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WeObserve launched its first three Communities of Practice! The event took place on 6 June 2018 at the University of Geneva, during dedicated sessions on the Citizen Science Workshop Day of the 2nd International ECSA Conference.It was an exciting opportunity to engage with a wide range of stakeholders on the consolidation of knowledge in the field of citizen science and COs!

The WeObserve CoPs aim to serve as the vehicle for sharing information and knowledge on selected key thematic topics related to Citizen Observatories (COs), strengthening the knowledge base about COs in order to move citizen science into the mainstream of environmental management and decision making. In total, WeObserve will develop five CoPs over the course of the project. Each CoP will receive support and tools for managing the CoP activities (online and F2F) and undertaking dissemination and outreach. The CoPs will exist for as long as they provide value to their members, with WeObserve support to draw on for the coming 2 ½ years. Detailed Terms of Reference for the WeObserve CoPs are available here.

The first three CoPs were launched during the first year and in particular on the Citizen Science Workshop Day on 6 June 2018. They included the following topics:

1) Co-creating citizen observatories and engaging citizens – addressing incentives and barriers for participation, engagement strategies and citizen-science ethics (led by IHE Delft),

2) Impact and value of citizen observatories for governance – defining socio-economic and environmental impacts of community-based environmental monitoring for public authorities and decision-makers including risk evaluation (led by IHE Delft), and

3) Interoperability and standards for citizen observatories – adopting data quality, curation and preservation of citizen-science data, and addressing privacy and licensing for CO sustainability (led by CREAF).


The Communities of Practice (CoPs) addressed people already involved in citizen science and citizen observatory initiatives or citizen science working groups, keen to exchange experiences with like-minded citizen science enthusiasts. The CoPs were intended as a key mechanism to consolidate knowledge on COs inside as well as beyond the WeObserve consortium. As such, a wide range of stakeholders was invited to take part in the CoPs, such as public authorities (local, regional, national, EU), civil society organisations, research and academia, citizens and citizen science working groups. Among the activities that the CoPs aim to undertake within the project’s lifetime include thematic knowledge co-creation, generating new solutions or agreeing on how to use existing ones, and knowledge sharing activities (meetings, events, conferences).

The event  brought out the following opportunities that participation in CoPs brings to all participants:

  • Sharing ideas, knowledge or experiences and work with others (networking);
  • Leveraging ideas or knowledge;
  • Working towards concrete solutions in citizen science and optimise relevant resources;
  • Helping broaden your own and your organisation’s knowledge and horizons (capacity development);
  • Linking up with relevant initiatives at a global, national, regional or local level