Funding boost to mobilise Australia’s citizen scientists

The Australian National University and CSIRO will receive almost $800,000 in grant funding for projects that will team everyday Australians with scientists.

Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science Senator Arthur Sinodinos and Senator for the ACT Zed Seselja announced the recipients of the Australian Government’s Citizen Science Grants in Canberra last week.

The two projects, led by scientists and researchers, will enable ACT locals to get involved in national scientific research projects.  Participants will aid in the research by collecting soil and water samples, identifying and recording certain animals and plants in their local areas and measuring temperatures in urban areas.

Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science Senator Arthur Sinodinos said Citizen Science projects were a great way to involve all Australians in science.

“Participants will be working with scientists and researchers designing experiments, making observations, collecting and analysing samples and crunching data to contribute to robust, peer-reviewed studies,” Senator Sinodinos said.

“This gives them the chance to learn new skills and forms new networks, linking them to the scientific community which they may not otherwise not be able to do.”

Senator Zed Seselja said he was pleased to see some of Australia’s top universities and research organisations collaborating and engaging the community to assist with their work.

“By harnessing ‘people power’ and technologies like smartphone apps and the internet, these studies will have a greater impact than a small team of scientists can achieve alone,” said Senator Seselja.

“It also gives the local community greater buy-in and access to the information generated, helping them to be more informed on this issue and aware of the value of science to our lives.”

The Citizen Science Grants are part of the four-year, $29.8 million Inspiring Australia science engagement program encouraging community participation in science and technology, as outlined in the $1.1 billion National Innovation and Science Agenda.

 

ACT Project Grant Details:

 

Institution Project Details Grant
Australian National University Butterflies Australia:

A national database of Butterfly distributions, described as follows: Invertebrates in general are significantly understudied, and butterflies are a charismatic flagship taxa for championing the study of invertebrates by citizen scientists.   Butterflies Australia is an online database for collecting records on the distribution an abundance of Australian Butterflies.  Citizen scientists will have the opportunity to learn how to identify butterflies in their local area, and to contribute by inputting their sightings into a national data base via a web portal with expert moderators helping verify their records.  Workshops on butterfly identification and how to conduct surveys will run in many populations’ centres around the country, and data will be collated, analysed, and communicated via a blog and newsletter.

 

 

$342,459
Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation       Citizen Science helping improve satellite detection of water quality:

      Water colour is a very informative indicator of the ecological state of marine & fresh-waters.  Until recently, only measurable with a suite of unwieldly scientific instruments, with development of Eye on Water by the European Union, these measurement can be made now by citizen’s scientists by a smart phone app.  These citizens will generate a large pool of valid data for calibration of satellite information, and provide management in Australia by deploying Eye on Water in Australian communities.  Each participant will obtain a quantitative understanding of how local water bodies change seasonally and in response to short duration events like flood and cyclones.

 

 

$450,000