Skip to main content

Join us as we introduce the distinguished jury panel for the 2024 European Unions Prize for Citizen Science. Comprising experts from diverse scientific disciplines, academic institutions, and community engagement, this esteemed panel embodies the collaborative spirit and democratic ethos inherent in citizen science.

Our jury was entrusted with the critical responsibility of evaluating the over 280 submissions we received during our 2024 call, and each member brought their unique perspectives and discerning judgment to identify the most exemplary citizen science projects from across the European Union.

We did not envy them for this task, as we had such a strong collection of projects to pick from. Still, they rose to the task, and thanks to them, we were able to select three brilliant projects for this year’s Grand prize, diversity and collaboration award, and digital community award, alongside 27 projects that received honourable mentions—a huge thank you to the jury for their diligent work.

Check out the winners of the 2024 EU Prize for Citizen Science here.

Read their Jury Statement here:

Elevating Communities and Excellent Research through Citizen Science – Paving the Way for Radical Societal Transformation

2024 is the second year that we honor the outstanding citizen scientists in Europe. Citizen Science, a collaborative approach involving volunteers from diverse backgrounds in scientific research, represents a trend and a key paradigm shift in contemporary science. At its core, Citizen Science embodies the democratization of knowledge. Inviting participants from all walks of life to participate in scientific discovery transcends traditional boundaries of expertise, inspires curiosity, catalyzes innovation across various disciplines, and empowers communities to actively contribute to our understanding of the world. This inclusive process fosters a sense of global citizenship, pride, ownership, empowerment, inclusion, and shared responsibility among participants. It enriches the scientific process with new perspectives, insights, and evidence-based decision-making while often driving social innovation, building capacity in local communities, and countering apathy and civic disengagement. Furthermore, Citizen Science is a powerful tool for scientific communication and education. It fosters a deeper appreciation of scientific methods and nurtures a society of informed, scientifically active citizens.

Citizen scientists contribute significantly to co-designing research methods, posing relevant questions, developing innovative tools, collecting data, collectively interpreting findings, and providing policy recommendations through hands-on research experiences and online platforms, performances, or workshops.  As a result, the reality of Citizen Science in Europe today transcends the consolidated idea of projects being a mere database of collected georeferenced points on a map: Citizen Science builds strong bridges between policies and societies in Europe. This collaborative approach helps to close the gap between scientific expertise and public understanding, leading to more effective and inclusive policy-making processes. Nowadays, this is a crucial aspect, given the nature of contemporary challenges such as political polarization, increased social marginalization of minority groups, anti-European sentiments, or anti-science narratives that pose risks to our democracy, collaboration, and trust in science. In an era marked by the proliferation of fake news, right-wing populism, and distrust in sciences, engaging different groups directly with science contributes to generating reliable data and results and to safeguarding democratic values. By empowering citizens to participate actively in the scientific process, these initiatives promote a culture of openness, accountability, and critical thinking —essential pillars of a healthy democracy. Through engagement in research activities related to issues that directly impact their communities, Citizen Science projects cultivate a sense of ownership and investment in the democratic process.

As jury members, the range of projects we reviewed allowed us a unique insight into the transformative potential of Citizen Science to shape the future of Europe. These awards are a testament not only to the achievements of individual citizen scientists, but also to the collective spirit of collaboration and discovery that drives this movement forward. We respect the dedication and passion of all participants in this competition, while highlighting those projects that have achieved excellence in Citizen Science. The winners showcased here come from more than 30 different countries. They exemplify ways that European citizens generate valuable knowledge across various scientific domains, addressing pressing societal issues. Congratulations to all. These initiatives demonstrate exceptional achievements, showcasing innovative methodological approaches and interdisciplinary collaboration.

We are living in profoundly turbulent times, and the events of recent years have shed light on the many processes and practices that need to be completely overhauled, given a tune-up, or put out to pasture. It is clear that doing things the way we have always done them will not suffice. Instead, we need to pay heed to the voices of those who are doing things differently, rebelling, imagining an alternative world, and, most importantly, taking action. The projects we have honored are these trailblazers who act as beacons for others to follow—whether they are using emerging or immersive technologies in unexpected ways, embracing circular economy, taking control of healthcare, or fighting against the many forms of injustice and oppression by generating knowledge and furthering education.

It’s crucial to underscore the ethics, transparency, and excellence in these initiatives—especially those that aim to safeguard citizens’ basic human rights and to uphold research integrity in the digital age.

What’s next for Citizen Science?

