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Citizen science is an important way in which diverse groups of people can participate in research and innovation, whether through collecting data, analysing data or helping researchers and innovators to develop better questions. 

Citizen science can potentially add value to almost any project. Yet embedding citizen science methods into the routine way that science is done requires a capacity building approach, where projects that are unfamiliar with citizen science are supported to assess their capacity and need for citizen science.

As part of UKRI's long-term commitment to citizen science in their public engagement vision, this scheme offers up to  £20,000 (100% fEC) to allow researchers to develop pilot projects to build citizen science capacity into their work.

These projects must be conducted between 16 December 2019 and 30 April 2020. This could form the basis of future projects which may be supported through other funding sources, including through a proposed follow-up phase of UKRI funding from 2020-2023.

Potential successful projects (but not limited to) might include:

  • Exploring options for crowdsourced data collection
  • Small pilots to test whether working with volunteers to analyse existing datasets can add value to the project
  • Open/inclusive innovation – exploring options for companies and researchers to involve those who will benefit from the research in the development and testing of products
  • Collaboration with communities to test approaches to co-designing research questions
  • Digital innovation pilots in citizen science, with a focus on testing or extending the functionality of existing tools
  • Exploring innovative approaches that focus on removing the barriers to public participation in research such as overcoming the challenges of volunteer management

To develop such projects, successful applicants will be expected to undertake activities such as capacity building work, small proof of concept pilots, and/or collaborative workshops to explore project ideas, data sources or volunteer opportunities.

Lead applicants must be an active UKRI grant holder 

Proposed collaborations with existing established citizen science projects and practitioners are also strongly encouraged. However, it is not the intention of the call to give follow-on funding to existing citizen science projects.

Proposals will be assessed on the following criteria:

  1. Articulation of vision for achieving the programme outcomes
  2. Composition and appropriateness of proposed project team to be developed in exploratory stage of the project
  3. Quality and appropriateness of proposed approach for delivering outcomes for this programme including:
    1. A demonstrable commitment to exploring the potential of the appropriate citizen science methods for your project
    2. A demonstrable commitment to building the appropriate partnerships to deliver your project
    3. A clear connection to one of UKRI’s key strategic areas, or areas of the Strategic Priority Fund remit
    4. Innovative approaches to using citizen science methods
  4. Where appropriate, quality of plans to deliver pilot citizen science activities that will inform further development of your project
  5. Excellence and feasibility of the proposed project
  6. Appropriateness of project costing, with the expectation that a proportion of the grant is allocated to capacity building and funding of experts’ time.


The call opens October 1st and the deadline is midnight 12 Nov 2019.

Full information and application