Au cours de cette enquête qui s’est déroulée de mai 2015 à février 2016, nous avons obtenu un total de 848 réponses accessibles sur la plateforme Zenodo ( Au-delà du questionnaire, nous avons fait de l’observation, collecter des témoignages audio et vidéo lors de nos colloques, réaliser des entretiens à partir de notre groupe Facebook (notre plateforme de travail) de plus de 3300 membres ( Tout ce matériel a permis de décrire neuf situations d’injustice cognitive qui vont du mépris des savoirs locaux à l’absence d’infrastructures numériques, en passant par la langue, la pédagogie de l’humiliation, etc.
Dans une perspective de développement durable local et juste, les sciences citoyennes paraissent être un puissant moyen d’ouverture, d’inclusion et de contribution pour combattre ces injustices. C’est pourquoi nous accordons une importance particulière aux espaces de médiation et d’interactions entre la société civile et les universités. Toutefois, nous souhaitons que cette collaboration soit au service du bien commun et qu’elle ne vire pas vers le capitalisme cognitif et l’exploitation des citoyens.
D’après nos recherches, les structures qui pourraient conserver une telle neutralité sont : les sciences shops et les tiers-lieux de fabrication numérique (Fablab, makerspace, hakerspace…). Sur la base des cas concrets de création et d’implantation (en cours) de ces structures, cette présentation sera axée sur leurs conditions de naissance et de durabilité en Afrique subsaharienne.
Thomas Hervé Mboa Nkoudou est actuellement doctorant en communication publique à l’Université Laval. Sa thèse porte sur les conditions d’existence et de fonctionnement des tiers-lieux de fabrication numérique en Afrique subsaharienne, dans une perspective de justice cognitive et de développement durable local. Biochimiste de formation, il est diplômé de l’École Normale Supérieure de Yaoundé (enseignant de biologie au secondaire) et didacticien des sciences (maîtrise de la faculté des sciences de l’éducation de l’Université Laval). Il est par ailleurs, le président de l’APSOHA, Association pour la promotion de la science ouverte en Haïti et en Afrique francophone.
Mr Thomas Hervé MBOA NKOUDOU, Canada/Cameroun, Projet SOHA/Université Laval (Canada),

Presentation - Thomas Hervé

Project Discovery: Citizen science in video games

Project Discovery was one of the biggest citizen science efforts of 2016 - generating over 14 million protein location classifications by players of EVE Online, and receiving a worldwide recognition in high-profile scientific journals like Nature Methods and also in the mainstream press: The New Yorker, the Wall Street Journal, Wired, Independent, Neue Zürcher Zeitung and many other journals.
The core concept comes from Massively Multiplayer Online Science (MMOS): to connect scientific research and video games as a seamless gaming experience. Research tasks completely integrated with game mechanics, narrative and visuals can open up a new channel between the gamer and the scientific community. Converting a small fraction of the billions of hours spent with playing video games brings an enormous contribution to scientific research, and in the meantime changes how video games’ expertise is perceived - and thus the general perception of games. It is also invaluable as an educational tool and as scientific outreach.
MM Bernard Ravaz and Attila Szantner, Hungary and Switzerland, MMOS (partners CCP, Human Protein Atlas, Université de Genève, Département d’Astronomie de l’Université de Genève),

Presentation - Bernard Ravaz

‘Glideways’: An innovative approach to delivering connectivity conservation in the Great Eastern Ranges

