Citizen science funding boost

Inspiring Australia funds of $4.4 million will connect ‘citizen scientists’ to some of Australia’s leading universities and scientific organisations to participate in research projects. Through combining ‘people power’ with technologies like smartphone apps and the internet, citizen science studies can have a greater impact than research conducted by a small team of scientists alone. Among 13 successful applicants are UTS, Macquarie University, the Australian Museum and CSIRO.

Community members will be invited to make observations, collect and analyse samples and crunch data to contribute to peer-reviewed research across a range of topics. From collecting soil and water samples, identifying and recording animals and plants to measuring temperatures in urban areas, the activities that will be undertaken by citizen scientists  as part of these projects will help researchers achieve results more effectively.

Initiatives to receive grant funding include:

  • a CSIRO-led project where citizen scientists will collect and analyse water samples to help improve satellite-based water quality detection
  • Macquarie University research to collect and study the composition of household dust and its associated health risks
  • an examination by RMIT into the environmental effect of sunscreens on marine ecology in Port Phillip Bay.
  • the Australian Museum project to map the national distribution of frog populations using an app that identifies frogs by their call
  • an investigation by Macquarie and Sydney universities and Taronga Zoo into antibiotic resistance in native animals, through DNA testing of possum scats
  • Macquarie University scientists working with Aboriginal citizens of Arnhem Land to develop cross-cultural tools to assess the biodiversity of remote areas of Australia
  • researchers from the University of Western Australia using communities in south-west WA to test the effectiveness of biofertilisers
  • research by South Australian Museum scientists to collect information about microbat populations and their habitats in the Murray–Darling Basin region.

Citizen science is a great way for community members to understand and implement the scientific method and learn about the fundamentals of research. As they learn new skills, they will also get the chance to form links with scientific communities that would otherwise be unavailable to them. Congratulations to the project teams behind all the successful projects and we look forward to learning more about how community members can get involved!

Find out more about this year’s funded projects