Network Meetings of the Citizen Science and Young Science Contact Persons
The Center for Citizen Science regularly invites Citizen Science and Young Science contact persons at universities, FH, PHs and other non-university research institutions to network meetings. The aim is to exchange ideas and learn from each other about tasks and upcoming challenges in the field of Citizen Science and the cooperation between science and schools.
So far, four network meetings have taken place on different topics, ranging from "How can the Center for Citizen Science best support contact persons", "How is Citizen Science understood in Austria", "What motivates researchers and citizen scientists" to "What are the challenges facing contact persons in times of the Covid-19 pandemic".
1st NETWORK MEETING | September 19, 2018
On September 19, the first network meeting of Young Science and Citizen Science contact persons took place in Vienna at Palais Harrach. Nearly 30 representatives from universities, universities of applied sciences, universities of education and museums met for a first meeting and exchange of experiences.
The Young Science and Citizen Science contact persons reported on numerous experiences of their institution during the meeting and introduction round. Among others, they mentioned participations in several initiatives such as the Long Night of Research, the Children's University, Science goes School, Teacher goes FH and Citizen Science projects. Very soon it became clear that some institutions are already very active in the area of cooperation between science and schools and/or society, while others have only little experience. In order to help the institutions in this respect, the Center for Citizen Science then presented a number of offers such as the Citizen Science Award or the Young Science Ambassadors, which can be used by the institutions as tools to fulfill their "social responsibility".
Subsequently, the participants worked out ideas in three working groups on the topics "How can successful cooperation within the institutions and with the Center for Citizen Science work?" and "What challenges and stumbling blocks could there be? The participants suggested, among other things, to organise network meetings twice a year and to exchange ideas, for example, at the Austrian Citizen Science Conference. These are ideas that reflect the interest and motivation of this community.
During the meeting many things were discussed which should be further developed at future network meetings.
2nd NETWORK MEETING | February 25, 2019
On February 25, 2019, the Young Science and Citizen Science contact persons met at the invitation of the Center for Citizen Science for the second joint network meeting. The focus of the meeting was to clarify terms relating to the cooperation between science, schools and society as well as the implementation of Citizen Science and Young Science in practice.
In the first part, the two scientists Daniel Dörler and Florian Heigl from the Citizen Science Network Austria (CSNA) highlighted in their keynote "How is Citizen Science understood in Austria" the international spread of the term "Citizen Science" (CS) and showed how the terminology differs worldwide and which partly similar concepts exist alongside it. For example, "Citizen Science" is used in the USA and Great Britain, but in Brazil it is called "Ciência cidadã" and in Belgium "Burgerwetenschap". In addition, one encounters scientific approaches such as Volunteer Monitoring, Community Science or Participatory Action Research, some of which have a number of overlaps with CS. If one delves further into the CS concept, one encounters Open Science, Science Communication and Public Engagement, which are partial aspects of CS, but are not in themselves synonymous with CS. At present, the difficulty, but also the opportunity, is that there is no uniform CS definition yet and the concept is constantly evolving. In order to nevertheless create a CS framework for the projects on their platform, the two researchers presented CS quality criteria that were developed in a CSNA working group. It should be noted that these are the first criteria of this kind and yet have already attracted international attention.
In the second part of the event, four Young Science and Citizen Science contact persons explained how the topics "Young Science" and "Citizen Science" are integrated into the daily work at their institutions. These brief inputs served as inspiration for the subsequent working groups, which exchanged views on various questions, including How are Young Science & Citizen Science lived at the institutions? What works (less)? What motivates or inhibits those people already active?
The organisers look back on a productive network meeting.
3rd NETWORK MEETING | June 27, 2019
The third network meeting took place at the Austrian Citizen Science Conference 2019 in Obergurgl, Tyrol. During the meeting, the results of the workshop out „(Missing) Citizen Science Incentives & Recognition - What motivates & what hinders researchers?" of the previous day were used and extended by the topic "Motivations of Citizen Scientists". Together they reflected on how various ideas for motivating those involved in the institutions can be put into practice.