Connectivity conservation involves the coordinated delivery of an integrated set of onground actions across public and private land to maintain, restore and reconnect habitat. The goal of large-scale connectivity conservation projects such as the Great Eastern Ranges Initiative (GER) is to enhance the functional connectivity of landscapes across large areas (>1 million hectares), enhancing the resilience of natural systems to absorb external pressures, adapt to change, and recover from disturbance. Since 2007, GER has employed collaborative partnership efforts to restore connectivity and core habitat values across 3,600km of land spanning the Great Dividing Range and Eastern Escarpment from Far North Queensland to Victoria. In 2015, GER in partnership with the Foundation for National Parks & Wildlife, launched ‘Glideways’ – a suite of collaborative projects which integrate otherwise disparate conservation and NRM efforts to maintain core habitat areas, connect linkages and restore natural dispersal pathways for the six described arboreal gliding possums found within the corridor. Glideways brings together conservation and Landcare groups, NRM bodies, public land managers and other stakeholders to coordinate available resources, skills and knowledge and create ‘corridors of effort’ across public and private lands. With funding from the Foundation, Australian Government, NSW Environmental Trust and private industry, Glideways is increasing the uptake of a range of private land conservation instruments, involving landholders and local communities in citizen science projects to map and monitor glider populations, encouraging schools and Aboriginal groups to participate in teaching and traditional knowledge sharing, and restoring large areas of sub-optimal habitat through the planting of glider feed species, nest box installation, and the management of threatening processes. By 2025, Glideways aims to secure a future for Australia’s iconic gliders across the GER corridor, whilst benefitting the multitude of other species with similar habitat and movement needs.
Mrs Mary Bonet, Great Eastern Ranges Initiative- Glideways, Australia,

Presentation - Mary Bonet

Sub-group 3

Créer des vagues : construire la légitimité des Sciences Citoyennes Marines, pour la prise en compte des données récoltées

La participation de volontaires dans des projets de science participative marine a une valeur intrinsèque pour le renforcement des capacités communautaires et l’éducation. Mais comment pouvons-nous traduire les résultats des projets de science participative en des résultats utiles et stratégiques et en lesquels on peut avoir confiance, et qui ont des applications claires pour la gestion des ressources naturelles?
Reef Check est le programme officiel de surveillance des récifs coralliens des Nations Unies. Depuis 2001, Reef Check Australie (RCA) a facilité des projets de recherche sur le terrain et l’enseignement de la science participative marine. Reef Check (RCA) le programme de surveillance de l’Australie est, un programme de surveillance de la santé des récifs qui forme des bénévoles pour recueillir des données sur la composition des récifs, l’abondance des organismes indicateurs (invertébrés et poissons) et impacts sur la santé des récifs, en utilisant un protocole standardisé à l’échelle mondiale. Les relevés de RCA sont effectués par des bénévoles qui ont mené plus de 600 relevés sur les récifs d’Australie à plus de 60 sites prioritaire le long de la côte du Queensland.
Quatre études de cas mettent en valeur les leçons apprises pour le développement stratégique de possibilités pour l’application des données récoltées.

  1. Identifier et répondre aux besoins de données en construisant un programme de surveillance des récifs coralliens subtropicaux par des bénévoles dans le sud-est du Queensland.
  2. la qualité des données de la science participative démontrée en partageant les résultats d’une étude de précision des bénévoles et 14 ans de données de Reef Check Australie sur la santé des récifs dans le Queensland.
  3. Promouvoir la collaboration scientifique par le biais d’une collaboration avec l’Université du Queensland Groupe biophysique de télédétection pour entreprendre des évaluations multi-couches des habitats récifaux.
  4. Faciliter des réseaux plus solides au sein de science citoyenne et avec les organismes de gestion dans le cadre de l’alliance de science participative de la grande barrière de corail d’Australie.
    Ces études de cas offrent un aperçu des approches possibles pour mettre en valeur le travail des bénévoles, ce qui démontre la valeur pour les parties prenantes. Elles démontrent la capacité de la science participative de produire des résultats significatifs grâce à des applications dans la recherche et dans la gestion du patrimoine naturel.
    Jennifer Loder (Reef Check Australia), Terry Done (Reef Check Australia), Chris Roelfsema (University of Queensland Biophysical Remote Sensing Group), Annie Bauer (Reef Check Australia), Alex Lea (Reef Check Australia), Jodi Salmond (Reef Check Australia), Marie-Lise Schläppy (Environmental Research Institute, University of the Highlands and Islands, United Kingdom)
Presentation - Marie-Lise Schlappy

