I believe that citizen science is an invaluable opportunity to engage people with science and to gather enormous amount of data that could hardly be collected otherwise. I had the fortune to follow from the very beginning the process of setting up our European network of institutions, researchers and practitioners engaged in citizen science. I strongly support the idea of helping this community grow and develop new ways of collaboration within and outside Europe.
One of the main aims is the establishment of standards that could help experts and practitioners exchanging information, data, tools and technology. Another relevant goal is making the European citizens aware of the opportunity citizen science offers to everyone and work to reduce the large differences in terms of people engagement and participation still existing among different countries.
In 2015 we started a serious process of growth that resulted in the approval of several relevant documents necessary to regulate the main functions of the association and to standardise the way it works. We gathered a strong position at the European level, setting up important connections and being more and more central at the people - science interface. We worked to let the relevance that citizen science could have for policy emerge, and thanks to the job done by the working groups, we reached several important results. We finally informally established a “network of networks” in citizen science, enforcing the relationships and the exchange of experiences with the US-based Citizen Science Association and the Australian Citizen Science Association.
The coming years will be very important to put in practice the principles and tools we are developing and to enforce our role, investing in the network as a mean to enforce any single component and to grow together. We are working hard to make it happen and to create several occasions of collaboration.