The Barcelona Citizen Science Office in the European Public Mosaic magazine
06 May 2020
An article reviews the Office's experience in connecting research to the challenges of citizenship.
The European Public Mosaic (EPuM), the open access journal of the School of Public Administration of Catalonia, published in March an issue about the relationship between science and political decision-making. The publication includes an article on the Barcelona Citizen Science Office written by Diana Escobar, head of the Barcelona Science programme at the Institute of Culture of Barcelona (ICUB) and a member of the Office.
The article describes the experience of the Citizen Science Office as an entity that has contributed significantly to the consolidation of citizen science projects in Barcelona and its metropolitan area. It also addresses the creation of initiatives where citizenship becomes an essential part of the research process. During this time, the Office has promoted a space for shared learning based on the knowledge and experience achieved thanks to twenty scientific projects that have been part of it and in which they have participated over the years.
The article is based on the creation of the Barcelona Science programme, which responds to the commitment of ICUB to promoting scientific knowledge as an inherent part of our culture that must respond to society's concerns. The article mentions several paradigms of this century, such as responsible research and innovation (RRI) and open science, which have the essential participation of citizens to find solutions to social needs and set priorities in political decision-making. These concepts are present in practices such as living labs, science shops and citizen science, the latter understood as scientific research that involves non-specialists in any of its processes.
This is the context that led to the creation of the Barcelona Citizen Science Office in 2012. The article reviews the successful experiences in the involvement of citizens with the various research projects attached to the Office. This involvement has been promoted thanks to the initiatives of the entity itself, such as the Citizen Science in the Neighbourhoods and Citizen Science in Schools programmes. A path that has allowed people of all ages and knowledge to become protagonists of the local scientific agendas and that poses new challenges for a future in which research and citizenship must go hand in hand.