You’re never too young to be a research scientist

The Institute for Research in Schools (IRIS) is a UK registered charity, which invites young scientists to contribute to the forefront of science and technology whilst they are still at school. We encourage and enable secondary schools and colleges to involve their students in authentic research.
School students are bold, prepared to take risks and creative. IRIS aims to support teachers, so that they can support their students to make their own discoveries. Through bespoke accredited CPD programmes, downloadable classroom material and dedicated staff we empower teachers across the UK. We are developing this across a number of programmes including space science, particle physics, material science, transport, marine science and biomedical science. As well as inspiring the scientists, engineers and scientifically aware citizens of the future, teachers can reconnect with their subject and rise above the constraints of teaching to the test. Many students have published research and are making a difference at the forefront of science and innovation.
Professor Becky Parker, Director of the Institute for Research in Schools (Royal Society Kavli Education Medal winner) will outline what IRIS had achieved and how to roll this out much more widely
Mrs Becky Parker, Institute for Research in Schools, United Kingdom,

Presentation - Becky Parker

Phenoclim : Participatory science at the heart of the dialogue between researchers and societies
The Research Center for Alpine Ecosystems (CREA Mont-Blanc) is a scientific and educational Non-Governmental Organization working on the ecology of mountain ecosystems. It is based in the heart of the Mont-Blanc in Chamonix since 1996. Its unique structure allows the CREA Mont-Blanc to focus both on doing research and raising awareness amongst citizens. Phénoclim is one of the oldest participatory science programs in France, mixing rigorous science with environmental senzitisation. Phénoclim is studying, through participatory science and usage of high technology, the link between the seasonal cycles of flora/fauna and climate change. This protocol is suitable for General public and can be applied to all mountain environments. For 12 years, 5,000 volunteers (individuals, schools, protected areas, associations, company) all around the Alps and beyond have been measuring the impact of climate change on the seasonal cycles of 17 species of moutain fauna and flora. Although the reseachers remain available at any time to interact with the participants, they are not necessarily always involved with students. CREA uses educational relays. Phénoclim represents 138 active classes with students of an average age of 10. For 2 years now, the CREA and the telecommunication company Orange have been associated for a unique partnership. The partnership does not include any financial conditions. It favors a transfer of skills and technologies between the two structures. For instance, technicians of a local unit from Orange take care of the maintenance of CREA weather stations. They do so voluntarily, out of their working schedule. Also, the web developers of Orange are involved in designing and securing scientific databases and participate in coding visualization modules. All employees are invited to participate in Phénoclim. CREA will present how the partnership was born and how the cross sharing of technical skills can be used to promote innovation in citizen science. The CREA Mont-Blanc targets both public and private decision-makers, at local and broader scales. The CREA offers scientific analysis and indicators of change to support them in their management decisions. The CREA also collaborate with researchers through its platform Atlas Mont-Blanc. The platform gathers all the transdsciplinary researchs carried out on the Mont-Blanc massif, offering an extensive overview of the scientific effort. All this data is open source and made accessible to everyone through user-friendly modules. Empowering the general public to best react to the undergoing ecological changes in mountain environment is at the heart of CREA’s mission - through an active citizen science approach, multimedia tools, conferences and scientific hikes, and thanks to trained and informed partners acting as relays (educators, mountain leaders, journalists...). The CREA Mont-Blanc is implementing an innovative form of tourism. Last year, the CREA launched the first "citizen science ecotours" : CREA is planning on offering training sessions for mountain leaders on climate change. Based on its expertise in citizen Science, the speaker of the CREA will address how the learning process of a scientific approach through citizen science participatory programs fosters the dialogue between science and society. Read more Phenoclim, Citizen science in mountain environments ( Phenoclim is a scientific and educational programme that invites the public to measure the impact of climate change on mountain fauna and flora. Research Center for Alpine Ecosystems (CREA Mont-Blanc) ( The Mont-Blanc Atlas, a participatory lab of mountain biodiversity ( The Mont-Blanc Atlas builds on the exceptional character of this massif, both an iconic mountain and a unique field of study to understand the current environmental changes
Mrs Marie PACHOUD, Mr Bruno CUBIZOLLE, Mrs Charlotte MADER, Mrs Irene Alvarez, Research Center for Alpine Ecosystems (CREA Mont-Blanc),

Presentation - Phenoclim

Sub-group 4

Citizen Science: Balancing civic engagement and scientific needs, conflict lines and potential solutions

