Step Change








11 partners in 5 countries



Step Change is a collaborative European project that builds on the assumption that citizen science can play an even broader societal and scientific role than is generally acknowledged.
The project implements five citizen science initiatives in the field of health, energy, and environment.

Step Change is planned to provide an empirical basis to allow the formulation of recommendations and the production of instruments for better cementing citizen science within research and innovation institutions, as well as changing researcher’s mindsets on its value.

Project challenge

During the last decades, citizen science has become increasingly relevant, as witnessed by the rapid diffusion of it in different research fields, the use of platforms and apps or the establishment of European and national funding programmes aimed at supporting citizen science projects. This turn is connected to the profound changes affecting science by making it more aligned with the European’s Union (EU) Open Science policy and the European Research Area (ERA), which intends to position open science as the modus operandi of modern science.

However, the potential of citizen science is yet to be exploited, from a scientific, social and political point of view. Challenges such as data quality and validation, scientific recognition, demonstrated impacts and sustainability, among others, seem to hold back the growth of citizen science. Step Change was conceived to provide a great contribution by generating new knowledge useful to explore the potential, but also the critical issues, limitations and recurrent obstacles of citizen science as a research approach and evidence-informed-policy tool.


SfC supports the five major citizen science initiatives in their citizen participation processes and helps them to anchor the projects in their respective territories and contexts.

The objective is to support the social anchoring of the initiatives, thus increasing their relevance, transcendence, viability and sustainability from the beginning of the project.

5 Citizen Science Initiatives:

Wildlife conservation in Slovenia
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease in patients in the UK
Energy communities in Germany
Infectious disease outbreak preparedness in Italy
Off-grid renewable energy in agriculture in Uganda


Step Change will promote institutional agreements within the involved research organizations to ensure long-term support to CS, as well as to support a better institutional anchorage of this practice in the broader scientific community.

The legacy of Step Change will consist on producing a model of R&I socialization through CS to be addressed to the 4H. It will consist of both analytic and operational components. Besides, a CS Navigator will be developed to support interested researchers, CS practitioners and newcomers in the development of CSI in any field. The Navigator will feature conceptual, methodological and practical aspects of CS and will be built from the already available training materials aimed at supporting the implementation phase of CSIs; the Scoping Tools aimed at socially rooting CSIs; and the evaluation frameworks which enable CSI to monitor their progress and results and adapt to the local setting.

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