Schools are excellent research partners and both, students as well as researchers, benefit from collaborations. In Austria, schools have successfully cooperated with research institutions for years, and also in the US, citizen science at schools has a long tradition. The cooperation between schools and research projects was also one of the main topics at the CitSci 2019 in Raleigh, USA. Scientists as well as teachers discussed and collected reasons to use citizen science in the class room.
The Young Science and Citizen Science contact points met for the second time on February 25, 2019 for a joint network meeting. The aim was to discuss the concepts in regard to the cooperation between science, schools and society and to exchange practical experience.
For the fourth time in a row, the Federal Ministry for Education, Science and Research (BMBWF) invited interested citizens - and especially school classes - to participate in six selected research projects. The most enthusiastic and committed citizen scientists were again awarded in a festive event by the Federal Ministry for Education Science and Research (BMBWF) with the Citizen Science Awards on 12 November 2018.
On 19 September, the first network meeting of the Austrian Young Science and Citizen Science contacts took place in Vienna. Representatives from universities, universities of applied sciences, colleges of education and museums exchanged experiences in the field of cooperation between science and schools as well as citizen science and possibilities for future cooperation with the Center for Citizen Science.
Under the motto "Citizen Science & Law", the Citizen Science Network Austria, the Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research, the University of Vienna and the Center for Citizen Science invited citizen science project leaders etc. to an information event at the Palais Harrach in Vienna on 27 June 2018. The afternoon focused on the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which came into force at the end of May 2018.
From June 3-5, 2018, the city of Geneva became the meeting place of the international citizen science community. Almost 400 representatives from research, science communication and research funding met at the 2nd International Conference of the European Citizen Science Association (ECSA) on “The Citizen” to exchange experiences and ideas.
From 1st to 3rd February, the 4th Austrian Citizen Science Conference was held in Salzburg. The largest Austrian-wide conference about this topic focused this year on "Generation Citizen Science". For three exciting days, various aspects of citizen science were presented, explained and discussed in lectures, workshops, round tables and during an action day.
In December 2017, the Center for Citizen Science accepted the invitation of Ibercivis - a Spanish citizen science platform - to Madrid to present the funding initiative Top Citizen Science at the citizen science conference "Encuentro Ciencia Ciudadana".
Until mid-January 2017 scientists were invited for the second time to apply for Top Citizen Science expansion projects as an addition to their running Sparkling Science or FWF projects. After a funding recommendation by the international expert panel twelve projects were chosen and are being funded with up to 50,000 Euros per project. The first ones already started in the summer of 2017.
The new K1 Innovation Centre “Feed and Food Quality, Safety and Innovation” (FFoQSI) benefits from the experiences gained by the Department of Chemistry (University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna)’s VIRIS laboratory within the framework of the Top Citizen Science (TCS) project “IsoPROTECT Austria: Protection of regional food production in Austria by means of isotope and multi-element fingerprints” with a view to participation of citizens.
The popularity of citizen science (CS) is growing worldwide, not only on the part of research, but also on the part of society. Austria also contributes to the dissemination of the concept with the first citizen science initiative in the German-speaking countries. Top Citizen Science was initiated in 2015 by the Ministry of Science, Research and Economy, the Austrian Science Fund FWF und the OeAD. It funds excellent research projects, which open up to the participation of citizens.
In 2016 the Naturpark Ötztal’s project “Search for the Swedish Narrow-Headed Ant” participated in the Citizen Science Award. The aim was to investigate the distribution of the Swedish narrow-headed ant with the help of citizens. During the campaign the public was made more aware of the project in order to collect important research data. Beyond that, even more positive effects were created through the participation in the award, which are of high significance for the continuation of the project.
Since 2015 more than 7,000 children, youngsters and adults have participated in various scientific projects in the science competition "Citizen Science Award“. Participants help to answer scientific questions and support researchers in their daily work. The most committed citizen scientists can win money and material prizes.