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Citizen Science Zurich

CitSci Helvetia 2021 – the very first Citizen Science Conference in Switzerland

Bringing together and connecting the different Citizen Science practitioners – that was the aim of the Citizen Science Conference “CitSci Helvetia 2021”. From 14-15 January 2021, over 190 citizen scientists from all over Switzerland and beyond took part in the diversified program. The conference took place virtually due to Covid-19.

Switzerland’s long-standing tradition of civic engagement offers good conditions for Citizen Science. It is therefore hardly surprising that Citizen Science is also becoming increasingly popular in Switzerland. In recent years, participatory approaches have been used in various scientific disciplines and exciting projects have been implemented. It is clear: whether organized by academic institutions, carried out in school contexts or as a grassroots movement – Citizen Science in Switzerland has contributed both to the country’s scientific research and to the dialogue between science and society.

Discover the Citizen Science landscape in Switzerland

There is a wide range of Citizen Science projects within Switzerland. To keep track of them all is challenging. The conference therefore provided a platform to make these various projects and initiatives visible and to bring together and connect communities of practitioners. This was also done with the aim to provide a space to explore, share and develop new ideas and practices for participatory research in Switzerland. The discussion was enriched by two insightful keynote panels that explored the question of what role Citizen Science can play in our society and what opportunities are available to Swiss Citizen Science projects in the national and international context. Like Switzerland, the conference was multilingual.

Enriching contributions from Citizen Scientists

Not only the diversity of languages was taken into account, but also the diversity of Citizen Science projects. Thus, scientists and citizens had the chance to present their projects in the format of short talks, to further develop their ideas in co-creative workshops together with participants, or to present them in a playful performance. The participants also appreciated the “Market of Possibilities” – a marketplace for the exchange of ideas via posters or videos, followed by individual discussions.

Diversity of participants

A total of 193 people participated in the conference, of which about two thirds were women. Looking only at participants from Switzerland, 14 different Swiss academic institutions were represented. It is also pleasing to note that local organizations, projects and NGOs were more or less equally represented as academic institutions.


Ursina Roffler