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Newly designed REINFORCE web platform to stimulate community engagement

The REINFORCE project, supported by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 SWAFS programme, has launched its new fully-developed website. This achievement has been possible thanks to the joint effort of a strong consortium of 11 partners, coordinated by EGO. The platform offers a user-friendly browsing experience for the project’s target groups, including potential citizens scientists, the scientific and research community, policy makers, social innovators and entrepreneurs, and the broad public.

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The idea of proactive citizen engagement in science is increasingly attracting institutional interest at the European Union level, as it is proven by the fact that the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission has often dealt with the topic in recent years. In its Science for Policy Report “Citizen Engagement in Science and Policy-Making” released in 2016, the JRC affirms that citizen engagement in science and policy-making can result in “a boost in democratic legitimacy, accountability and transparent governance” and in “improvements for trust building among citizens and institutions” . Encouraging citizens to play an active role in scientific research is paramount not only in the contribution that they can bring to the research, but also in order to fight anti-intellectual beliefs and attitudes within society. REINFORCE aims to contribute to a significant change in awareness and understanding of basic research and its impact on societal challenges, specifically addressing the issue of the societal impact of Large Research Infrastructures and the potential of citizen science to bridge the gap between frontier research and society, with the goal to create and sustain an active and informed community of citizens who actively participate in scientific endeavours. REINFORCE’s platform is a unique access point for all relevant updates about the project intended to give a general overview of the work that will be done within the project, to introduce the four Large Scale Citizen Science Projects that will be developed and to offer information on how to get involved. Large Scale Citizen Science Projects • Gravitational Wave noise hunting: Its aim is to develop a cutting-edge citizen science programme by providing public access to GW antenna data, including environmental data, for an open-data project. • Deep Sea Hunters: Invites citizens to optimize the KM3NeT neutrino telescope against sources of environmental noise which have never been systematically studied, while engaging in the exciting world of neutrino astronomy. • Search for New Particles at the Large Hadron Collider of CERN: It will engage citizens in the quest of the LHC for the discovery of the ultimate structure of matter as well as particle theories beyond the Standard Model. • Cosmic Muons Images: Interdisciplinary studies with Geoscience and Archaeology has the goal to show how the technology developed to study fundamental physics can be applied to the development of frameworks that may have a significant impact on society. Providing an intuitive user experience, the website includes many features to easily discover citizen science-related information, articles, blogs, events and training activities, in addition to the project’s results. The dissemination of such outputs has two major objectives: i) making knowledge developed throughout the project available to the widest audience; ii) enhancing its exploitation potential, having higher numbers of stakeholders involved in the process of contributing to its success. The website not only has an appealing design and architecture, but it also allows users to register on the platform and get in touch with the REINFORCE team. Indeed, REINFORCE considers dissemination not only as a process of making results available but also of actively working to involve its audiences. Engagement and collaboration are pursued through the design of a strong flow of interactions between the project and its stakeholders. Visit the website here: www.reinforceeu.eu Who is behind the REINFORCE project? Under the coordination of EGO (IT), the REINFORCE consortium includes University of Oxford (UK), the Open University (UK), EA (GR), ZSI (AT), IASA (GR), UniPi (IT), CNRS (FR), CONICET (ARG), Lisbon Council (BE) and TRUST-IT Services (ITA).

Keywords

Physics, Citizen Science, Large Research Infrastructures, website, engagement, research

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