Citizen Science (S) has become a buzz word in politics and the scientific community. As the demand to improve public access to science (e.g. participatory research, decision-making processes on science funding) increases, the question about the role of citizen science arises. Whereas some see CS as a tool to generate more acess to science, others see "professional" science endangered by inferior data and research methods. On top of this discussion, there is a divide between academia and civil society organisations (CSOs) about the true "cost" of managing volunteers and the real "price" of free data - questions of finance are inherent to this discussion. In order to make a case to advance CS concepts, these bridges have to be crossed, hence enabling joint approaches to design, manage and publish data from CS projects that have an impact on science.
NABU, Germany’s oldest member-based nature conservation CSO with more than 590,000 members, has had a long experience in implementing local CS projects long before they were described as such. In addition, it has engaged in granting public input into the discussion about CS strategies on various levels.
Mr Eick VON RUSCHKOWSKI, Naturschutzbund Deutschland (NABU),

Presentation - Eick von Ruschkowski

Impliquer des Volontaires au sein de votre Programme de Sciences Citoyennes

Citizen science projects are not created by following a road map. They are all different. With citizen science, some projects have educational goals while others are focused on collecting scientific data. Likewise, some citizen science volunteers sign up to volunteer in an effort to help scientists while others may sign up to make sure kids are connected to nature. Matching volunteers with the correct program is very important for both the volunteer and the program. We will discuss this in more detail as well as discuss evaluating citizen science programs based on the various factors.
Melinda HUGHES, President and Co-founder of NATURE ABOUNDS, Pennsylvania, United States, creator of Programs FrogWatch USA, IceWatch USA, Watch the Wild, and Senior Environment Corps (former National Wildlife Federation), USA

Presentation - Melinda Hughes

Citizen Science & Crowdsourcing in the US Government: Advancing Federal: Avancement du Programme Fédéral et Partenariat

The Executive Office of the United States released a memo in 2015 highlighting the advantages of using public participation in scientific research to achieve, scientific and engagement goals within the federal government. The memo also served as a way to institutionalize these methods within different federal agency missions. The two required actions were to (1) appoint a citizen science and crowdsourcing coordinator within an agency and (2) catalogue each agencies effort in this space. Currently the Commons Lab in partnership with the General Services Administration hosts a searchable catalogue with over 300 federally sponsored projects in this space.
In an effort to continue this momentum within the US government, we interviewed the appointed coordinators at 15 agencies to identify priority areas for a new administration. The final report, considered a transition strategy, is an aggregation of all the responses we received in our one-on-one interviews. The results demonstrate the variety of approaches for integrating these methods based on the agency’s mission. This talk will discuss the challenges and areas of opportunities for citizen science and crowdsourcing in the US government moving forward and provide a framework for talking about the administrative role of governments in public participation in scientific research.
In addition it is possible to speak on another study relevant to the thematic areas of this conference:
Citizen Science Stakeholder Analysis: Europe, Australia and the United States
In the emerging field of citizen science the people and organizations that participate in this diverse universe of activities are sometimes difficult to define, and find. As the Citizen Science Association, the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and partners in Europe and Australia embark on initiatives to standardize metadata, data and other aspects related to the success of the citizen science field, it’s crucial to identify which individuals and organizations- within, and outside of the citizen science community- may be impacted by these standardization projects.
Working with three researchers across the citizen science associations, this exploratory study is identifying stakeholders and issues that might arise when a data and metadata standardization is created for the field of citizen science. Since the field is a global phenomenon, we are working with the three continents that have already established associations as an introductory point. Our goal is twofold. First, this research will lay the groundwork for various standardization projects to proceed in an inclusive and sensitive way. Second, the initial stakeholder analysis will set the scene for future country-level research into countries that have flourishing citizen science networks but may not have an official association to represent them. Ideally the results will frame the discussion of creating standards and references of exchanges between national and international organizations. This talk will share the preliminary results from the interviews
Mrs Elizabeth TYSON, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholar,

Presentation - Elizabeth Tyson

The BookBoXX : A civic vocational training, community building, and cultural and media heritage project.

