Consolidating and expanding the knowledge base on citizen science

Grassroots initiatives related to citizen science are blooming across the world. Citizen science has the potential to bring a wide variety of benefits to researchers, citizens, policy makers and society and across research and innovation (R&I) cycles. It can make science more socially relevant, accelerate and enable production of new scientific knowledge, help policy makers monitor regulatory implementation and compliance, increase public awareness about science and ownership of policy making, and increase prevalence of evidence-based policy making.

The growth of citizen science brings with it a need to understand its breadth and consequences. How is citizen science conducted, who is involved and in what way(s), and what effect(s) does it have on R&I systems, scientists and the citizens involved? What are the different incentives and disincentives for career scientists to get involved in citizen science? What are the enablers and the barriers of citizen science, what are good practices, and what are its limits? It is also important to identify the democratic, societal, economic and scientific benefits of citizen science. Moreover, the deep and profound implications on science as a discipline, a profession and as a practice, and also on science's relationship with and for society, need to be considered.


This topic will deepen scientific knowledge on citizen science. It will work very closely with and examine and synthesise data arising from existing citizen science projects (in particular, but not limited to, those funded by SWAFS) to better understand participation patterns in citizen science, the types of activities conducted, the transformative potentials of participating in citizen science, challenges faced by citizen scientists, enablers and barriers to participating in citizen science (e.g. in terms of socio-economic status, gender, age, and in terms of R&I policies), and a strengthened knowledge base on its benefits. It will place developments in global and European historical contexts, and develop understanding about the implications of citizen science on science itself, and on science's relationship with and for society. It will involve stakeholders from local to European levels, from all parts of the quadruple helix, and taking into account gender, geographical and socio-economic differences, to develop policy messages that work towards an enabling R&I policy environment for citizen science and maximisation of the benefits of citizen science.

In line with the strategy for EU international cooperation in research and innovation (COM(2012)497), international cooperation is encouraged.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of the order of EUR 2.5 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

Expected Impact

Consortia should aim to consolidate and expand the scientific and policy knowledge base about citizen science. They should identify key incentives, disincentives, barriers and enablers to involvement of citizens and scientists. They should document, synthesise, and present evidence about the societal, democratic, economic and scientific benefits (and potential caveats) of citizen science. They should aim to impact on R&I policies by developing implementable policy recommendations and targeting them at key stakeholders. They should aim to indirectly work towards MoRRI indicators (e.g. SLSE4, PE1, PE2, PE3, PE5, PE6, PE7, PE8, PE9, PE10, OA6) and identified and appropriate Sustainable Development Goals.

Cross-cutting Priorities

  • Socio-economic science and humanities
  • Open Science
  • Gender
  • International cooperation
  • RRI
Application date
Humanities : Anthropology & Ethnology
Social sciences : Pedagogic & Education Research, Information and Communication Sciences, Sociology