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Citizen Science Forum

Inspiring Australia Queensland

Friday, 4 March 2016 from 9:30 am to 12:00 pm (AEST)

Citizen Science Forum

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Citizen Science Forum Ended Free  

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Clockwise from top left: Reef check survey buddy pair, source: Wikicommons; bird surveying in Sydney for Birds in Backyards; marine coastal surveys in New Zealand; map of house sparrow locations in Australia from SparrowNet; UQ researcher, Chris Roelfsema, reviewing citizen science data for reef mapping project; Bubbles on bubbles galaxy image, source: via Wikimedia; citizen scientist training in Sydney

Let’s talk citizen science in Brisbane. All are welcome!

Are you a citizen scientist?

Are you involved in citizen science?

Are you interested in citizen science?


If you answered yes to any of these, join us between 9.30am-12:00pm on the 4th March where we will be showcasing some innovative examples of citizen science, and exploring its ability to revolutionise science and science engagement. There are big questions on the table. How do we link citizen science with mainstream scientific research? How can governments engage with citizen science for beneficial outcomes?

Bring your own burning questions, projects, and ideas along to this gathering and meet others who are involved in citizen science. 


Bookings essential and space is limited. Book your free ticket today!

For more information: Monica Awasthy -


There are many other exciting events happening in BRISBANE around this time, including:

  • The Asia Pacific Architectural Forum with public exhibitions and talks 1-14 March 2016
  • The 8th Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art (GoMA) 21 Nov 2015 – 10 April 2016
  • Medieval Power: Symbols & Splendour (Qld Museum) 11 Dec 2015 - 10 April 2016
  • Australia’s inaugural World Science Festival 9-13 March 2016
  • Australian Science Communicators Conference March 11 2016






Welcome to Queensland Museum & World Science Festival - Professor Suzanne Miller CEO and Director of the Queensland Museum


Welcome from the Australian Citizen Science Assocation (ACSA) - Jessie Cappadonna, ACSA 

Presentations and Q&A


The European experience: Working with Government and Citizens - Susanne Hecker, European Citizen Science Association (ECSA)


Overcoming barriers to use of citizen science data - Peter Brenton, Atlas of Living Australia


Great Barrier Reef Citizen Science Association - Jennifer Loder, Great Barrier Reef Association


Collecting and using citizen science data for natural resource management in South East Queensland (SEQ) - Apanie Wood, SEQ Catchments


What's in it for me? Delivering citizen science benefits to everyone - Piers Higgs, Gaia Resources


DigiVol: An example of online citizen science - Paul Flemons, Australian Museum

Closing Discussion and Panel


How do we use citizen science results for policy, research and community development decision making?




9:35-9:45 - Jessie Cappadonna, Australian Citizen Science Association 

Welcome from the Australian Citizen Science Assocation (ACSA) 

Synopsis: Jessie's talk will briefly introduce the Australian Citizen Science Association, providing an update on exciting future plans. Jessie will also let you know how you can help to shape the future of the citizen science community in your regions, across Australia, and internationally. 


Jessie Cappadonna Coming from a background of ecology and science communication, Jessie has developed a passion for citizen science. This passion has led her to become heavily involved with the Australian Citizen Science Association, as well as inspired her to undertake a PhD at QUT researching what citizen science is being done across the nation and how to engage citizen scientists with bioacoustics.


9:45-10:15 - Susanne Hecker, European Citizen Science Assocation (ECSA)

The European Experience: Working with government and citizens 

Synopsis: The European Citizen Science Association (ECSA) was born officially in 2014 – but created in many innovative heads and hearts before. We joined to facilitate a vibrant citizen science network and community throughout Europe and internationally. Ever since, ECSA has grown considerably and as in ACSA, there are lots of activities going on with political, societal and scientific aims and impacts.

In April 2015, we met in Leipzig, Germany, with a group of citizen science experts from Europe, the US, Africa and Australia, to discuss the science-policy impact of citizen science. Discussions with the European Commission and the scientific community had shown that little is known about the relevance of citizen science with regards to science-policy impact. Therefore, we described the impacts of citizen science to the policy process by identifying policy functions and their possible role(s) in the cycle of policy-making. This assessment is based on analysis of more than 50 case studies around the globe. We identified the possible or actual impact of citizen science on policy, using the framework of the policy cycle, and policy-related activities that correspond to the policy process. It then becomes possible to map citizen science entry points on to all parts of the policy decision making process.


Suzanne Hecker Susanne became fascinated by citizen science in her role as science communicator for the German mosquito atlas. Being far more than a Mayfly, the success of the project led Susanne to discover the world of citizen science around the globe. Being a charter member of the European Citizen Science Association, she is also a member of the US Citizen Science Association as well as ACSA. Currently she is organising the First International ECSA conference in May in Germany's capital Berlin, and as a trained science communicator is undertaking her PhD in citizen science communication.



10:15-10:30 - Peter Brenton, Atlas of Living Australia

Overcoming barriers to use of citizen science data 

Synopsis: A significant barrier to scientific use of data collected from citizen science projects is a perception that its quality might be questionable or not verifiable. How can this perception be broken down? How can citizen collected data be respeccted and trusted as it deserves to be? We explore some simple and practical apporaches to improving the veractiy of citizen science collected data and how perceptions of quality issues can be reduced.


Peter Brenton Peter Brenton is the manager of citizen science and data collection at the Atlas of Living Australia. He has a science background and training which has been applied in 20 years of operational experience in natural resources and environmental management. He has also been workin in the IT sector for 15 years as a project manager and business analyst. Peter's work experience covers many domains including biodiversity, environment & wetlands, planning and development, agriculture, quarantine, bulk water supply, immigration, public land policy and policing. His career highlights include the successful development and implementation of several web-based software systems and he is the architext of the ALA's new BioCollect system for data recording. He really enjoys his current work at the Atlas of LIving Australia where he can bring his natural science and IT experience together.  