There is a need for youth coming together across fields, languages and cultures. Nobody would doubt that, but how to be inclusive across generations, scales, sectors and media; making use of the various skills, competences and capacities.
The Institute for Sustainability in Education, Work and Culture in Berlin (INBAK) is hosting the “BücherboXX”– (BookboXX) project to bring European vocational training students in exchange programmes together. The aim is to learn via practical implementation and the connected subject terms not only to work together and reach objectives, but build community, look into old and new media, do cultural events but also negotiating their own designs – and eventually even learn the different national languages. Youth is living in “Do Banks” meanwhile the older generation is still talking about “Think Tanks” - how about additionally joint and common efforts?
The practical exchange leads to reflect about the “other” disciplines, the “other peoples” and how to co-create collectively something aesthetic. A practical and even socio-cultural fabric reflects and supports how community is built, how commons are realized and cultivated, and last but not least, what service, sharing and gifting means at home and abroad, and much fun is supporting learning and helping common “evolve”. Multi-lingual, easy DIY handbooks are central issues in Citizen Sciences curricula development.
Flyer as produced for the UNESCO – DESD: Decade for Education for Sustainable Development in 2013. INBAK is also concerned about cultural history and local historic sites and local reading circles, and looks also into socio-cultural pathologies in “negative body image” projects, which has much to do with “drop-out rates in schools and failures in life”.
Essential is the learning across generations – so youth identifies persons they can learn from and help them do not only integrated artistic design, but include all domains and subject areas. One example is to work with established artists who master not only graffiti, but also electric and solar technicians, steel, glass workers and for example carpenters. One other example is the Year in Cultural Preservation – jointly renovating old Houses or Castles, see Jugendbauhütten und Stiftung Denkmalschutz.
One of the often for the INBAK BookboXXes invited artists is JOY LOHMANN. He is the Impresario and Captain, Floating Future Rafts and Open Island constructions and events, performative art projects, not just in Europe….
INBAKs tenets presentation focus is a tour-de-raison of work done with juniors and seniors, volunteers, and project partners initiates and supports bottom-up and group processes, concrete vocational training courses and exercises. Focus has been also on professional orientation years and life-long-learning in earlier years. Its founder has been doing model projects in industry, and the national administration for world-wide projects. Check YouTube documentations with and by the youth from various European countries. - Fasten seatbelts ...
Heiner Benking, INBAK BookboXX project, communications, heiner :
Joy Lohmann, Heiner Benking, Positive Nett-Works e.V. see Future-Raft and Open-Islands projects; s.a.: -

Presentation - Heiner Benking

Sub-group 5

The Open Seventeen Challenge - Crowdsourcing Sustainable Development

In 2015 world leaders signed up to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, fix climate change and tackle inequalities. This effort will only be successful if all stakeholders - be they governments or non-governmental organizations, public or private enterprises, civil society – have relevant and timely data to hold each other accountable. The role of citizens in generating such data, thanks to ubiquitous low-cost technology, is crucial. Using open data, citizens can provide an independent verification mechanisms to make sure that all stakeholders live up to their promises.
The Open Seventeen Challenge is an invitation to pitch projects that use open data and crowdsourcing to tackle the 17 Global Goals at a local, regional or global level. Candidates identify open data relevant to an SDG, for example photos, scanned documents, video clips and tweets. Then they define a crowdsourcing goal with clear, measurable outcomes and submit the idea to Citizen Cyberlab, explaining how it will help to tackle the SDGs. With our partners, we then offer selected candidates support and guidance on how to refine their project concept, and teach them how to ensure data quality, credibility of results, and impact at the policy level. Finally, we help them set up a prototype crowdsourcing app on an open source platform, and promote the project through our networks.
Crowdsourcing enables collecting hard-to-gather data and real-time data for fast decision making – we know that as millions of people around the globe already help professional scientists with tasks that range from monitoring local biodiversity to computing climate change models. The O17 project extends this approach to SDG monitoring, by training key data players to use the help of citizens to fill existing data gaps. It empowers organizations and individuals with the skills necessary to design, implement and run their own crowdsourcing projects, while coaching them in how to ensure measurable impact of their projects.
The Open Seventeen Challenge is a joint initiative launched in 2015 by Citizen Cyberlab, in collaboration with the Governance Lab at NYU, The ONE Campaign, and the crowdsourcing company SciFabric.
In one year of activity the Open Seventeen Challenge has generated more than 25 high-quality project ideas, in areas as diverse as enabling access to generic medicines in Latin America, crowd-mapping sexual violence in India, identifying poverty trends through Open Satellite Data in Mexico and mapping rural Tanzania’s education and health resources.
Mrs Maria Rosa Mondardini, Switzerland, Citizen Cyberlab, University of Geneva,

