Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI)

Citizen Science projects

Citizen Science projects at UAB

For the last few years, the UAB, has been developing a variety of initiatives and activities in connection to Citizen Science, enabling different levels of citizen participation in the research process.  

We want to update this page visibilizing the current citizen science projects at UAB. If you want that your project appears, fill in this questionnaire (in Catalan), that, in addition, will guide you to create a more attractive project description.

Current projects

AlertaForestal: the objective of this project is to analyse the health of forests in Catalonia and foresee the needs for the future, taking into account climate change and other environmental changes. Citizens can participate in different aspects of the alert campaigns.

App Planttes “Help us mapping allergy-causing plants”   
This app has been developed by the Point of Information on Aerobiology (PIA-UAB) as part of the Barcelona City Council's project entitled "Ciència Ciutadana als barris". The app aims to inform on the existence of allergy-causing plants in urban areas.

Bicizen

Bicizen is a project that aims to create a platform where urban cyclists collaborate to make their city more bike-friendly. The app intends to create a space where citizens, municipalities, researchers, associations, and enterprises can interact with each other to fight the different problematics of urban cycling.

The team, composed by researchers from five different European universities, has been funded by the Virtual research Institute from ECIU University (SMART-ER), and has already developed the first version of the app. The problems faced by the platform are the quality and distribution of cycling infrastructure, physical and psychological safety when cycling, bicycle theft, parking availability, and obstructions. Apart from mapping the aforementioned problems, we will offer a space for sharing ideas, propose actions and co-create the urban cycling app of the future.

CARE Citizen Arenas

The purpose of Citizen Arenas for Improved Environmental Quality & Resource is to connect, organise and re-unite academia and society and to make citizens actors in the research project.

Their participation is foreseen alongside the full research cycle from the design to the collection of data and dissemination. As such, we use this exploratory project to tackle different facets of issues related to environmental quality and resource use (air, water, waste, energy, etc.). We are building an international team of researchers with multidisciplinary expertise and a shared desire to co-create a European community around sustainability and citizen science.

In particular UAB will focus on two different aspects, water & energy consumption and food waste treatment. For the part of water & energy consumption, we will focus on the measurement and analysis of water and energy use and its environmental consequences. We will begin by monitoring energy and water use and installing metres/sensors for energy use devices (computers, heaters, etc.) and water use (showers, washing machines, etc.). Citizens will report their estimated water and energy consumption then compare it with the actual monitored data. We will then calculate consumption patterns, analyse their environmental impacts and propose best practices and challenges for their implementation. For the part of food waste treatment, we will make citizens aware that food is a major contributor to household solid waste and that it does not “disappear” and needs treatment and if possible recovery. This pilot will make citizens conscious of their main role in household food management, waste generation and possibilities to separate waste to allow its use as sources for new materials. It also has the goal for the citizens to be aware of their impact on climate by the generation of green-house gases associated with organic waste treatment. Citizens will be involved in their own organic waste management and receive compensation in the form of bioproducts that can be used immediately. As a consequence, more resilient and self-sufficient communities will emerge from this strategy.

CSI-COP - Citizen Scientists Investigating Cookies and App GDPR compliance 

CSI-COP is a European project that investigates through the collection of citizen data. The main objectives of the project are to raise public awareness of the personal data collected in the apps they have installed and the websites they visit, and to educate citizens about the rights protected by the European Union's (EU) General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). In the medium term, the aim is for all citizens to know what personal data is collected when visiting websites and installing apps and what privacy rights the EU protects. The project is aimed at the general public who use websites and have applications installed on different devices. People who want to participate in this project as citizen scientists have to do a short training (which can be certified for free), then they can do a short analysis of one or several websites or apps and, finally, if they wish, they can write a report on the observation made. In addition to this short self-training provided, the CSI-COP project is planning a series of presentations and workshops to be announced in the near future. By doing the training offered by the project, you can acquire skills about the data collected by cookies on websites, learn about tools to track websites and apps (both for iOS and Android) and know how to discern between places where our rights are respected, become aware of the data and the consent you are giving and, finally, gain an understanding of the rights that the EU GDPR protects. The CSI-COP project has a website that gives access to self-training, as well as to a discussion forum on this training, to the newsletter and also to the project's blog. In addition to the knowledge acquired on an individual level, participating in the CSI-COP project contributes to the collective knowledge on the subject of cookies, to the general knowledge of the GDPR and to making it possible to propose legislative changes. If you want to participate in this European citizen science project and get started in the world of privacy/cookies, take the short course offered by the CSI-COP project!

