Citizen science is defined as organised research in which the balance between scientific, educational, societal and policy goals varies across projects. It is a growing worldwide phenomenon recently invigorated by evolving new technologies that connect people easily and effectively with the scientific community. New technology provides a valuable tool for citizens to play a more active role in sustainable development. Through collaboration with scientists in organised research projects citizens can contribute valuable information that can be used to develop and deliver policies, improve understanding and respond to many of the challenges facing society today.
The European Citizen Science Association (ECSA) is a non-profit association set up to encourage the growth of the Citizen Science movement in Europe. It draws on 200 individual and organizational members from over 28 countries across the European Union and beyond. Launched during the EU GREEN WEEK in June 2013, ECSA has grown from an informal network of researchers and communicators interested in Citizen Science into the European reference network of Citizen Science initiatives.
ECSA builds on the substantial expertise of its members in order to mobilize Citizen Science as means for evidence-based sustainable development. As spelled out in our strategy, ECSA will conduct research and support refinement of methodologies, increase capacities and develop three interrelated key competencies:
Our Mission is to connect citizens and science through fostering active participation.
Our Vision is that, in 2020, citizens in Europe are valued and empowered as key actors in advancing knowledge and innovation and thus supporting sustainable development in our world. Citizen Science is a recognized, promoted and funded approach to foster scientific literacy and the democratization of scientific expertise, to increase the social relevance and sustainable impact of research and to improve the evidence base for environment, biodiversity and climate change policy in Europe and globally.
ECSA's thematic working groups undertake the major part of our activities throughout the year. They focus on research, exchange of experience and capacity building and are open to our members and supporters.
Currently there are working groups on:
At the ECSA General Assembly 2017 the following Task & Finish Groups have been established in order to support specific actions within Working Groups:
In addition to the working groups, also conducts general communication and capacity building activities and engages in research and coordination projects. Read more below.
ECSA conducts capacity building and training workshops and develops tools and resources for the citizen science community in accordance with research and coordination projects we’re involved in. In addition, ECSA offers communication services, such as the bi-monthly newsletter, participates in events, conducts community building activities and builds partnerships. Our central event is the annual General Assembly organized as a conference for members and interested parties to present their work, network and decide on the future of the association.
ECSA is also involved in research and coordination projects under Horizon2020:
ECSA also engages in international cooperation with organizations such as the U.S.-based Citizen Science Association (CSA), the Australian Citizen Science Association (ACSA) or the United Nations Environment Programme that manifest in joint conferences, publications, tools, working groups, etc. For more information, see the partnership section below.
We work hard to steadily increase and diversify our spectrum of activities. If you have a suggestion or would like to work together, please get in touch with ECSA Headquarters.
ECSA is a legal entity registered as an NGO (‘eingetragener Verein’) under German law and open to individual and institutional members. It is governed by the General Assembly and an Executive Board along with a Board of Directors and a Steering Committee supplemented by the speakers of the Working Groups, which develop the programmatic work of ECSA. These bodies and other active members are supported by a small secretariat (‘Headquarters’).
The Executive Board is responsible for the formal representation and conduct of business of ECSA. It is elected by the General Assembly for a period of two years and instructs the Secretariat.
Prof. Dr. Johannes Vogel
Director General of the Museum für Naturkunde Berlin
Dr. Katrin Vohland
Head of Science Programme Public Engagement with Science at Museum für Naturkunde Berlin
The Board of Directors advises the Executive Board and sets the scientific guidelines for the work of ECSA. The General Assembly appoints up to five members of ECSA to the Board of Directors for a period of two years. The Board of Directors shall meet at least once a year and decides by a simple majority. Current members include:
Director of Museo di Storia Naturale della Maremma
Prof. Dr. Aletta Bonn
Professor at German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) and Helmholtz Center for Environmental Research (UFZ)
Director & Co-Founder at The Mobile Collective and Director at Gold Mobile Innovation Ltd
Director of Centre for Environmental Policy (CEP) at Imperial College London
The Advisory Board advises ECSA on strategic and policy matters and comments upon the annual report and ECSA accounts. It consists up to 12 persons who are not members of ECSA. They can be nominated by any ECSA member. Members of the Advisory Board may be academics, political leaders, or eminent persons interested in citizen science. They represent research councils, regulatory organizations, government agencies and notably members of the public. The General Assembly elects members of the Advisory Board for two years. The members of the Advisory Board meet regularly and report to the General Assembly. Current members are:
ECSA is committed to promoting Responsbile Research and Innovation (RRI) in relation to citizen science. It has appointed an RRI liaison for serving as contact point for ECSA members and RRI-related initiatives, such as the RRI Tools project. The position is held by:
Executive Director at Fundacion Ibercivis
ECSA Headquarters is currently hosted by the Museum für Naturkunde Berlin. It supports the operative work of the Executive Committee along with public and internal communication, regularly calls and meetings. It also advises members on how to connect their activities with ECSA goals.
Coordinator ECSA Headquarters
ECSA Executive Chair
ECSA Project Officer for Doing-it-Together Science (DITOs)
ECSA Project Officer for Doing-it-Together Science (DITOs)
ECSA Project Officer for LandSense project
Physical & Postal Address
c/o Museum für Naturkunde Berlin
Leibniz-Institut für Evolutions- und Biodiversitätsforschung
Bereichsleitung Wissenschaftskommunikation und Wissensforschung
Tel: +49 -30 - 2093 8776
In order to promote and advance citizen science in Europe, ECSA engages in partnerships, e.g. with sister organizations from other continents as well as institutions and projects with agendas linked to citizen science. Currently, we have established the following formal cooperation agreements: