The web has made it possible for huge numbers of people to make a meaningful contribution to scientific research. ‘Citizen science’ is now an established and growing field, in which scientists invite anyone willing to complete a simple online task, which will classify and order their research data.
Citizen Science has already seen millions of people contributing to the discovery of new galaxies, identifying new proteins and accelerating cancer research. At Nominet Trust, we want to learn from this emerging field and explore how we might apply citizen science principles to solving some of our most pressing social challenges – health, employment, crime or transport for example.
Initially we want to:
1. Identify 3-4 social ventures, charities or NGOs who have a social challenge that could be solved through public participation. This could be through the generation of better data around the issue or by better analysis of existing data;
2. Develop a set of ideas, concepts and prototypes that demonstrate the potential of a citizen science-based approach to solve social problems.
The prototypes created will hopefully help point the way to future opportunities and if successful, will be used to develop projects, funding and support to accelerate innovation and impact in this exciting area.
Over the coming weeks, we hope to engage and collaborate with a wide range of experts, including citizen scientists, practitioners, developers, game designers, data analysts, graphic/UX designers, data visualisers and social innovators.
If you’d like to get involved then there are two things you can do:
1. Share your ideas
We’ve started the ball rolling by identifying five questions that have emerged from our work so far. We would love to get your thoughts on these and other ideas you might have. Do share your suggestions for social venture data challenges or ideas that could be developed further.
2. Help us to build some prototypes
On 28th March we’re holding a Swarm – a hack day where creative collaboration meets rapid prototyping. Join us at Mozilla London for an iterative and fun day exploring how Citizen Science approaches can tackle persistent social challenges. Register here.
If you want to get in touch for a chat about all things Citizen Social Science then do drop us a line.
We look forward to hearing from you!