Understanding the creation of a community to engage in innovation processes by doing citizen science

Activity: Talk or presentation typesConference contribution (without a publication)Academic


The use of scientific principles and methods by non-professional scientists may be a promising way to improve public participation in research as well as public health. TOPFIT Citizenlab is a research and innovation programme aiming at increasing citizen involvement in researching, testing, modifying, and implementing technological innovations for health. Projects with citizen science approaches attract many participants, who are involved in different tasks varying in complexity. It is important to understand the preferences of participants to start a research project as well as to create a community with all involved stakeholders. By doing research and starting research projects in different areas, the formation of communities was investigated and evaluated.
Literature shows that a prerequisite of a community is the differentiation of problems or issues the stakeholders feel strongly about. There are multiple characteristics described to create partnership such as, communication, inclusivity, accountability, connections, trust, and visions. Less is written about the characteristics important in healthcare setting. In healthcare community building is often suggested to contribute to health inequalities, but it could also direct policy attention towards the priorities within a community. Recommendations often include suggestions on aspects for a safe environment in which stakeholders would engage, but these suggestions are not extensively described.
Within Citizenlab different pilot studies aimed to create a community of stakeholders in different healthcare settings. For example, a group of older adults with a migration background and their caregivers were engaged in the innovation process of a tablet to assist in their home, and a group of stakeholders within one neighbourhood were gathered to explore possible problems, issues, and ideas towards living happy, healthy, and safe at home in their neighbourhood. In these and more examples there are some aspects all have in common. 1) Building an equal relationship, 2) recognizing and acknowledging each other’s capacities, 3) openness towards different aims, and 4) having a learning environment. These four aspects will be explored and described based on the diversity of examples in creating a community and environment to engage.
Period12 May 2022
Event titleCitizen Science Conference
Event typeConference
LocationEnschede, NetherlandsShow on map
Degree of RecognitionRegional