All of the projects we reviewed were inspiring. They also highlighted areas for further developments that would allow Citizen Science in Europe to be more impactful:

First, on the level of *citizen science methods*, we recommend more ambitious and inclusive approaches. Many Citizen Science initiatives could take inspiration from projects such as *SeaPaCS*, winner of the Diversity & Collaboration prize, and others, to allow and support citizens to engage in all project phases, from inception to completion. This is just one step that can improve collaboration and participation of citizens in science. Another step to overcoming extractive tendencies involves investing in a reciprocal, rather than one-way, relationship between citizens and scientists. This might entail designing a capacity building, educational outcomes, or accountability metrics into the project scope, ensuring that scientists give back to the communities whose participation and labour they heavily rely upon.

Second, on *the topical or thematic level*, we encourage more Citizen Science projects to address technological issues in society. While many projects use sensor technologies, Artificial Intelligence (AI), and digital media as tools or means to study other issues, very few projects investigate technological problems as their topic of concern. Yet, Honorary Mention recipients such as *Intelligent Instruments in Citizen Science* and *Eco-Bot.Net* exemplify that Citizen Science has much to offer regarding our understanding of the implications of AI, Generative AI, surveillance systems, social media platforms, and other digital technologies, and in relation to democracy, environmental policies, urban planning, social justice, and other burning issues. Here, Citizen Science could help us challenge and address the biases in digital technologies, and their power and role in society.

Third, Citizen Science could evolve further by integrating artistic practices, reconfiguring *how *knowledge is produced and going beyond conventional, linear scientific data collection and analysis modes. The project *Dreamachine* exemplifies this potential by using artistic installations and drawing exercises to invite citizens to report about their sensory experiences in new ways, allowing for novel scientific research within cognitive science. This demonstrates that art and Citizen Science can inform and inspire each other, creating a Citizen Science that transcends traditional boundaries. While many Citizen Science projects currently focus on documenting their rigour in methods and data, the field could benefit from an increased focus on exploring what the integration of artistic practices could do to reconfigure knowledge production through creativity and playful research.

In line with European values, Citizen Science projects must consider their impact on all members of society. Citizen Science should both serve and meaningfully engage with groups and communities that have very little contact with science, in order to avoid excluding them. By bridging these gaps, Citizen Science can become more inclusive and impactful, breaking down barriers and fostering social justice.

Learn a little more about our jurors below!

The Jury Members:

Fermín Serrano Sanz

Fermín Serrano Sanz coordinated the White Paper on Citizen Science for Europe and managed the Spanish portal At the Ibercivis Foundation, he has led or supported tens of projects integrating science, policy, society, art, and technology. Participant of the Future Innovators Summit, he also was Commissioner for the Agenda 2030 in Aragon and now chairs the Working Group on Policy, Strategy, Governance, and Partnerships at the European Citizen Science Association.

Luciana Marques

Luciana Marques is the Head of Communication at a biotechnology company. She is a journalist focused on science communication, with experience in the medical field and involvement in many European projects. Luciana’s academic journey includes publishing in scientific journals and presenting at conferences.

Snežana Smederevac

Snežana Smederevac is Full Professor at the Department of Psychology, Faculty of Philosophy, University of Novi Sad, and Coordinator of the STAR Center of Excellence for Behavioral Research in Psychology. As former Vice-Rector for Science at the University of Novi Sad, she coordinated the first Open Science projects in Serbia, resulting in the National Open Science Policy. She is author of the first Open Science Manual and Guide for Citizen Science in Serbia. Her research focuses on personality psychology and behavioral genetics.

Mairéad Hurley

Mairéad Hurley is an Assistant Professor of Science Education at Trinity College Dublin. With her colleagues in Trinity’s Science and Society Research Group, she uses participatory and transdisciplinary approaches to explore the role of science learning in shaping socially and environmentally just and sustainable futures. She integrates her own creative practice as a traditional musician to explore the potential for Irish traditional arts and folklore to inform contemporary environmental education and engagement.

Sofie Burgos-Thorsen

Sofie Burgos-Thorsen is a sociologist with a PhD who has worked across urban strategy, participatory design, and digital innovation for the last ten years. She tackles social and environmental justice issues with projects like Urban Belonging and South Park Youth Vision and works with local communities to create equitable and resilient cities. She has been a scholar at MIT and an R&D specialist in Gehl Architects before taking a role at the Techno-Anthropology Lab, researching Generative AI for citizen engagement.


Susanne Hecker
Ana Macedo
Enza Lissandrello
Maria João
Sofia Morazzo

We would like to extend an additional thank you to all those who helped make our second call for citizen science projects as successful as it was, and to all the projects that submitted applications.

We would also like to encourage projects that might have missed out on the top spot this year to apply again next time. We will be running another call for citizen science projects in 2025, with a whole new panel of jurers. And perhaps 2025 will be your year!