Citizen science at the forefront

Citizen science is defined as work undertaken by civic educators and scientists together with citizen communities to advance science, foster a broad scientific mentality, and/or encourage democratic engagement, which allows people in society to join the debate about complex modern problems.

MICS innovation

Citizen science is emerging as an important mechanism for informing policy. However, neither policymakers nor scientists currently have enough empirical evidence on how citizen science contributes to scientific discoveries and benefits society overall. Innovative approaches and a more diverse array of citizen-science evaluation-tools are needed to plan and implement projects in ways that lead to more powerful scientific outcomes and subsequent impacts. To explore these approaches and develop these tools (frameworks, guidelines, recommendations and applications), the MICS project will focus on an interdisciplinary priority area of scientific enquiry where citizen science can be at the forefront, known as nature-based solutions (NBSs). The project will research new solutions for evaluating the social and environmental impacts of citizen science.


In order to fully capture the potential of Citizen Science in terms of knowledge co-creation in applied settings, a diverse range of stakeholders is involved in the co-design process as early as possible, namely:

  • citizens, communities and civil society organisations;
  • scientists;
  • public sector actors - legislative (policymakers);
  • public sector actors - executive (local authorities; implementing agencies);
  • industry/private sector.

Output, outcome and impact


  • It is what is directly produced or supplied by an activity or intervention, for example, the observations collected.
  • It consists of tangible data, products or services produced as a result of the activities or interventions (and can be subject to external factors). ​  


  • It is the immediate change in a situation, including behavioural changes that result from the outputs. It can be intended and unintended, positive and negative. For example, an unintended outcome of a citizen-science project carried out in collaboration with an oil company can be greenwashing.
  • It has a clear link with the intervention and is influenced by external factors as well. ​  


  • It broadly defines the (widespread) changes over a longer period that result from an accumulation of outcomes and affect the wider economy and society, for example, a change in legislation. ​ 
  • It is strongly influenced by external factors. ​ 
This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 824711.


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MICS, 2019-2021
Photo credits: River Restoration Centre