As part of European Researchers’ Night, each year VA (Public & Science) coordinates a citizen science project that involves schools and the general public across the whole of Sweden.

A teacher and her pupils taking part in the 2018 mass experiment – The Ladybird experiment. Photo: Erik Cronberg.

Every year, thousands of Swedish pupils of all ages are involved in helping researchers gather huge amounts of data in a citizen science project. These so-called mass experiments are of mutual benefit; the researchers get more data than they could otherwise easily collect, the pupils get the opportunity to participate in real research, and teachers get material and methods based upon state-of-the-art research to integrate in the curriculum.

VA (Public & Science) coordinates the mass experiments as part of the European science festival, European Researchers’ Night.  Schools from across the whole of Sweden are involved.

The mass experiments efficiently link education to research, establishing valuable contacts with researchers and giving students insights into research methods and scientific thinking.

VA helps the researcher to design an experiment whereby students gather data guided by their teacher. Research projects are also selected according to how well they fit into the curriculum. Instructions and teachers’ manuals are jointly developed by the researcher and VA, and researchers also communicate directly with individual teachers and students using Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

We have been running mass experiments since 2009. 

Examples of our most recent mass experiments:

The Food Waste Experiment of 2020 investigates whether more information can result in less food being wasted. Here, pupils will be using an artificial intelligence app and the world’s largest food sustainability database.

If you’d like to find out more, please contact:

Fredrik Brounéus, Researcher & Press Officer at VA, fredrik (a)


Latest about the mass experiment:

| Vetenskap & Allmänhet

Swedish pupils to participate in research to reduce food waste

Can more information result in less food being wasted? Researchers will be investigating this together with pupils and teachers across the whole of Sweden in the Food Waste Experiment. To assist them, they will be using an artificial intelligence app and the world’s largest food sustainability database.

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| Vetenskap & Allmänhet

Star-Spotting Experiment shortlisted for international science engagement prize

The Star-Spotting Experiment, VA’s 2019 citizen science project to investigate light pollution, was shortlisted for the 2019 Falling Walls Science Engagement of the Year competition. Project manager, Lena Söderström was invited to Berlin in November to present the project in the final of the competition at the Falling Walls Conference. Here we talk to her about the experience.

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| Helen Garrison

Swedish Star-Spotting Experiment off to a sparkling start

The Star-Spotting Experiment, this year’s citizen science project in connection with the European Researchers’ Night events in Sweden, is now well underway. Members of the public across Sweden are helping scientists to measure light pollution by counting stars in the sky and recording the data in a specially-designed app. Here we catch up with Lena Söderström, Project Manager at VA (Public & Science), who is coordinating the Star-Spotting Experiment, to find out how the project is progressing.

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| Vetenskap & Allmänhet

Mass star-spotting experiment to investigate light pollution in Sweden

Street lamps, illuminated signs and buildings – lights at night improve safety and make cities more attractive, but have also been shown to have negative effects for humans and animals. The more light there is, the fewer stars you can see in the night sky. In this year’s mass experiment, more than 11,000 pupils, families and other members of the public will help scientists measure light pollution by counting stars in the sky.

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| Vetenskap & Allmänhet

Swedish citizen science initiative combines ladybird monitoring with artificial intelligence

Biodiversity is under threat. Can an app that recognises different species of ladybirds help provide a solution? Pupils and members of the public from across Sweden are being invited to get involved in real research to find out in a mass experiment being run as part of the 2018 Researchers’ Night in Sweden. The Ladybird Experiment is joint initiative between the Swedish Museum of Natural History and the civil society organisation VA (Public & Science).

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