Download: Presentation of the Center for Citizen
4th NETWORK MEETING | September 14, 2020
The fourth network meeting of Young Science and Citizen Science contact persons took place online for the first time on September 14, 2020. The topic "Corona" was omnipresent and also left its mark on the Young Science and Citizen Science sector. Therefore the contact persons reflected together
- what (new) challenges they have encountered in their daily work
- to what extent Citizen Science or the cooperation between science and school at their research institution was (sufficiently) supported
- where they saw development potential and opportunities
- how they perceived their own role and
- how the Center for Citizen Science was able to provide the best possible support.
It became particularly apparent that many of the contact persons had had similar experiences, making such an exchange all the more important.
5th NETWORK MEETING | December 17, 2020
On December 17, 2020, the OeAD Center for Citizen Science invited to the 5th network meeting of Young Science and Citizen Science contact persons.
For the second time, the network meeting took place online and enjoyed great interest from contact persons from all over Austria. The meeting focussed on two topics. While the first part was dedicated to an exchange of experiences about the work of Young Science and Citizen Science contact persons in times of Corona, in the second part contact persons discussed how Citizen Science could be anchored in teacher training and further education. Reports on practical experiences at Austrian research institutions made this part of the meeting particularly inspiring and offered suggestions for future collaborations.
The meeting once again showed how important an exchange is, especially in times of Corona and how online meetings enable people to move closer together, even over spatial distances. Thanks to all participants for their keen interest and exciting inputs!
6. NETWORK MEETING | March 25, 2021
On March 25, 2021, the 6th network meeting for Young Science and Citizen Science contact persons took place, which was exclusively addressed to contact persons at universities of teacher education. The focus was on the topic "Citizen Science in teacher education and training" and the question of how Citizen Science can be anchored at universities of teacher education.
First, it was discussed why Citizen Science is an important part of teacher training and continuing education. The answers to this question were manifold. Citizen Science is an innovative learning approach that allows children and young people to be introduced to science and research in a democratic way. By integrating Citizen Science into the school curriculum, different competencies can be built up among all actors involved - students, teachers and researchers. (Prospective) teachers can act as multipliers of the first order and are bridge builders between schools and research institutions. Student teachers should themselves work on Citizen Science projects, as this can create networks for later collaboration or lay the foundations for future research-education partnerships. Citizen Science should be taught as a matter of course in schools; here the Citizen Science Award can be a starting point. At the same time, especially after the long periods of distance learning in the context of the Corona pandemic, Citizen Science offers the opportunity to experience and learn something tangible, e.g., through research projects in nature.
Afterwards, docking points at pedagogical universities, best practice examples for the successful integration of Citizen Science in teacher training and further education were discussed and ideas for a possible Citizen Science teaching event were collected.
7th NETWORK MEETING | June 22, 2021
The 7th network meeting focused on the topic of target groups that have not yet been reached or have hardly been reached at all - a topic that is of great interest to many institutions. To learn what is happening at Austrian institutions in this regard, Citizen Science and Young Science contact persons were invited to talk about their experiences. The meeting started with a short thematic input from the OeAD Center for Citizen Science, followed by a small survey on "Who or what are hard-to-reach target groups?". As numerous as the participants were, so were their answers. These ranged from children, to patients, to those with little education. In the next step, the contact persons shared their experiences from the initiatives carried out at their institutions and told how they tried to reach these target groups. In this way, a good overview of the Austrian approaches in the field of "hard-to-reach-groups" was achieved.
8th NETWORK MEETING | November 24, 2021
At the last network meeting in 2021, we looked back together at the (almost) past year and ahead to 2022. What has happened at the institutions of the contact persons? What at the OeAD Center for Citizen Science and Young Science? What are the lessons learned? And what new initiatives are planned for the coming year?
As a basis for further discussion on possible topics, goals and expectations for science education in 2022, we also took a look at the new Eurobarometer survey EU citizen’s knowledge and attitudes towards Science and Technology. The representative survey in 27 EU countries and 11 other countries (candidate countries) in April and May 2021 again showed that Austria is among the laggards in Europe in terms of public perception of science and technology. For example, more than half of the respondents in this country (53%) said that it was not important to know about science in everyday life. One-third perceive researchers as "dishonest," and just under a quarter are undecided about this statement. Accordingly, there is still much to be done in the area of science communication in Austria.