Understanding Citizen Science

Understanding Cizizen Science

Short description

The Citizen Science Working Group embraces a transdisciplinary approach linking biodiversity with people through citizen science. We conduct biodiversity research projects using citizen science approaches. We are also interested in the effects of citizen science and assess how learning and science communication can be enhanced through 'learning-by-doing' in citizen science projects. Further, we investigate the citizen science impact on pro-environmental behaviour and well-being. Futhermore, we assess policy development through citizen science and developed the Greenpaper for the Citizen science strategy 2020 for Germany through the ‘BürGEr Schaffen WISSen’ GEWISS study.



Schwalbenschwanz © Erk Dallmeyer

The VielFalterGarten project is committed to the protection of butterflies in the city of Leipzig. BUND Leipzig, the city of Leipzig and scientists from the UFZ and iDiv invite citizens to join in. Together we want to observe butterflies and make sure that our gardens, balconies and city parks are butterfly-friendly.

VielFalterGarten Website
VielFalterGarten - Das Projekt (Video)
VielFalterGarten - Mitmachen (Video)



The project FLOW aims to investigate the potential of Citizen Science for ecological and ecotoxicological stream monitoring. We invite citizen groups (e.g. members of environmental organisations and anglers clubs, high school students from grades 9-12 and other interested groups) to investigate the ecological status and pesticide contamination of streams and small rivers in their vicinity.

FLOW Website

Pflanze KlimaKultur!

Pflanze KlimaKultur!

We want to observe and research the influence of climate change on the seasonal development stages (phenology) of selected herbaceous plant species in as many private and public gardens as possible. In this way, we will learn how climate changes affect the growth phases of plants.

Pflanze KlimaKultur! Website



MikroSafari ist ein Citizen Science Projekt in dem WissenschaftlerInnen in Zusammenarbeit mit Kindern und Jugendlichen aus Schulen in Berlin, Halle und Leipzig neue Erkenntnisse über die Artenzusammensetzung von Insekten, inklusiv anderer Kleintiere, den Klimawandel und die Verstädterung gewinnen.

MikroSafari Website

Further projects:

Citizen Science Strategie 2030

The Future of Citizen Science

On April 29, 2022, the Citizen Science Strategy 2030 for Germany was officially launched and a number of current projects were presented to the public at a Citizen Science Festival. The strategy addresses the greatest challenges and potentials of Citizen Science over the next ten years. It contains 94 concrete recommendations for action to further develop citizen science in Germany and anchor it permanently in science, society and politics. The Citizen Science Strategy 2030 Germany was developed in a two-year participatory process with more than 200 stakeholders from 136 organizations. The process was largely funded by the Deutsche Bundesstiftung Umwelt (DBU) and the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).

Download Citizen Science Strategy 2030 (9 MB)


This project works with volunteers across Germany to record insects using car nets to assess the impact of land use intensity and fragmentation of insect populations. DNA-metabarcoding and automated image classification methods are developed with partners to aid insect identification. In addition, we analyse motivation in conservation-based citizen science.

InsectMobile Website

  • Coolspots! Schülerinnen und Schüler erforschen Leipziger Naturräume: This project investigates the effects of citizen science as an intervention regarding learning outcomes for biodiversity with high school students
  • Israeli Butterfly Monitoring Scheme (BMS-IL)
  • PhenObs: PhenObs is a global network of botanical gardens bringing together researchers, students and citizen scientists to learn more about the impacts of climate change on the phenology of herbaceous plant species.
  • PolDiv - Automated high throughput pollen diversity monitoring to study the ecosystem services air quality and pollination (wind and insect pollination): This projects develops automated pollen sampling tools and applies citizen science as a tool to map pollen diversity in the surroundings of Leipzig.

  • Dr. Anders P. Tøttrup, Associate Professor, Natural History Museum of Denmark, University of Copenhagen
  • Cecilie Skræp Svenningsen, Natural History Museum of Denmark, University of Copenhagen
  • Prof Nicole van Dam, iDiv, Friedrich-Schiller University Jena
  • Prof. Joachim Denzler, Computer Vision Group, Friedrich-Schiller University Jena
  • Prof. Rob Dunn, Department of Biological Sciences, North Carolina State University
  • Prof. Jens Dauber, Thuenen-Institut
  • Dr. Andreas Stark, Zentralmagazin Naturwissenschaftlicher Sammlungen, Halle

Publications (selection)

