Citizen Science in Schools

As an agency for education and internationalization, the OeAD has been initiating and supporting projects and funding at the interface of education, science and society for many years. Citizen science projects play a particularly important role here, as pupils and other citizen scientists have the opportunity to actively immerse themselves in the projects.



Whether transcribing old dialect words, reporting unusual weather phenomena or observing the animal and plant world: the citizen science approach enables particularly close cooperation between researchers and schools or society. With their contributions, schools actively contribute to the success of research projects and in return gain an insight into research processes.

Austria not only has ongoing programs and funding to strengthen cooperation between science and schools in the field of Citizen Science. The OeAD Center for Citizen Science also promotes the development of know-how with events, publications, networking and advisory services.

Funding Programs in Austria

The Sparkling Science (2007-2019) and Sparkling Science 2.0 (since 2021) funding programs play a particularly important role in Austria, in which citizen science projects are only funded if students and, if applicable, other citizen scientists actively contribute or have contributed to achieving the research objectives. Since 2007, there has therefore been a high level of institutional knowledge on the topic in Austria. In addition, a broad community has formed. In order to continuously develop the funding programs, they have been regularly evaluated. The results are available online.

However, participation in funded Sparkling Science projects is not the only opportunity for schools to engage with citizen science and allow pupils to participate in research. Since 2015, the annual Citizen Science Award research competition has been attracting school classes to participate in research and actively contribute to selected projects from April to July. The most committed classes, youth groups, families and individuals are honored each autumn at a ceremony.

To further support the cooperation between science and schools, the OeAD also implements numerous "Young Science" offers for and with schools.

Lectures and Interviews with Sparkling Science Projects

To find out more about specific citizen science projects, the OeAD Center for Citizen Science coordinates regular "Spotlights". In these monthly webinars, two Sparkling Science projects provide insights into their activities. The recordings of the presentations are available here. These insights into the funding program are supplemented by irregular interviews that are published on the OeAD-Center for Citizen Science website.

Working Group "Citizen Science at/with Schools"

In 2019, the OeAD Center for Citizen Science founded the working group "Citizen Science at/with Schools". It is part of the Citizen Science Network Austria. The members are made up of researchers and teachers from various research and educational institutions. Together, they develop formats and materials to strengthen cooperation between schools and research and make citizen science better known. There is also an international exchange with the "Citizen Science in Schools" working group of the German platform "Bürger/innen schaffen Wissen".

Publication "Citizen Science - Research with Schools"

One result of the working group's collaboration is the handout "Citizen Science - Research with Schools. Basics, recommendations & practical tips for joint projects" , which was published by the OeAD in September 2021. It contains numerous recommendations and checklists for researchers and teachers to plan and carry out Citizen Science projects together. The publication is in German.

Sparked your Interest in Cooperations between Science and Schools?

If you are interested in the topic of Citizen Science and schools, the OeAD Center for Citizen Science offers advice and further information and establishes contacts. There are also contact persons for Citizen Science at research and educational institutions in all federal states. The network of research partner schools is characterized by established cooperation with research institutions and many schools were or are also part of Citizen Science projects.

Further Reading on Citizen Science with Schools