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Extreme citizen science in New Zealand

Dr Victoria Metcalf talks about her role as National Coordinator of the Participatory Science Platform.

'Queen of Curiosity' Dr Victoria Metcalf talks about her role in this Sci21 video, a job which she describes as supporting lifelong curiosity in others.

Encouraging curiosity and a greater understanding of science can take many forms. Victoria says that although media and online methods can reach large audiences, they are relatively passive and may not lead to true engagement.

“It seems that reaching less is more, where the links between science, scientists and citizens are on a more personal level and longer lasting. Citizen science is one entry point where people can be more engaged in science.”

Screenshot of video

Citizen science projects often involve volunteer non-scientists in collecting or analysing data as part of a research study. Counting penguins in photos on the internet and submitting your results is one example.

“A type of extreme citizen science is participatory science where non-scientists are involved right from the ideas stage of a research project, and at every step of the entire process, through to communicating and sharing the results.”

She says participatory science creates long term relationships and can make a real difference in the communities of those who take part.

“I believe this is a game-changer for how we do science in New Zealand and globally. This is the world’s first government led and nationally coordinated participatory science approach. Other countries are watching what we do.”

Scientists and locals collaborating around a table

Participatory Science Platform

The Participatory Science Platform supports collaborative projects that bring together communities and scientists or technologists on research investigating a locally-important question or problem.

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