  • Bonn, A., Hecker, S., Bowser, A., Makuch, Z., Vogel, J. & Haklay, M. (2018) Citizen science to foster innovation in open science, society and policy. In: Hecker, S. et al. (eds.), Citizen Science – Innovation in Open Science, Society and Policy. UCL Press, London, 465-484.
  • Bonn, A., A. Richter, K. Vohland, L. Pettibone, M. Brandt, R. Feldmann, C. Goebel, C. Grefe, S. Hecker, L. Hennen, H. Hofer, S. Kiefer, S. Klotz, T. Kluttig, J. Krause, K. Küsel, C. Liedtke, A. Mahla, V. Neumeier, M. Premke-Kraus, M. C. Rillig, O. Röller, L. Schäffler, B. Schmalzbauer, U. Schneidewind, A. Schumann, J. Settele, K. Tochtermann, K. Tockner, J. Vogel, W. Volkmann, H. von Unger, D. Walther, M. Weisskopf, C. Wirth, T. Witt, D. Wolst & D. Ziegler (2016) Greenpaper Citizen Science Strategy 2020 for Germany. Leipzig & Berlin.
  • Hecker, S., Wicke, N., Haklay, M. & Bonn, A. (in press). How Does Policy Conceptualise Citizen Science? A Qualitative Content Analysis of International
  • Hecker, S. & Wicke, N. (2019), Roles of actors in citizen science in international policy documents. In: Bartoschek T, Nüst D and Pesch M (eds) Forum Citizen Science 2019 - Die Zukunft der Bürgerforschung. Münster, 1-10. DOI: 10.17605/OSF.IO/68UWN.
  • Hecker S., Garbe L., Bonn A. (2018) The European citizen science landscape – a snapshot. In: Hecker, S. et al. (eds.), Citizen Science – Innovation in Open Science, Society and Policy. UCL Press, London, 190-200.
  • Hecker, S., R. Bonney, M. Haklay, F. Hölker, H. Hofer, C. Goebel, M. Gold, Z. Makuch, M. Ponti, A. Richter, L. Robinson, J. R. Iglesias, R. Owen, T. Peltola, A. Sforzi, J. Shirk, J. Vogel, K. Vohland, T. Witt & A. Bonn (2018) Innovation in Citizen Science – Perspectives on Science-Policy Advances. Citizen Science: Theory and Practice 3(1).
  • Hecker, S., Haklay, M., Bowser, A., Makuch, Z., Vogel, J. & Bonn, A. (2018) Citizen Science – Innovation in Open Science, Society and Policy. UCL Press, London.
  • Hecker S., Haklay M., Bowser A., Makuch Z., Vogel J., Bonn A. (2018) Innovation in Open Science, Society and Policy – Setting the Agenda for Citizen Science. In: Hecker, S. et al. (eds.), Citizen Science – Innovation in Open Science, Society and Policy. UCL Press, London, 1-24.
  • Kelly, R., Fleming, A., Pecl, G., Richter, A. & Bonn, A. (2019) Social licence through citizen science: A tool for marine conservation. Ecology & Society, 14, 16.
  • Richter, A. (2019) Digitale Medien und Techniken im ehrenamtlichen Naturschutz. Natur und Landschaft, 94, 103-111.
  • Richter, A., D. Dörler, D., Hecker, S., Heigl, F., Pettibone, L., Serrano Sanz, F., Vohland, K., & Bonn, A. (2018) Capacity building in citizen science. In: Hecker, S. et al. (eds.), Citizen Science – Innovation in Open Science, Society and Policy. UCL Press, London, 269-283.
  • Richter, A., Hauck, J., Feldmann, R., Kühn, E., Harpke, A., Hirneisen, N., Mahla, A., Settele, J. & Bonn, A. (2018) The social fabric of citizen science—drivers for long-term engagement in the German butterfly monitoring scheme. Journal of Insect Conservation, 22, 731–743.
  • Richter, A., Singer-Brodowski, M., Hecker, S., Trénel, M., Letz, B. & Bonn, A. (2018) Positionspapier: Handlungsbedarfe und Maßnahmen für die Förderung von Citizen Science in der Umweltbildung und Umweltkommunikation. UFZ-Diskussionspapiere 2/2018. Helmholtz-Zentrum für Umweltforschung. Leipzig.
  • Richter, A., Siebert, A., Hecker, S., et al (in press) Storytelling for narrative approaches in citizen science: towards a generalized model. Science Communication.
  • Turrini, T., Dörler, D., Richter, A., Heigl, F. & Bonn, A. (2018) The threefold potential of environmental citizen science - Generating knowledge, creating learning opportunities and enabling civic participation. Biological Conservation, 225, 176-186.