Citizen Science Lab: Air Pollution

22 - 26 January 2018

Venue: Lorentz Center@Oort

If you are invited or already registered for this workshop, you have received login details by email.

Aim and Description

The new Citizen Science Lab at the University of Leiden will host a highly interactive workshop on breakthrough innovations using radical citizen science approaches for air pollution. Together with the Dutch Institute for Environment and Health, the DesignLab at the University Twente and Waag Society the week-long workshop will bring together scientists, civic innovators and designers at the Lorentz Center from the 22nd of January until the 26th of January 2018.

The topic of this workshop will be air pollution, which is one of the most urgent scientific and societal issues in which citizen science can lead to significant breakthroughs, for instance by providing measurements on a scale that cannot realistically be achieved by professional measurement equipment. The aim of this workshop is catalyse a major next step towards achieving such breakthroughs regarding measuring, understanding, and mitigating air pollution. One important aspect of this workshop is that we aim to connect the “top-down” approach of many projects initiated by scientists, and the “bottom-up” grass-roots activities that are emerging throughout society all over the world now. Moreover, the international character of this workshop allows the participants to learn from a wide variety of experiences, and shall form the basis for more international collaborations in large-scale citizen science initiatives.

We will therefore bring together a very heterogeneous group of air pollution researchers, representatives from societal organizations (e.g. patient organizations, NGOs, action groups), citizen science experts, sensor and app developers, representatives from local/national/EU governments, creative research experts, communication/design professionals, etc. Together we will address many aspects of citizen science projects related to air pollution:

·         How can we supply the larger quantity and quality of citizen science measurements that are urgently needed?

·         How do we organize a large-scale national/international project and ensure a lasting impact (both scientific and societal)?

·         How do we make sure we really address the questions and needs of individual participants, and keep them engaged in the project?

·         How can we also involve participants in the interpretation of air pollution data?

·         How do we make sure that all these activities actually lead to an improvement in air quality?

The unique environment of the Lorentz Center will furnish a full co-creation process that shall lead to several concrete new project ideas. At the end of the week, the newly established “consortia" will pitch their plans to a highly knowledgeable jury, which will judge these plans on their novelty, scientific and societal impact, cross-disciplinarity, and viabilty. After the workshop, the Citizen Science Lab will consider very promising project plans for incubation, and will work with the newly formed consortia to set up and fund a pilot project, and develop it into a successful and sustainable citizen science initiative.


Leiden University, Citizen Science Lab, launching soon

This workshop will be the very first official activity of the newly formed Citizen Science Lab at Leiden University. In the Citizen Science Lab we bring together scientists and non-scientists who, together, will design and set up radically new projects that aim to solve urgent scientific and potentially societal problems, by actively involving a large number of citizen scientists. The Citizen Science Lab aims to germinate and incubate new citizen science projects, and support them with funding and expertise from, among others, the iSPEX citizen science project that was led by Leiden University.

During this workshop, we will also organize the official opening festivities for the Citizen Science Lab.

Dutch National Institute for Public health and the Environment, RIVM,

Technological developments enable anyone to measure air quality with increasing accuracy. But when are such measurements meaningful, how are these  measurements performed in the best possible way? The RIVM wants to help find the answers to these questions. Based on the official air quality measurements, the Institute offers support to citizen scientists. Thus, the 'citizen science' approach offers the opportunity to enrich the current knowledge about air quality and to enable people to take responsibility and control over their own environment.

University Twente, Design Lab,

The DesignLab is a creative and cross-disciplinary ecosystem at the University of Twente, connecting science and society through design. Faculty and students from various fields work together with companies and governments to develop scientific and technological insights that are used in finding and shaping creative, innovative and meaningful solutions to complex societal challenges.

Waag Society, Smart Citizens Lab,

In the Smart Citizens Lab, Waag Society explore tools and applications to map (and change) the world around us. Along with citizens, scientists, and designers, they deal with themes ranging from air quality to the conditions of bathing water to noise pollution.


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