Vespucci Training School on Digital Transformations in Citizen Science and Social Innovation

A training school co-funded by JRC ( and COST Action 15212 Citizen Science to promote creativity, scientific literacy, and innovation throughout Europe
Date: January 21-25, 2019
Venue: Fattoria di Maiano, Via Benedetto da Maiano, 11, 50014 Fiesole FI, Italy
Nearest airports: Florence and Pisa; Nearest railway station: Florence.
Language of the training school: English
Maximum Number of Participants: 20
Organization Committee:
- Sven Schade, European Commission DG Joint Research Centre (JRC), Ispra, Italy
- Marisa Ponti, European Commission DG Joint Research Centre (JRC), Ispra, Italy
- Cristina Capineri, University of Siena, Italy (local organiser)
 Muki Haklay, University College London, UK
 Mara Balestrini, CEO Ideas For Change, Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain
 Stefan Daume, Founder and Chief Data Wrangler at the Scitingly Project, Stockholm Sweden
 Sven Schade, JRC
 Cristina Capineri, University of Siena, Italy
 Marisa Ponti, JRC

Aim and Goals of the Training School
This training school is a five-day event for doctoral students, researchers, policymakers, civic entrepreneurs, designers, and civil servants who are interested in exploring and learning about:

1. how citizen science can be understood and/or used as a strategic or intentional approach to social innovation;
2. the intertwinement of social innovation with socio-technical developments, including the impacts of digital transformation;
3. the relationship between policy framing, participatory research, and social innovation.
The Role of Digital Technologies in Engaging Citizens (not only Citizen Scientists) in Social Innovation
With the widespread availability of cheap, ubiquitous and powerful tools like the internet, the world-wide-web, social media and smartphone apps, new ways of carrying out both citizen science and social innovation have become possible. Often this means that barriers for citizens to engage in both science and social innovation have been lowered in terms of communication, outreach and scaling and thresholds for participation have also been lowered. There is an enormous potential for these technologies to strengthen the role of intermediary civil organizations and communities, and thereby to re-balance the playing field in favour of a broader range of actors - even those who do not use Information and Communication Technologies (ICT). ICTs can also help citizen engagement in policy framing by facilitating their involvement throughout the policy cycle, from agenda setting to service design and provision up to policy impact evaluation, creating new roles for stakeholders and enabling new power relations. However, digital technology should also be put in context, as it is often not leading edge but existing off-the-shelf technologies that are used in social innovation. Thus, technology must always be seen in its close intertwinement with the actual world of people, places, and digital skills people may or may not have. (For more details, please see this document)

Outcome(s) of the Training School:
Participants will learn about new forms of collaborative socio-technical development for social innovation, analyze case studies, and apply what they have learned by building a real collaborative socio-technical development for involving citizens and other stakeholders. As a result, participants will learn new skills and, more importantly, they will know new people, peers to collaborate with and/or other professionals who can help their projects.

The program is built upon three main tracks. The first three days will be devoted to introducing participants to these tracks (one track per day). The last two days will be devoted to group work.

1. Overview of citizen science in research and innovation. This track will explore the following aspects:
a. Participation of citizens, e.g., RRI and citizen engagement in scientific research.
b. The relationship between citizen science and social innovation: what is social value, and how do citizens go about creating it? How do we see the role of citizens in the process of social innovation? What are suitable strategies for effective engagement of citizens in social innovation at different administrative levels? Do we need citizen science to foster social innovation?

2. Citizen science, social innovation, and policy-framing. This track will explore the following aspects:
a. The relationship between citizen science and policy: post-fact world, post-truth politics, and evidence for policy.
b. Mechanisms to be put in place to move further from knowledge to action.
c. The policy-framing cycle: differences at administrative levels, geographic scales, informality vs formality.

3. Digital technologies in citizen science and social innovation: opportunities and risks. This track will explore the following aspects:
a. The relationship between different types of digital technologies and the social innovation outcomes that can be delivered: for example, by examining the focus of the innovation, i.e. is it in the digital technology itself? Is it in how this technology interacts with other activities? Is it in how social needs are being met, etc?
b. The different combinations of actors, roles and relationships in different types of social innovation, as well as which actors use what types of digital technologies and in which ways.
c. Inclusiveness: how can we make it possible for a broader cross-section of society to participate? How can we lower the “entry level”?

Review the Programme 2015