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Citizen science: reshaping relations between science, government and citizens

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A lecture by Professor Johannes Vogel with response from Professor Jennifer Gabrys.

Peterhouse Lecture Theatre, 23 September 2019

Doors open at 5pm

Attendance is by registration only, please sign up here

The lecture will be follwed by drinks and networking.

In this lecture, Professor Johannes Vogel will set out his vision for citizen science. This vision underpins ambitious plans to transform the Berlin Natural History Museum and place it at the heart of democratic engagement with the grand challenges of the 21st century.

Great enlightenment institutions such as museums are hybrid organisations of research and communication. More can be made to link these institutions’ scientific infrastructure, cutting-edge research and spaces for democratic participation. Democratic knowledge societies will depend on such hybrid institutions to support citizen scientists as active participants in addressing challenges such as biodiversity loss and climate change.

Taking citizen science seriously offers great hopes for positive engagement between science, government and citizens. But to grasp these opportunities, scientific institutions such as universities and museums will have to change radically, and governments will need to rethink how they use science.

Johannes Vogel

Since 2012 Johannes Vogel has been the Director-General of the Museum für Naturkunde Berlin and Professor for Biodiversity and Public Science at the Humboldt University Berlin. He chairs the Leibniz Research Alliance Biodiversity and is a member of the German High Tech Forum.

From 2016 – 18 he chaired the European Open Science Policy Platform (OSPP), which brings many important stakeholders across Europe together to advise the EU Commission, the Intergovernmental Competiveness Council and national stakeholders on a Europe-wide transition towards Open Science.

Supporting bottom-up scientific and civic engagement he chairs the European Citizen Science Association. Studying biology in Bielefeld he moved to University of Cambridge in 1989, obtaining a PhD in Genetics in 1995. Thereafter he pursued a research career at the Natural History Museum in London, becoming Keeper of Botany in 2004.

His interests are the role of museums in science and society, public engagement with science, open science, democracy and innovation, (inter-) national science policy, biodiversity and plant evolutionary biology.

Jennifer Gabrys

Professor Jennifer Gabrys is Chair in Media, Culture and Environment, a post she began in October 2018. Previously, she was Professor in the Department of Sociology at Goldsmiths, University of London, where she continues to have an affiliation as honorary Visiting Professor. She has also been a visiting Research Fellow at the Digital Cultures Research Lab in the Centre for Digital Cultures, Leuphana University of Lüneburg, Germany.

Since 2013, she has been the Principal Investigator on the ERC -funded project ‘Citizen Sense’—a pioneering investigation into the public engagement with environmental sensing technologies and citizen-data generation in both urban and rural locations in the US and the UK. Gabrys has been awarded an ERC Proof of Concept grant, ‘AirKit’ (2018-2019), to further develop Citizen Sense research. The Citizen Sense project has received multiple awards, including the John Ziman award for public engagement in science and technology awarded by the European Association for the Study of Science and Technology (EASST) in 2018.

This talk is part of the Centre for Science and Policy Lectures & Seminars series.

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