Presentation - Rosa Mondardini

senseBox - the citizen science toolkit
senseBox:edu is a DIY citizen science toolkit for education allowing secondary school students to build web-enabled sensor stations for environmental phenomena. Students can build and code their own sensor stations, make them a part of the web of things and measure a plethora of environmental phenomena to create open environmental data. Data can be analysed and set in its physical, geographic or environmental contexts. Sensors for temperature, humidity, pressure, illuminance, UV-intensity, loudness, distances can be used to build weather stations, traffic counters or sound- or light pollution stations. The toolkit is accompanied by open educational resources. Students learn to work scientifically, learn to code and make sense of the raw data. The measurements are being made available on the openSenseMap, a web portal for open sensor data, with an easily accessible API.
We deployed 120 senseBox:edu kits it in German schools and school laboratories situated in Universities and conducted one-day workshops with 46 secondary school students. To evaluate and improve the quality of the learning environment we conducted a study. For this purpose we designed a quantitative questionnaire about their experience with the senseBox:edu using items with 5 point Likert scales. The students rated these items to estimate the quality of the project-oriented workshops in terms of the central dimensions of teaching quality, e.g. cognitive activation, structure, student orientation, motivation. Furthermore we asked for the influence of its use on their interests for STEM-subjects, measuring environmental phenomena, citizen science and their interest in coding. The results are very positive in terms of motivation and engagement for environmental and scientific activities, coding and the referring to real world problems and show a very high quality of project-o riented learning.
Mr Thomas BARTOSCHEK, University of Münster, Germany,

Presentation - Thomas Bartoschek

Getting Serious About Citizen Science in Climate Research: From “Data Sampling” to “Co-Design”
The background:
As the gap between lays (citizens) and experts (scientists / professionals) has become deeper and wider over the past decades, trust has been progressively lost to a point where populist movements are fueled by the notion that expert / professional / scientific knowledge should in general be considered as questionable, meaningless or “making things unnecessarily complicated”. Citizen Science has been proposed as a concept to bridge this gap. In essence, Citizen Science is an educative program to re-build participation: participating-by-learning.
The problem:
Initial Citizen Science projects invited lay people to contribute by providing data. In reality, these data were – from the scientific point of view – considered as biased or (at best) as nice-to have because of low data quality and consistency. As a consequence, contributing lay people were frustrated because their initial motivation was neither acknowledged nor valued. Mere crowd-based data collection has been seen as a domain that is probably – on the long run – better served by “big data” approaches than by small networks of irregularly cooperating individuals.
The solution:
We believe that gap between lays and experts can only be bridged if both sides can come together in a project that makes sure to take seriously both the lay’s motivation and the researcher’s scientific standards. Based on an existing Citizen Science network in Newfoundland and Labrador (Canada; we want to expand from data collection to co-designing research projects on biodiversity. Both the very process of co-designing a project and the continued lay/expert communication in the course of the project will provide insight into which educational and communicational requirements – aside from a general, yet diffuse willingness to interact – must be met to build a fruitful lay-expert dialogue and cooperation.
Mrs Gisela Wachinger, University of Stuttgart, Germany,

Presentation - Gisela Wachinger

Final Presentations

The following two presentations were given by Heiner Benking in one combined synopsis presentation. For more information, please click the links for videos and further documentation.

Socio-Ecological Development-Funding & “SDG - Leveraging Solutions”
Meaningful solutions that matter across scales, sectors and cultures/times.

