The web has made it possible for huge numbers of people to make a meaningful contribution to scientific research. ‘Citizen science’ is now an established and growing field, in which scientists invite anyone willing to complete a simple online task, which will classify and order their research data.

Citizen Science has already seen millions of people contributing to the discovery of new galaxies, identifying new proteins and accelerating cancer research.  At Nominet Trust, we want to learn from this emerging field and explore how we might apply citizen science principles to solving some of our most pressing social challenges – health, employment, crime or transport for example.

This is why we’re working with Swarm – a team of creative collaboration and rapid prototyping experts – to undertake an exploration into the possibilities of Citizen Social Science.

Initially we want to:

1. Identify 3-4 social ventures, charities or NGOs who have a social challenge that could be solved through public participation.  This could be through the generation of better data around the issue or by better analysis of existing data;

2. Develop a set of ideas, concepts and prototypes that demonstrate the potential of a citizen science-based approach to solve social problems.

The prototypes created will hopefully help point the way to future opportunities and if successful, will be used to develop projects, funding and support to accelerate innovation and impact in this exciting area.

Get involved

Over the coming weeks, we hope to engage and collaborate with a wide range of experts, including citizen scientists, practitioners, developers, game designers, data analysts, graphic/UX designers, data visualisers and social innovators.

If you’d like to get involved then there are two things you can do:

1. Share your ideas

We’ve started the ball rolling by identifying five questions that have emerged from our work so far.  We would love to get your thoughts on these and other ideas you might have. Do share your suggestions for social venture data challenges or ideas that could be developed further.

2. Help us to build some prototypes

On 28th March we’re holding a Swarm – a hack day where creative collaboration meets rapid prototyping. Join us at Mozilla London for an iterative and fun day exploring how Citizen Science approaches can tackle persistent social challenges. Register here.

We will be documenting our progress through this blog and you can also follow #citsocsci for the latest on this project.

If you want to get in touch for a chat about all things Citizen Social Science then do drop us a line.

Email us

Tweet at us…
Dan, Ed (Nominet Trust), Tom, Dan, Steve (Swarm)

We look forward to hearing from you!

2 thoughts on “Welcome

    Khatuna Sandroshvili said:
    February 20, 2014 at 10:20 am

    This very much resonates with what UN Post 2015 consultations have revealed in many countries: the need on tapping on the potential of citizen social power on one hand, and willingness of citizens to be part of decision-making, on the other. UNDP teams and their partners in the region of Europe and CIS are just about to start the similar initiatives like this (http://europeandcis.undp.org/blog/2014/01/30/what-if-post-2015-were-already-here/). Very interested to see Swarm in action!

      tomfarrand said:
      March 10, 2014 at 10:23 am

      Hey Khatuna – that’s exactly what we’re talking about. Good to see UNDP teams thinking in this way too. It definitely feels like the future is here, just unevenly distributed reading that report!

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