December saw the launch of Sweden’s national citizen science portal, medborgarforskning.se. At a conference on citizen science run by VA (Public & Science) on 8 December 2021, the portal was highlighted, along with the already up-and-running European portal EU-Citizen.Science.
The conference on “Citizen science in Sweden – practice and potential”, marked the end of the ARCS (Arenas for cooperation through citizen science) project and the launch of the Swedish portal medborgarforskning.se. The vision for the platform is to serve as a knowledge hub and a reference point for everyone who is interested in citizen science in Sweden, with the goal of helping universities and colleges to use citizen science in a responsible and sustainable way to collaborate with society.
Held at the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm and also broadcast online, the conference included both Swedish and international speakers. Dick Kasperowski, Professor in the Theory of Science at the University of Gothenburg, who led the ARCS project, started the conference by explaining the history and development of citizen science both in Sweden and internationally, and its potential as a research method and tool for involving people in science.
A growing European network
The conference also featured Silke Voigt-Heucke, Head of the Citizen Science Unit at the Natural History Museum in Berlin, who is Project Coordinator for the EU-Citizen Science project. She highlighted recent developments in the EU regarding citizen science and features of the newly launched European portal EU-Citizen.Science. The portal gathers best practice resources from the community for initiating, planning and executing citizen science projects, and showcases a wide range of citizen science projects to learn from, collaborate with, or participate in.
René van der Wal, Professor in Citizen Science at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) started his presentation by stating “If one thing is clear from today, it is that citizen science is booming!” He went on to explain ways in which citizen science is diversifying as well as growing, plus considerations when undertaking citizen science, including risks and opportunities that citizen science offers as a research method.
The conference also featured two workshops on activism and inclusion, respectively, and a panel discussion about how to progress citizen science in Sweden. A number of the presentations were held in English and can be viewed online on Vetenskap & Allmänhet’s YouTube channel.
The Swedish citizen science platform has been developed as part of the ARCS (Arenas for cooperation through citizen science) project by the University of Gothenburg, the Swedish University of Agricultural sciences, Umeå University and the non-profit association Vetenskap & Allmänhet, VA (Public & Science). The platform is linked to the European EU-Citizen.Science platform, developed by the EU-funded EU-Citizen.Science project, in which VA is also a project partner.