Citizen science experts will help researchers launch scientific projects with the help of volunteers. Scientists from St. Petersburg can apply for the competition in order to employ the Accelerator’s resources and launch their own projects.

Applications can be submitted via the project’s website from March 10 to 31. Selected participants will work in two stages. At first, they will consult experts and study educational materials online and then they will take part in ITMO’s Citizen Science School.

The Citizen Science Accelerator is the first program for funding and implementation of citizen science projects in Russia. Among its goals are the creation of a methodological center for research support programs and the scaling up of citizen science nationwide.

“The competition aims to not only support scientists and provide them with resources. Its educational aspect is also important. We want to teach researchers how to launch and successfully implement their projects, as well as how to scale them and create new initiatives with the help of volunteers. We also hope that we’ll be able to form a community, inside of which we’ll be able to exchange experience. That’s why we’ve decided to not limit ourselves to the online format,” says Yana Plekhovich, the head of the People of Science project.

Citizen science is about conducting scientific research with the help of volunteers who aren’t professional scientists. This concept brings together millions of people all over the world – they collect and analyze data, participate in scientific games, take part in scientific expeditions, and work in nature reserves. Thanks to this, scientists receive resources necessary for their projects, while volunteers obtain new skills in an entertaining way, find a new public-spirited hobby, and learn the basics of scientific methods.

“The development and popularization of citizen science is an important concept of ITMO University’s development strategy. Thanks to such initiatives, scientists obtain additional resources and opportunities to scale up their research. Projects created for volunteers are full-scale popular science products that help form a public image for their authors and promote their institutions,” says Daria Denisova, head of ITMO’s Center for Science Communication.

Upon passing the selection process, the participants will be able to join the Citizen Science School that will take place at ITMO University in May.

This two-day offline event for scientific coordinators and principal investigators will include lectures and workshops for researchers in the field of citizen science. By the end of the school, the participants will be able to figure out the methodology behind the volunteering part of their projects, as well as come up with ways to promote and prepare them for the launch. The organizers will help implement the projects, provide resources to engage volunteers, and promote research on social media. Scientific coordinators of the best projects will be granted cash prizes.