10:30-10:45 - Jennifer Loder, Great Barrier Reef Citizen Science Alliance

Great Barrier Reef Citizen Science Alliance

Synopsis: Citizen science has a growing and evolving role in reef management. Yet, programs often face significant challenges to deliver sustainable and best-practice programs. In 2012, a scoping study consulted a range of stakeholders to identify critical needs and opportunities for a more coordinated approach to citizen science across the Great Barrier Reef (GBR). The Great Barrier Reef Citizen Science Alliance evolved as a response to this study. This presentation will share our experience on the process of developing a strategic and collaborative approach to connect citizen science providers, researchers, Reef managers and the Australian community.


Jennifer Loder Inspired by her first Indo-Pacific reef experience in Palau, Jennifer moved to Australia to pursue a career that unites science and education to protect our oceans. She currently works with two marine citizen science programs, the Great Barrier Reef Citizen Science Alliance and Reef Check Australia.



10:45-11:00 - Apanie Wood, South East Queensland Catchments 

Collecting and using citizen science data for natural resource management in South East Queensland (SEQ)

Synopsis: South East Queensland is a hive of activity when it comes to citizen science projects. An educated and active populace combined with a highly diverse and accessible landscape, has led to hundreds of data collection initiatives. But what data is being collected and what is it being used for? SEQ Catchments has been supporting a number of citizen science initiatives across the region for several years, e.g. Mangrove Watch, Seagrass Watch, community water quality monitoring and the Glossy Black Birding Day. We recently initiated a review of projects across the region and tailored workshops to assist citizen scientists with their projects. Our aim is to be able to use the data gathered to assess and monitor the status of the region’s natural resource assets, and assist with meeting targets in the regional natural resource management plan.


Apanie Wood Apanie has worked with various citizen programs for over 10 years. Her diverse experience includes coordinating sea turtle monitoring volunteers in Central America, community engagement with James Cook University (previously University of Queensland) MangroveWatch community monitoring program, and working with Indigenous rangers to monitor tidal wetlands in the Torres Strait and Pacific Islands. In her current role at SEQ Catchments, Apanie is facilitating the integration of South East Queensland citizen scietists into regional Natural Resource Managment decision making tools. 


11:00-11:15 - Piers Higgs, Gaia Resources

What's in it for me? - Delivering citizen science benefits to everyone 

Synopsis: Successful citizen science projects typically have three components - community engagement, technology solutions and research directions.  From these foundations, a range of citizen science programs that have been delivered through Gaia Resources have realised benefits across all three areas; with the community being empowered and delivering a positive impact on their local environment, with research being completed thanks to the data collected, and with technology evolving and becoming more and more suitable over time.  This talk will focus on the positive outcomes of citizen science, across projects that span from the local to the global scale.


Piers Higgs Piers is the Director and founder of Gaia Resources, a company that responsibly delivers sustainable technology solutions to companies that work with the environment. Pies has had a long involvement with citizen science, as both a practitioner and as a solutions provider. Through Gaia Resources, Piers has been involved in delivering citizen science projects from global to local scales, and still finds time to get out and do some observations himself. 



11:15-11:30 - Paul Flemons, Australian Museum 

DigiVol: An example of online citizen science

Synopsis: The Australian Museum and the Atlas of Living Australia are harnessing online citizen scientists to help catalogue the collections of some of the world’s great natural history institutions, and make them discoverable online. 

Museum collections hold millions of specimens, collected and carefully documented over more than 200 years. That valuable information is largely inaccessible to the outside world. Species lie undiscovered in collections simply because their existence is unknown. Through DigiVol, a person working from home can help capture biodiversity data and field notebooks of the Australian Museum, Smithsonian Institution, the South African National Biodiversity Institute, Kew Gardens, the Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard University and many others.

Citizen Scientists can participate in ‘virtual expeditions’ that transport them through space and time on a quest to capture important data about animals and plants, and make the information available to online communities and researchers. Since its inception in July 2011, over 1500 online volunteers have transcribed more than 300,000 tasks.

The data captured by DigiVol consists mostly of what is called primary biodiversity data – that is occurrence records of what species was found at a particular location on a particular date. This primary biodiversity data has a plethora of applications including “the study of the species and their distributions through both time and space, their use for education, both formal and public, for conservation and scientific research, use in medicine and forensic studies, in natural resource management and climate change, in art, history and recreation, and for social and political use. Uses are many and varied and may well form the basis of much of what we do as people every day” (Chapman 2005: Uses of Primary Species Occurrence Data).

 Paul Flemons Paul is the Manager of Digital Collections and Citizen Science at the Australian Museum. Paul is heading up the Australian Museums Centre for Citizen Science which involves representing the Museums interests externally in relatino to citizen science including the Australian Citizen Science Association for which the Museum is the host institution, developing a program of citizen science projects and coordinating the Museums activites in relation to citizen science. 

Have questions about Citizen Science Forum? Contact Inspiring Australia Queensland

When & Where

Queensland Museum & Sciencentre Theatre
Cnr Grey and Melbourne St
South Brisbane, QLD 4101

Friday, 4 March 2016 from 9:30 am to 12:00 pm (AEST)

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Inspiring Australia Queensland

Inspiring Australia is the National Science Engagement Strategy from the Dept. of Science, Innovation and Industry. The strategy is run in parnership with the Queensland Museum and other science delivery and policy organisations.

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