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Participatory science toolkit against pollution

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - ACTION (Participatory science toolkit against pollution)

Période du rapport: 2020-05-01 au 2022-01-31

Pollution is one of the greatest health and environmental threats of our age. Recent figures show that across the 27 Member States of the EU and the UK, air pollution was responsible for more than half a million deaths in 2014 alone. Pollution also has an economic cost. In 2005 pollution abatement capital expenditures and operating costs in the US amounted to nearly $27 million. With a similar population size and GDP, the numbers in the EU will not be much different. In terms of noise pollution, an estimated 20% of the European population, 100 million people, are regularly exposed to excessive noise levels. At least 31 million of them suffer physical or psychological harm, leading to 72 thousands hospital treatments and more than 16 thousands deaths each year. Light pollution threatens biodiversity, as well as human health and wellbeing. Pesticides pollution impacts the environment by destroying biodiversity and degrading air quality. It can result in declines in birds, wild bees, and aquatic organism populations and pose serious risks to human health. Understanding and raising awareness of the dangerous effects of pollution is a relevant, timely concern. By focusing on citizen science projects, we can approach the co-design and co-development of our methodologies, tools and guidelines in a more systematic, coherent and insightful way.

ACTION supported 16 pilots. They address light, soil, water, air, and noise pollution, and engaged over 1200 participants. They received a combined 200,000€ of funding, and were supported through trainings, webinars, workshops, and advice. We created tools, including Coney, ASSET, and the ACTION open data portal, and provided guidance for these and previously existing tools. We supported implementation of processes through Epicollect, Zooniverse, Grafana, and other established platforms. All tools are included in the ACTION toolkit, alongside insight and guidance on how to best use them throughout the participatory science lifecycle. The toolkit also holds insight for citizen scientists about citizen scientist motivation and engagement, data processing and quality, ethics, and policy outreach. We assessed the impact of the project and all our pilots, and provided guidance and discussion about impact and sustainability through events. Our Policy Masterclasses helped to promote CS to policy makers. Our toolkit has undergone three iterations, with a variety of stakeholders providing feedback and input, including in two workshops. We presented ACTION at numerous events, and were invited to demonstrate our work for various stakeholders. Our Impact Assessment and Open Call methodologies especially have been interesting for several other projects, to which we presented them, and shared relevant insight and documentation. We promoted an inclusive and participatory model of citizen science, and communicated this through our citizen science lifecycle, toolkit, events and publications. The toolkit will ensure more projects can follow our guidance in the future.
We have completed the two open calls, and recruited a total of ten pilots. The ACTION accelerator was implemented twice, and all pilots implemented projects to better understand pollution in their respective areas. Due to limitations to meetings and interactions through coronavirus, most pilots were implemented primarily online. Alongside work with the pilots, ACTION performed a range of research and evelopment work, on tools like CONEY, QROWDSMITH and ASSET. We have investigated the data practices of citizen science projects, citizen science tasks and characteristics, and mapped out the participatory science lifecycle. We have carried out literature reviews, surveys and interviews, to better understand engagement, motivation and incentives in citizen science, an open data portal and data management plan tool, and templates for common citizen science projects. We have developed an impact assessment framework and canvas, which we implemented all our pilots. In addition to the research and development, ACTION has also published nine academic papers on results, attended a number of conferences and workshops, and engaged peers and the general public in a number of online and offline events.The ACTION toolkit, available at https://actionproject.eu/toolkit/ compiles all our insights and developments.
ACTION achieved the following:
We have supported 17 pilots, 16 of which were completed. Between them, they address light, soil, water, air, and noise pollution, and engaged over 1200 participants. They received a combined 200,000€ of funding, and were further supported through a variety of trainings, webinars, workshops, and advice.
We have created a variety of tools, including Coney, ASSET, and the ACTION open data portal. We provided further guidance for both our and previously existing tools to our pilots, depending on their individual needs. We supported their implementation of processes through Epicollect, Zooniverse, Grafana, and other established platforms. All tools that were considered useful by ACTION partners and pilots are also included in the ACTION toolkit, alongside insight and guidance on how to best use them throughout the participatory science lifecycle, and tutorials and webinars developed by ACTION. The toolkit also hosts ACTIONs insight for citizen scientists about citizen scientist motivation and engagement, data processing and quality, ethics, and policy outreach.
ACTION has assessed the impact of not only the project as a whole, but also of all our pilots. We have provided pilots with guidance and discussion about their impact and sustainability through a number of workshops and webinars. The ACTION Policy Masterclasses especially helped our pilots to promote their work to policy makers, both in the short- and long-term. Partners of the ACTION consortium have further continued work with five of the ACTION pilots (Citicomplastic, In My Backyard, Dragonflies and Pesticides, Restart Data Workbench, and Walk Up Aniene) for new Horizon 2020/Europe grants proposals.
The ACTION toolkit has undergone three iterations, with a variety of stakeholders providing feedback and input, including in two workshops open to consortium partners, pilots, and external experts, and a social media campaign to reach additional citizen scientists. All insight generated within ACTION, and in the wider research community (where relevant) were included in the final version of the toolkit.
We have presented ACTION in a variety of events, and been invited to demonstrate our work for various stakeholders. The ACTION Impact Assessment and Open Call methodologies especially have been interesting for numerous other research projects, to which we have presented them, and shared relevant insight and documentation. The ACTION model will be continued and scaled up to 125 citizen science pilots in the Impetus project.
ACTION has successfully promoted an inclusive and participatory model of citizen science, and communicated this through the citizen science lifecycle, toolkit, our events and publications. The ACTION pilots have benefitted from this and become more open, i.e. in terms of gender balance and inclusion, and with their primary impact on social and environmental issues. The ACTION toolkit will ensure more projects can follow our guidance in the future; it will further be expanded through the Impetus project in the future.
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