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Helping citizen science grow – How can we engage better with grassroots citizen science initiatives?

Through our accelerator programme, IMPETUS provides financial support, mentoring, and training for new and existing citizen science initiatives. We aim to ensure these projects can create positive change in their communities and elevate voices perhaps underrepresented in the science and innovation community. 

With the world at our fingertips and so many online platforms available, it should be easy for those within the science community to reach out and connect with everyone, right? 

However, this does not seem to be the case, as traditional communication strategies used within the citizen science community seem to create an academic echo chamber. Large organisations share news through their networks with each other but fail to engage with small-scale, grass-roots initiatives that would benefit from the community’s support. Outside our usual mailing lists, social media posts, and press releases, how can we extend the reach of our citizen science communications outside our established bubble? 

Therefore, the IMPETUS team would like to pose these questions to the science communication and public engagement community at a workshop at this year’s #EUSEA24 conference, which will be hosted this year in the beautiful city of Tbilisi, Georgia.

The theme for this year’s EUSEA is “The Value of Identity—Public Engagement Beyond Boundaries.” So, we thought this would be the perfect opportunity for us all to learn from each other on how we can better create bridges to grass-roots organisations that would benefit the most from the support available, not just from the IMPETUS accelerator but from the ever-growing citizen science and public engagement communities.

At this workshop, we aim to learn more about our current communication methods, what groups we would like to include but fail to reach, and how we may develop new techniques to better connect with these members of society. Using these shared contributions, we aim to update our communication action plan. A resource that would help the science community improve its communications and outreach and ensure that these grass-roots organisations know that support is available. IMPETUS will also use these recommendations to ensure that our call for our third accelerator programme is made as visible as possible. 

By doing so, we hope to promote and support citizen science projects conducted by communities and groups overlooked by the citizen science bubble.

So, if you are lucky enough to be travelling to Georgia for the EUSEA conference, and you have any thoughts on how we can improve our communication across physical and metaphorical borders, we would love it if you could join us!

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