Five intense days of bootcamp trainings welcomed the Citizen Science Initiatives (CSIs) selected by IMPETUS 1st Open Call. T6 research team held theoretical and practical sessions on Impact Assessment.
A bulk of 35 projects, 60 participants joined the online sessions every day. CSIs work on different topics among which: social inclusion, accessibility, urban planning, Biodiversity, Health, water and soil quality. A broad range of trainings provided them with the theoretical and practical foundations on the topics that are at the core of a successful CS project, namely: Equity, Diversity, and Inclusivity (EDI), Citizen engagement, Policy and Advocacy, Communication, Open Science, Data Management, Ethics and Impact Assessment.
During the theoretical part, participants have been guided through the IMPETUS Impact Assessment Framework that has been developed starting from the ACTION version (Passani et al, 2022). There are five key areas that CSIs need to consider when assessing the impact of their project: scientific, social, political, economic, and environmental. Each area of impact includes several dimensions, which are in turn operationalized through either quantitative or qualitative indicators. It is important to notice that, not all areas and dimensions need to be considered by every project. Indeed, they were guided through the identification of dimensions that were particularly relevant to their project by filling in an Impact Assessment Canvas. This document represents a sort of “identity card” for each CSI for what concerns determining the key stakeholders, as well as the main tool to prioritise the different areas of impact, and related dimensions.
Then, two specific trainings on the impact on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and the role of Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) in this framework, have been carried out. The practical sessions instead, were devoted to hands-on activities where participants introduced their project to the whole cohort, opening a discussion around the most relevant areas of impact of each CSI. In this way, they co-design their process together with colleagues, mentors, and T6 researchers, in order to fill in the Impact Assessment Canvas. Furthermore, during the last day, the practical session was aimed at co-developing a data gathering plan to monitor and assess progress toward the achievement of the identified areas of impact over the course of the project.
In the days following the bootcamp, T6 researchers collected feedback through an evaluation questionnaire that was delivered to all participants. Based on their responses, most of them increased their interest and knowledge on all the topics treated during the trainings. In particular, 78.2% of respondents agreed or totally agreed that bootcamp trainings increased their interest in impact assessment, while the remaining percentage is either neutral or did not attend the related sessions. For what concerns their knowledge on how to assess the impact of their project, the percentage of respondents that agreed or totally agreed is above 80% (80.4%). Finally, the overall quality of theoretical and practical sessions on impact assessment was rated positively (4 or 5 in a scale from 1 to 5) by the vast majority of effective participants (91.2% and 76.6%, respectively).
Passani, A., Janssen, A., Hölscher, K., & Di Lisio, G. (2022). A participatory, multidimensional and modular impact assessment methodology for citizen science projects. fteval Journal for Research and Technology Policy Evaluation, (54), 33-42.