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UniSR partner of the TIME4CS project to promote Citizen Science

09 June 2021

Vita-Salute San Raffaele University is a partner of the TIME4CS project funded by Horizon 2020, the Framework Program to support Research and Innovation for the period 2014-2020, supported by the European Commission.

TIME4CS aims to support and facilitate the implementation of sustainable changes at the institutional level in organizations that carry out research, in order to promote Citizen Science and the involvement of society.

What is Citizen Science

The term Citizen Science refers to those scientific research activities that require the active participation from citizens. By building collaborative processes - structured and well controlled - between citizens and scientists, Citizen Science also allows non-experts to contribute to the production of scientific knowledge. Citizens can be involved at various levels: from the formulation of the research question and definition of the study methods (fundamental in clinical research), through the collection of data and/or their analysis, up to the drafting of the research paper. (which sometimes - but not always - co-sign).

Citizen Science carries a revolutionary aspect: scientific research is no longer an exclusive and inaccessible area, reserved for experts, but it becomes an inclusive process, in which citizens play a participatory role and whose contribution is officially recognized in the results of the projects and publications.

The positive impacts of Citizen Science are numerous for all the actors involved. Benefits can include publishing the results of a research; mutual learning opportunities; satisfaction for having contributed to providing scientific evidence; finding answers to issues of local, national and international importance and, through these, generate a potential impact on sector policies.

TIME4CS, it is time for cultural change

In order for Citizen Science to consolidate effectively, there must be a cultural change: researchers and institutions must be aware of this new way of doing science, and ensure that the different phases of the study are designed accordingly, while maintaining robustness and replicability like a traditional scientific study. Citizen Science must in fact be considered a research methodology like any other, with limits and margins of error to be kept under control.

TIME4CS (which we could translate as "It's time for Citizen Science") aims precisely at facilitating the implementation of sustainable changes in research organizations: the long-term goal is to allow the sharing and transfer of scientific culture, contributing to the challenge of science education.

The role of UniSR

TIME4CS involves two categories of organizations:

  • "Front Runners", i.e. research organizations with extensive experience in Citizen Science,
  • "Implementers", i.e. beneficiaries who have not yet consolidated Citizen Science within their own institutions and who intend to further develop it through institutional changes.

UniSR falls into this second category: being part of TIME4CS will make it possible to establish a transfer of knowledge from more experienced partners in the field, with a view to continuous improvement and a spirit of openness, transparency and participation.

UniSR is strongly convinced that communication, involvement and education in the life sciences aimed at an audience of "non-professionals" represent a meaningful and constructive interaction that offers opportunities for mutual learning between scientists and the public. For this reason, our students, PhD students, postdocs, senior researchers and university professors are involved in numerous activities designed for different audiences and contexts. Discover our Public Engagement activities

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