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.
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:
- 2016 The Notice Board mass examined the function of the physical notice board in the digital age and won an Open Knowledge Award for Best Open Science Initiative.
- 2017 The News Evaluator Experiment on source criticism investigated the type of news in young people’s online news feeds.
- 2018 The Ladybird Experiment combined ladybird monitoring with artificial intelligence to learn more about biodiversity.
- 2019 The Star-Spotting Experiment investigated light pollution at a local level across Sweden, and also in Ireland, UK and Spain.
- 2020 The Food Waste Experiment investigated whether more information can result in less food being wasted. Here, pupils used an artificial intelligence app and the world’s largest food sustainability database.
- 2021 The Housing Experiment will be investigating how accessible Swedish homes are for an ageing population.
- 2022 The Plastic Experiment investigates and analyses plastic waste and the extent of it in the Swedish natural environment.