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The MICS project


MICS brought together six partners to develop an integrated platform of metrics and instruments to measure costs and benefits of citizen science. These metrics consider the impacts of citizen science on the following domains:

  • Society: impact on society and individuals as well as collective (societal) values, understanding, actions and well-being (including relationships), e.g.: community building, improved volunteer health, changing citizens’ attitudes to environmental problems.
  • Economy: impact on the production and exchange of goods and services among economic agents; on entrepreneurial activity; economic benefits derived from data, e.g. for the public good or for the benefit of private sector actors, and business creation.
  • Environment: impact on the bio-chemical-physical environment, e.g. on the quality or quantity of specific natural resources or ecosystems, and improved river water quality and habitat.
  • Science and technology: impact on the scientific process (method) as well as research more broadly; on the scientific system (institutions; science policy; incentive structures), scientific paradigms and resulting technological artefacts (e.g. sensors, apps, platforms) and standards, e.g. new tools and technology to measure and monitor rivers, contributions to scientific knowledge.
  • Governance: impact on the processes and institutions through which decisions are made, both informal and formal (e.g. public policy), and on relationships/partnerships, as well as the governance of data generated, e.g. improved policies, legislation and decision making around river restoration.

The MICS project adopted and adapted the best practice generated by the Ground Truth 2.0 project in the co-creation of hands-on citizen science validated in four case-study sites across Europe, resulting in a comprehensive conceptual framework and clear recommendations for those involved in citizen-science projects. The four sites (in the UK, Italy, Hungary and Romania) explored the co-creation of citizen science in regions with differing needs, contexts, and approaches to environment management (for example, river restoration and nature-based solutions), and with various levels of citizen-science application.

MICS: Developing metrics and instruments to evaluate citizen-science impacts on the environment and society

Call: Horizon 2020 - SwafS-2018-2020 - Science with and for Society 

Topic: SwafS-15-2018-2019 - Exploring and supporting citizen science

Type of action: Research and Innovation Action (RIA)

Grant Agreement number: 824711

Duration: 1 January 2019 – 31 July 2022

Total budget: € 1,944,428


  • Provide comprehensive, participatory and inclusive metrics and instruments to evaluate citizen science impacts

  • Implement an impact-assessment knowledge-base through toolboxes for methods application, information visualisation, and delivery to decision makers, citizens and researchers

  • Improve the effectiveness of nature-based solutions through test-site development and citizen-science tool validation

  • Generate new approaches that strengthen the role of citizen science in supporting research and development

  • Foster a citizen-science approach to increase the extent to which scientific evidence is taken up by policy makers through recommendations and guidelines

Impact of citizen science

The MICS's tools measure the impacts of citizen science, making it easier to communicate the benefits of specific solutions, for example, nature-based solutions, leading to increased funding and uptake for these interventions. 

MICS has created a platform which can be used to assess the impact of any citizen-science project, whether it is at the planning stage or years after the project’s completion. Providing a clear framework for measuring impact will help to make citizen science more efficient and effective, reduce costs, and spread the use of citizen science more widely. All of this will strengthen the role played by citizen science in research and informing policy.

Luigi Ceccaroni, the coordinator of the project, said: “It’s totally applicable to any citizen-science project and MICS plans to integrate its impact-assessment tool into platforms like EU-Citizen.Science and COS4CLOUD. The project might help to demonstrate that the citizen-involvement angle has serious legs and that millions of people using apps to monitor the environment can make a difference. This citizen participation can build crucial political support for environmental action.”


The following users can take advantage of the MICS platform:

Civic educators and scientists as project managers or project leaders: Project managers and project leaders dealing with citizen science projects can use the MICS tools to assess the impact of their project and to compare it with other projects. If their project is above average, they can then publicise it and raise awareness about it. The platform will also provide them with a framework to describe their project in a detailed and standardised way.

Public authorities and decision-makers (including policymakers): This is a broad group comprising local and regional authorities, and public administrations at the national and international level, such as: the European Commission; entities responsible for the development of monitoring programmes; entities responsible for reporting and policy. They might be curious to know the impact of projects they funded, and they will learn something about maximising the impact of future investments in citizen science. They might also require project proposers to assess the potential impact of a project using the MICS platform.

Researchers and scientists: The research community, particularly researchers working in the field of citizen science, might become interested in the MICS platform’s development, results and innovation, and will find unforeseen uses of the platform, for example in the context of data quality assessment, knowledge representation and standardisation, or as an element of future projects.

Citizens’ networks: Citizen-science networks, such as ECSA, ACSA, CSA or EU-Citizen.Science can use the MICS tools to evaluate citizen-science activities, to study participation patterns, and to produce statistical analysis.

Citizens: Citizens might be able to find projects that fit their interests/values/skills and connect to them.