User stories

Wondering how you might use the impact report produced by the MICS platform? Well, the platform has only just been released and one project - MONOCLE - has already used their MICS impact report to help write a section of a project deliverable on "evaluation of project impact". You can read how they used MICS below, and maybe this will provide you with some inspiration.

So how will you use the MICS platform? If you'd like to be featured on this page, we'd love to hear from you; just contact Sasha [This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.]

MONOCLE (Multiscale Observation Networks for Optical monitoring of Coastal waters, Lakes and Estuaries)

Extract from Deliverable 9.7 Evaluation of project impact

MICS analysis of project impact in the Citizen Science Sector 

To comparatively assess the impact of the citizen-science element of MONCOLE, we utilised the MICS (Measuring Impact of Citizen Science) standardised impact assessment tool.  

The impact-assessment process on the MICS platform includes over 200 questions, each with a pre-defined set of answers that users choose from. These questions assess hundreds of indicators and are based on current impact-assessment methods and other frameworks, such as the ECSA characteristics of citizen science. The specific answers from each project are analysed through a series of artificial-intelligence (AI) algorithms, which result in impact scores across five domains – science and technology, society, governance, environment and economy – all of which are scored out of a maximum of 42 points. 

At the time of submission, the algorithms are still in a “learning” phase of development, with the machine-learning scores attributed to the project subject to change based on further data input. However, the rule-based scores are calculated based on a set of rules which combine specific sets of impact metrics on the same theme into a single indicator and are therefore already useful to consider.  

MONOCLE scored highest in the science and Technology domain, with a score of 31 for scientific productivity – a measure of how much output scientists produce within a certain time period, or compared to the inputs that are utilized for the research – and a score of 36 for interdisciplinary science: the collaborative process of integrating knowledge/expertise from trained individuals of two or more disciplines. This collaborative process has been shown to be statistically significantly and positively associated with research impact. These scores reflect the collaborative nature of the work conducted in WP2 and WP3 (development of sensors and integration into platforms such as citizen science), and the outputs of the project in terms of technology and solutions. 

MONOCLE also produced respectable scores in the Environment domain, with scores of 26 and 22 for environmental awareness and environmental footprint, respectively. These scores reflect the status of the project as ready (and tested) to engage with citizen science projects rather than achieved societal impact. Across other domains there is mixed feedback. In Economy, while economic productivity (output per unit of input) did not score highly, financial sustainability - the assessment that a project will have sufficient means to sustain its outputs - did (31), reflecting the exploitation efforts of WP8. In Governance, an understanding of, and reporting around the SDGs scored well (26), however Policy was much lower (7). This score would be improved upon publication and uptake of the drafted white paper in the short term, and it is worth noting that the assessment on the MICS platform can be updated at any time to reflect the evolution of the project, even beyond the end of the project. 

In Society, MONOCLE scored well (26) in activeness - the level of cognitive engagement of participants – but less well in involvement; the degree of participation in different stages of a project. This is a fair criticism of the ongoing citizen science element of MONOCLE: whilst participants had to fully cognitively engage with the activities, there were limited phases of the project in which they played a role – namely data collection, and with the sole purpose of testing new technology. These scores are not surprising considering the scope of MONOCLE is not to do citizen science, but to develop support for it, and so including citizen scientists in other phases of the project would not have been appropriate in this instance. 

In summary, MONOCLE had a positive impact in aspects of all impact domains, with particularly positive impact on science and technology as a whole, as well as financial sustainability and participant activeness within the economy and society domains, respectively. 

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 824711.

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