RIVMNational Institute for Public Health and the Environment is committed to being innovative, and becoming a key player in citizen science is fully in line with that goal,” says Danielle Timmermans, Chief Science Officer for Risk Communication at RIVM. In an online magazine on Citizen Science, RIVM shares its vision on Citizen Science. “Citizen science helps scientists become better citizens”, says Lea den Broeder, Project manager for research on citizen science within the RIVM Strategic Programme. Citizen science makes scientists of everyone. 

In the context of citizen science in Europe, everyone is still figuring out their roles; the Netherlands as a whole and RIVMNational Institute for Public Health and the Environment , in particular, are frontrunners in this field.

Citizen science refers to the active participation of citizens in scientific research by defining the research question, actively collect data, perform their own analyses, or make suggestions for next steps based on the conclusions.  

Some articles from this e-magazine Citizen Science: everyone's a scientist:

  • Lea den Broeder and Daniëlle Timmermans about RIVM’s citizen science vision 2023: “When you involve citizens in research, the message is conveyed more clearly.  Citizen science generates robust knowledge which is accepted by society”. 
  • Hester Volten researcher at the RIVM Centre for Environmental Monitoring of RIVM: “Citizen science is changing our entire way of working". 
  • Transmitter off, receiver on. The Eigenwijks residents’ association played a crucial role in recruiting and coaching participating residents for the 'KIJK! Een gezonde wijk project', a local initiative promoting health awareness. Director Dick Glastra van Loon advises researchers: “Define the difference you could make for residents beforehand.”
  • Dozens of secondary school pupils are contributing to scientific research as citizen scientists. In ‘The Living Soil’ project pupils measure how healthy the soil is, for instance by counting earthworms. Liesbet Dirven, researcher at RIVM’s Centre for Sustainability, Environment and Health, considers the citizen science project an excellent opportunity for RIVM to build stronger ties to society.

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Relationship science and society is changing

Chief Science Officer Danielle Timmermans: “The increased interest in citizen science is an expression of the changing relationship between science and society. Citizens have become more critical about scientific research, but also consider it more important and are more eager to get involved than in the past. In each and every scientific project, it is important to ask whether citizens can be involved in the research, and if so, how”.