Citizen Science in Austria

Frau fotografiert STicker auf Pfosten (opens image in lightbox) © Barbara Heinisch

In Austria citizens have been committed to the exploration of nature for many decades. For exmaple since 1856 a network of observers has supported the Zentralanstalt für Meteorologie und Geodynamik (ZAMG) in the phenological observation of the native flora and fauna. The Austrian Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research, museums and research institutions have also discovered Citizen Science.

Sparkling Science

The Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research (BMBWF) took an important step towards Citizen Science (CS) in 2007. With the launch of the Sparkling Science research funding program, the BMBWF supported 299 CS projects over a period of twelve years with a total budget of around €35 million. More than 100,000 pupils and almost 2,600 (prospective) teachers worked side by side with almost 4,300 researchers and students on current scientific issues.

Center for Citizen Science

The next big step followed in 2015 with the establishment of the Center for Citizen Science (CfCS) of the OeAD with the following four focal points: Information, consulting, networking and funding. Among the best-known initiatives that the ZfCS has carried out or is carrying out are the Top Citizen Science funding initiative and the Citizen Science Award research competition.

Citizen Science at research institutions

Numerous scientific institutions in Austria are also dedicated to the Citizen Science topic and have, among other things, set up special contact points. For more information, see Citizen Science at Austrian Research Institutions.

Citizen Science in strategic publications

Since 2015, numerous Austrian institutions have advocated the promotion of the Citizen Science approach in their strategic documents.

  • "Establish Citizen Science as an innovative model for participatory research. Citizens are to be increasingly involved in research and innovation projects in order to tap untapped knowledge potential. This is to be implemented via the research approaches of citizen science, crowdsourcing and open innovation." p. 30, BMBWF: Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research: Action plan for a competitive research area (2015, in German)
  • "Innovation and experimental spaces can be modelled on familiar international formats (e.g. FabLabs, MakerLabs, Hack your City, Citizen Science Labs), either acting independently or docking onto existing infrastructures" p. 66, Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research & Federal Ministry for Climate Action, Environment, Energy, Mobility, Innovation and Technology: Open Innovation Strategy for Austria (2016)
  • "The NHM Vienna shall be established as a significant, physical, not only virtual place for Citizen Science, where a mutual dialogue on eye level between science and society takes place on a national and international level. The establishment of the NHM Vienna as a place of application (hub) for Citizen Science should not only represent a decisive impulse for new forms of educational structures, but also make the importance of Citizen Science for research and society visible and tangible." p.6, Natural History Museum Vienna: Citizen Science - Strategy of the NHM (2017, in German)