Two citizens science proposals were granted 50.000 EUR within the remit of ORION WP3 on open experiments to develop life sciences research projects involving public participants’ expertise. "Science that makes me move" (SMOVE) by scientists at MDC, Berlin, is an epidemiological study involving school students’ in assessing physical activity and sedentary behaviour in order to identify related lifestyle and environmental factors. Genigma by scientists at CRG, Barcelona, is a smartphone game for assembling 3D cancer genomes in a crowdsourced manner.
Disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in the decision of the ORION Steering Committee to extend the timelines of Genigma and SMOVE. This extension was necessary to adapt to remote working, organize virtual events and also allowed for a better integration of participants’ expertise into the research projects.
The projects have provided an opportunity for all involved to learn more about Citizens Science. The scientific teams have been confronted with an innovative and unfamiliar methodology, which once professionally coordinated, has been acknowledged as enriching the scientific projects. The hosting organisations agreed on the need to resource and equip researchers adequately, due to the innovative the research methodology. Public participants, school students in SMOVE and varied audiences in Genigma, have praised the opportunity to get involved with scientific research and stated further interest in collaborating. Other ORION organisations are designing strategic activities to encourage wider uptake of Citizens Science projects.