Talk to robots in new Citizen Science project


Trace your family tree, help robots to communicate or get an image done of your retina – all in the name of science

Getting involved in research

Whatever you’re into, there’s likely a Citizen Science project to go along with it. Six more projects in Flanders have been chosen for funding as part of the initiative, bringing the total to 13.

Citizen Science uses data gathered by residents, with people reporting findings and information to researchers. This allows field research to be done over a large population or area that could not be carried out by researchers alone.

Earlier this year, innovation minister Philippe Muyters selected seven Citizen Science projects to share €1 million in funding. Included was Ghent University’s Spin-City, for which residents are monitoring spiders in webs for their colour. The number of spiders, as well as their colour helps determine valuable environmental data. Citizens are also getting retina imaging to help tech research centre Vito build a database of risk factors in the fight against diabetes.

Trace your mum’s family

Now Muyters has announced six more projects to receive a total of €900,000. The six projects chosen were part of the original 50 applications for funding received during the first call for applications. The allocated budget could not support all 13 projects judged as “very good” by a jury of experts, but now more funding could be allocated.

Among the six new projects is KU Leuven’s intriguing MamaMito, which asks citizens to trace their family history back through their maternal line “instead of only the classic paternal line” in order to expand demographic research. Burgerprat, meanwhile – a collaboration between Ghent University and imec wants to use your voice to help robotic machines improve their own communication skills.

Citizen Science projects the world over can be found on the Iedereen Wetenschapper website. Searches can be done by topic, work involved or for Belgium only.

Another call for funding for Citizen Science applications will be launched next year.