On September 22nd, the Danish Board of Technology was as a representative from I-CHANGE invited to speak at the symposium on citizen science in Aarhus, Denmark. Aarhus University, Central Denmark EU Office and ITK – Aarhus Municipality invited regional stakeholders to a symposium with cross-sectoral discussions of the benefits of conducting citizen science.
The symposium wanted to investigate if and how citizen driven and citizen involving scientific processes benefit public authorities, businesses, civil society, research institutions and citizens themselves. Either by providing knowledge to the municipalities in form of better insight into citizens’ lives or by providing research environments access to larger populations and more players for data collection just as citizens themselves can experience becoming more knowledgeable and competent in a given field and thereby increase their influence.
The Danish Board of Technology represented by project manager and team leader Stine Skot was invited to speak about the experience of using the method citizen science in I-CHANGE with a higher goal of influencing the citizens and their habits.
Being only halfway through the I-CHANGE project, we still have no data to show on the citizen impact, but we are getting more aware of the possibilities using citizen science inside of the project consortium. And we are working with the question of how we as scientists can be a mediator for the citizens change of habits and what does it take. In I-CHANGE we are learning that to change other people habits we need to start with changing our own habits.
At the symposium we presented the thoughts on different ways of working with citizens science based on the three level of citizen involvement:
- Contributing citizen science: When citizens primarily collect data for science.
- Collaborative citizen science: When citizens collect, assess, or analyze data with researchers.
- Co-creative citizen science: When citizens participate in all phases of a research project – from planning, through collection and analysis, to final communication of results
The presentations from the symposium formed a base for workshops with different themes. The workshop participants were mostly civil servants from local and regional level. In the workshop “Climate and green transition” the hunger for more ideas on how to engage the local citizens in the local challenges such as “How can we co-create new forms of transport and how can we document what works?” and “How can citizens help with abolishing waste?” or the more open question “What does good citizen engagement processes look like?”. These are all very urgent questions from local contexts where both a green and just transition is needed. Citizen science can be a method of supporting these needs.