UCD Citizen Science

As part of the Spotlight Series, we talk with Communities of Practice already established here at UCD about how they came together, their function, the objectives and where they hope to go with the CoP.

This profile was provided by Liz Bruton (UCD Earth Institute) and Jane Nolan (UCD Library) on behalf of the Citizen Science CoP

Why was the Citizen Science CoP established?

In early 2022, Liz Bruton (UCD Earth Institute) and Jane Nolan (UCD Library) joined forces to set up the CS CoP as there was increased interest in and activities around across UCD in citizen science but no central hub for people interested in or already doing citizen science to find out more and share knowledge. We worked with an informal steering group of citizen science practitioners at UCD to inform the foundation of the CoP.  The COP is intended primarily for UCD staff, researchers and students doing or interested in doing citizen science for research, teaching or public engagement and all are welcome to join.

Our CoP provides opportunities for UCD and external speakers to share their experience of running CS projects through talks, training events (coming soon!) and online resources including the citizen science LibGuide, our website and our mailing list.

Does UCD support Citizen Science & what does Citizen Science do?

Yes absolutely! UCD’s publication Engage Your Research says “Citizen Science encompasses a wide variety of activities and practices that recognises non-professionals as valued and empowered actors in advancing knowledge, research and innovation.”

The European Commission says “Active engagement with citizens and society has the potential to improve research and its outcomes and reinforce societal trust in science.”

The CS CoP is supported by the Library and Earth Institute through staff time and resources.


What are goals/objectives for the CS CoP? 

To act as a hub to connect various people involved or interested in different aspects of citizen science, to ask questions, to find support and to share best practices.

  • share knowledge and ideas
  • organise discussions and talks
  • collaborate on issues
  • help develop resources for all members to use
  • hear from practitioners & experts
  • make requests and suggestions on topics
  • identify challenges
  • access a menu of resources and tools
  • build up a library of UCD case studies


Are there any benefits for UCD Researchers to join the CS CoP?

    • A Citizen Science project can help fulfill the contribution to the wider community requirement for career progression.
  • It can help get you funding – Citizen Science is specifically addressed in Horizon Europe’s Strategic Plan “ Horizon Europe will also support and promote the involvement of citizens, civil society and end-users in public engagement, citizen science, and user-led innovation modes of research and innovation”.
  • A citizen science project encourages people to work with other academic disciplines as well as external partners, organisations and stakeholders.

How can I join the UCD Citizen Science CoP?

We welcome members from the UCD community to join our mailing list – you’ll hear about the events we run ; get notified about about citizen science webinars; hear about citizen science projects run by UCD researchers and Citizen Science events taking place around Ireland ; we encourage members to post queries, information about events, etc here

What type of events does the CS CoP hold? 

Each trimester several events are held – at these one or more speaker(s) presents on a topic and this is followed by a Q&A and a chat. All presentations are hybrid – they are held in-person in UCD and the presentation and discussion can be viewed live on Zoom. Later the recording is made available to view back. External speakers as well as researchers / academics from within UCD have presented at these events.

What is the vision for the future of the CoP?

Our vision is to widen and increase the membership within and without UCD and to citizens interested in getting involved. We also plan to organise training events and to invite speakers on specific topics such as insurance, GDPR, ethics, etc

I’d like to find out more – what resources do you have that I can look at?

See our UCD Citizen Science CoP website https://citizenscience.ucd.ie/

and our Citizen Science Library Guide libguides.ucd.ie/Citizen_Science/introduction

Please do sign up to our mailing list or contact  jane.nolan@ucd.ie  / elizabeth.bruton@ucd.ie to get your name added. If you have other queries or suggestions on this topic we’d love to hear from you.

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