Youth, Citizens, but also Policymakers, are now focussing on the UN 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Agreeing on some general goals – like where we should go as individuals, societies, and cultures – is already a possibly great step – if you compare with the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) where not everybody was at the table…. Intuitively we feel that there are dilemmas: Everybody knows that you can not go in many directions towards many goals in the same space/time. It makes quite a difference on which level, in which sector, which frames of references, and which timeframes you have in mind. Check the history of the term: GLocal.
In the environment of the Global Agoras for example with the Future Worlds Center (FWC) in Nikosia we did East European projects to negotiate with youth which MDG to be addressed when ! Priorities and Root-Causes. It is as simple as that.
Such methods can be also be applied to the “Challenges to Humanity” UN Future Studies / Millennium Project) or the SDGs. This links directly to the abstract on Deliberation and Ecopolicy in this event called “WISDOM OF THE PEOPLE”.
So where to put the monies? Recommendations for the BLUE-GREEN (but also YELLOW-RED) Issues around the implementation of the SDGs and respective funding strategies have been published by the UN ECOSOC Global Commons Caucus to all UN Heads of States and will be reviewed in a synopsis and by focussing on Leverage Solutions / Projects.
Highlighted will be an integrated project called “Vertical Mussel Reef Farming” by SeaHarmony and the ReefFormers. It presents where and how integrated, systemic, holistic solutions which help the people and the regions across scales also get focussed on Work, Education, Economy, Ecology,… and not in typical piecemeal fashion.
The Project won prizes in Norway recently and the OCEAN FUTURES poster award, has been presented to industry and policy-leaders, and to eminent thought leaders like Gunter Pauli, (Blue-Green Technologies, ZERI), Gunter Faltin (Entrepreneurship Summit), Jakob von Uexkuell (Alternative Futures Award and World Future Council), Michael Braungart (Cradle2Cradle, C2C). It is thought youth and NGOs in the field of environmental education and development should be involved as well.
Sea Harmony Ltd & ReefFormers
FB: and
blog entries @, videos I & II, recent Letter of Recommendation
Heiner Benking, COUNCIL ON GLOBAL ISSUES, Toronto/Berlin, Independent Journalist and Advisor, Sea Harmony, Varna, Bulgaria

At the GLOBAL YOUTH CONFERENCE (GYC 2011) in Geneva we presented Developments of the Club of Rome before the 70s and what Structured Dialogic Design means for Technology Assessment, Futures Design, and Multi-track Diplomacy and Peace-Making and Mediation/Deliberations.
A DEMOCRATIC APPROACH FOR SUSTAINABLE FUTURES (GYC Rio+20 presentation (2011) and GYC 2010, Earth Focus Foundation, Geneva.
There are many calls nowadays for “New Thinking” or “Liquid Democracy” but it seems that we need to revisit also old concepts and traditional approaches. North American Indians were looking for approaches for settlements between tribes or in conflict resolution situations with the capital in Washington. The method is called “Structured Dialogic Design” and we have mentioned it also briefly in the paper about the SDGs. What is done is “Influence Voting” – let us call it informed decisions where you not do voting without knowing what it is about and how it relates to other issues – in contrast to “importance voting” where the importance is not questioned and related but subject to personal feelings, assumptions, estimations or even interests (possibly of “others”).
Wisdom of the People - GLOBAL AGORAs – ReInventing Democracy
The method of the Structured Dialogic Design Process has in the essence basic tenets or axioms to secure practical, effective and lasting community-based solutions (see Wisdom of the People) is a social/societal/cultural effort. Challenges include how to negotiate meanings across scales, sectors and boundaries and keep the context and values in mind and secure the authenticity of contributions and harnessing viable solutions.
Maybe you like to check out these articles: CONCEPTS and CONTEXT MAPPING (in Cognitive Spaces and coherent Cognitive Panoramas) to help us see with other eyes and negotiate commons, differences and overlaps in a HOUSE OF HORIZONS & PERSPECTIVES and EYES to overcome Missing Orientations….
Heiner Benking, 21stCenturyAgora, Open-Forum, Berlin
Independent Journalist, Consultant, Facilitator, Scholar, … for the Global Agoras - Future Worlds Center - UNDEF … projects. UNDEF mentor profile.
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