We, the MICS Team, have kicked off 2020 with a stimulating plenary meeting in Cranfield (UK); and we wanted to share the results of this meeting with you!
What did we cover?
The meeting focused on Work Package 2 - Methods for measuring citizen science impact; Work Package 3 - Toolboxes for methods application, information visualisation and delivery; Work Package 4 - Test-site development and tool validation; and the relationships between these work packages.
What did we learn?
As many of you will be aware, measuring citizen science impact is no simple feat. A project which has positive impacts in one domain, may have negative impacts in another. For example; collecting litter from a local stretch of river may have a hugely positive impact on the environment in that area, but may have a negative environmental impact elsewhere if the litter is simply redistributed to another area, or a negative economic impact if all the citizen scientists involved had to take a day off work. Developing metrics for this complicated interplay between positive and negative impacts across the five MICS domains – society, governance, the economy, the environment, and science and technology – is key to the entire MICS project. The plenary meeting was a great opportunity for us to debate these questions as a consortium and reach some agreement on what we want the MICS impact assessment to look like.
We have made exciting developments in the MICS platform, with the design of the toolbox beginning to take formation. We have recently expanded our team to assist in this development; having recruited an experienced developer to help drive this work forward.
During the plenary meeting we were lucky enough to be able to host citizen scientists from Outfall Safari, a UK citizen science project, who gave us a fascinating insight into what impact means for them at the individual level. Progress has also been made in the other MICS case study sites as we kick-off the co-design of citizen science projects with workshops held around Marzenego River, Italy and Creek Rakos, Hungary.
Development of the methods for measuring impact is underway, with associated progress in toolbox design. Co-design of citizen science projects continues to be a focal point, and we will be updating the MICS website to reflect some of the lessons we have learned from this meeting: watch this space!