In the long term, the project will make efforts to evaluate the impacts of citizen-science on society, democracy, the economy, the science related to NBSs, (the science of) citizen-science, and the attitudes and behaviours of the participating citizen scientists, in the following specific areas:
MICS will consider an extensive set of indicators to generate a framework that can be used as a reference in all kinds of citizen science. MICS recommendations on impact assessment will become the reference for other scientific endeavours in citizen-science research which want to include a wide array of societal actors.
Many policies taking into account citizen science can suffer from potential failures because of a lack of scientific evidence of its impact. This will change when the scientific community disposes of a validated reference model and toolbox.
MICS will enable researchers and policy makers to carry out and support open and inclusive projects, creating agents of change within the society, and therefore will facilitate a paradigmatic change in citizen-science research towards a more robust monitoring of its impact.
The Lisbon Treaty states in its Article 11.1: “The institutions shall, by appropriate means, give citizens and representative associations the opportunity to make known and publicly exchange their views in all areas of Union action”.
Opening NBS research and providing citizens tools to participate will contribute to the compliance with Article 11.1, where “institutions” means the European institutions (Parliament, Council and Commission). MICS demonstrates this perfectly for nature-based solutions.
The set of methods, concepts and tools for citizen science produced by MICS will enable to carry out impact assessment with a robustness which is currently not available.
Citizen science will benefit from a demonstrated extension to challenges in impact assessment; and will be developed in countries where it has yet to be taken into account (e.g., Hungary, Romania).
Clearly assessing citizen-science impact in relation to the expectations and desires of the target populations could prove to be a crucial source of more legitimate and improved policies, which means a better-targeted use of taxpayers’ money. The bias of interests of lobbyists is reduced; policies grounded on independent, legitimate impact-assessment are possible.
Photo credits: River Restoration Centre