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Doing It Together science (DITOs)

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - DITOs (Doing It Together science (DITOs))

Reporting period: 2017-09-01 to 2019-05-31

Doing it Together Science (DITOs) was a 3-year project, aimed to increase awareness of and participation in citizen science across Europe and beyond. The challenge that DITOs addresses was the need for higher level of public engagement with science, and science engagement with the public in the development of new technologies and scientific projects. These relationships are identified within the Horizon 2020 research programme as part of the effort to develop a Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) framework.

By its nature, the RRI framework is dealing with many aspects of scientific practice – from public engagement with science, inclusion of underrepresented groups, and in particular women, in science, as well as the ethical conducts of scientists. Citizen science, which is the participation of people from outside research institutions and universities in scientific projects, is seen as an increasingly important part of the public engagement with science. This area has emerged rapidly over the past 10 years, and require sharing of best practice as well as promotion. The project is aimed at elevating public engagement with science across Europe from passive engagement with the process of developing science to an active one.Citizen Science and Do It Yourself (DIY) scientific efforts demonstrate that this is possible, and our aim is to ensure that the European Research Area will become leader in ‘deep’ public engagement that is afforded by these advances.

As a 'Coordination and Support Action', the project is focused on communication, coordination, and support of activities related to citizen science. Therefore, the project promotes the sharing of best practices among existing networks for a greater public and policy engagement with citizen science through a wide range of events and activities.

Some of these activities include doing citizen science, as 'engaging by doing' is central to the effort of the project. Other activities, both online and offline, are focused on communicating different facets of citizen science, from in-depth engagement with small and organised groups to large-scale engagement via social media.

In this way, DITOs supports existing and new projects across the landscape of citizen science: top-down projects, in which people join an activity that is designed and coordinated by scientists; bottom-up science activities, in which people, scientifically trained or not, organise a research project around a problem of direct concern (this is sometimes known as Do It Yourself - DIY - science); as well as collaborative projects that are created jointly by scientists and participants. For strengthening Citizen Science in Europe in the long run, the project is linked to the European Citizen Science Association.

To achieve these overall aim of the project, we have set a set of objectives to create a tangible ‘Do-It-Together Science’ method for
a) wider and deeper public participation in science and awareness of Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI);
b) raising governments' awareness of the benefits of the citizen science approach for both society and for science; and
c) guiding funding agencies to set up schemes that take into account the different levels of engagement and their impact.
By the end of the DITOs project, the consortium has delivered nearly 830 public events and engaged about 515,000 people face-to-face as well as 3,296,000 online interactions. Thus, DITOs has delivered the 500 events that the consortium committed to delivering, as well as an additional 329 events. The high quality of the DITOs project, coordination, and networking has created a powerful legacy for the European Citizen Science Association (ECSA) and EU-Citizen.Science project. In addition, the project increased the visibility of citizen science at national and EU levels.

The achievements of the working packages are:

The Biodesign work package (WP1) events played a key role in connecting citizens, academics and practitioners and creating a framework for Citizen Science to develop in the future. The work package reported good practices and validated methods for outreach activities for citizen science and DIY science in the area of biotechnology, drawing together results from events throughout the project.

The Environmental Sustainability work package (WP2) has carried out a vast set of citizen science outreach actions such as workshops, exhibitions, science cafés, seminars, conferences and online activities. All these provided a rich experience from which to develop best practice guidelines and validated methods. We have covered the personal experience of facilitators, managers, evaluators and practitioners to provide a compilation of good practices and validated methods of outreach actions to be used by anyone who wants to start a citizen science project or activity.

The public engagement work package (WP3) has engaged in excess of 3 million people via its online and offline outreach. Within this work, capacity building and outreach activities have reached out to organisations such as universities, science centres, museums, and community centres. Additionally, a successful touring exhibition (Science Bus) was used to increase public awareness and engagement. At the end of the project, steps have been taken to ensure that the legacy of the project will be used in future activities about citizen science and DIY science.

The policy work package (WP4) had a significant impact on the expansion of the network, raising awareness of citizen science and improving knowledge on citizen science best practices and policy. To increase impact and sustainability, the policy engagement strategy was adapted from doing advocacy to building capacity and alliances with the related community of practice.

The evaluation work package (WP5) developed an evaluation framework based on summative evaluation of statistical data, an ethnographic approach helping to understand citizen science event dynamics and a formative approach that put the focus on the all-important event facilitators. Case studies of citizens help to better understand their views and movement along the Citizen Science escalator.

The management work package (WP6) has established a robust framework of tools and procedures for successfully managing and monitoring citizen science coordination and support actions.
DITOs partners actively engaged with other organisations and shared knowledge internally and externally to develop a range of citizen science activities. Across the consortium, we have seen additional activities that were not included in the Grant Agreement and represent a driven effort to promote and disseminate the potential of citizen science to society. DITOs consortium members increased its impact through participation in different conferences, including the first and second European Citizen Science Association conference and many other events. The project made a significant contribution to policy through several policy roundtable activities. The project has achieved results well beyond the expectations in all its aspects.
Waag Society - DIY bio event - DITOs project
UCL DIY electronic and sensing workshop - DITOs project
UPD Biodesign NightScience event - DITOs project