FoodE - Food Systems in Europe

The main objective of FoodE is to involve local initiatives of the European Union in the design, implementation and monitoring of sustainable city / region food systems (CRFS) from an environmental, economic and social point of view.

The results of FoodE will have an impact on job creation, promoting the local economy, strengthening the role of local communities in meeting the Sustainable Development Goals, as well as identifying and strengthening of the relationships between the different actors of the food chain.

The way used by FoodE to achieve these goals consists of the following steps:

  • Evaluate and classify the sustainability of various types of urban food systems.
  • Actively involve citizens in the joint creation and choice of innovative urban food systems. Implement innovative and sustainable pilots in various EU cities.
  • Implement and validate a methodology based on citizen science that promotes public and private associations in CRFS.
  • Develop a set of policy briefs, guidelines and recommendations.
  • Direction to civil society, academia and public / private actors.

Micro-Món@UAB_4.0 is part of the international project Tinny Earth®. This initiative provides a platform to crowdsource antibiotic discovery by tapping into the intellectual power of students concurrently addressing a global challenge. This unique class approach harnesses the power of active learning to achieve both educational and scientific goals. 

Mosquito Alert: its objective is to control disease-vector mosquitoes by combining the efforts of science, management and citizen collaboration. In this sense, the volunteers participating can send photos taken with their mobile devices. 

Natusfera: this cooperative online platform is open to everyone interested in uploading photos of nature and having them identified with their scientific name by a group of experts. All of the data collected is then sent to the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF). 

Past projects

Citizens Co-Creating the City’s Digital Cultural Heritage 
The Library Living Lab users, together with the Computer Vision Centre of the UAB  and the Museum of the city of Sant Cugat, have developed a protocol for scanning the capitals, in order to obtain the first ever catalogue in 3D of the masterpieces. This will allow both the web visualization of the 3D models and the creation of physical replicas. This is a citizen science/open science project, its results are within the reach of users, professionals and researchers, and it represents a step further towards the democratization of access to knowledge and innovation for everybody.

Harmonizing Remote Sensing and Citizen Science Vegetation Phenology Observations   
PhenoTandem harmonizes new phenology products derived from high resolution optical satellite (Sentinel-2) with the traditional phenological in-situ observations done by volunteers. Since current in-situ observation cannot always be perceived from space, the innovation consists in co-designing with citizen scientists a new protocol that will make in-situ observations interoperate with remote sensing products.

There are also other initiatives focussed on specific collectives. In this sense, we have a narrow collaboration with local secondary schools and municipalities.

ISC2 - BiblioLab of Social Innovation and Citizen Science with the participation of three public libraries located in three municipalities in the UAB surroundings. The aim of this initiative is to adapt public libraries to the cultural and social changes that the digital society entails, promoting the creation of collaborative and participative spaces open to society (ISC2 Labs).

BeWater (November 2017 – January 2018): this project aims to promote the adaptation to global climate change in the management of Mediterranean waters through participative co-creation processes with the aim of defining problems and finding solutions jointly between scientists and citizens. 

GroundTruth 2.0 (February 2018): this great project evaluates the effectiveness of six citizen observatories studying the environment. One of the observatories is RitmeNatura, led by the CREAF-UAB and in which plant phenology is being studied. 

Research on Citizen Science

In addition, there are some research groups at the UAB analysing CS from a scientific perspective:

What’s in it for you? Participation inequality in citizen science might be challenged in politically motivated projects

Contribution of citizen science towards international biodiversity monitoring