2 March 2017

Council Room, KCL (Strand Campus), WC2R 2LS London


Barbara Prainsack, Sabina Leonelli, Alena Buyx and Bruno Strasser

Aims of the conference

In biomedicine, initiatives subsumed under the heading of “citizen science” are highly diverse, ranging from projects run by academic institutions to private companies, patient associations, or individual citizens. They generally involve “lay people” collecting ors analysing large and diverse datasets. Some initiatives are designed to obtain data about the user, or to encourage volunteers to produce data. This development coincides with increasing attention to participatory processes and “patient empowerment” in medicine more broadly, without which – as some policy makers explicitly state – healthcare systems will not be sustainable.

Despite the great variety in the meanings and uses citizen science, is not without precedents. So-called “amateurs” have long made substantive contributions the creation of scientific and medical knowledge. What, then, explains the large amount of attention that citizen science, as a concept and as a phenomenon, has received since the end of the 20th century, and what are its effects, as well as social and ethical implications?

This one-day conference, organised by three different projects concerned with citizen science in Exeter (Sabina Leonelli), Geneva (Bruno Strasser), Kiel (Alena Buyx), and London (Barbara Prainsack), will take a critical look at the role of citizen science in biomedical research in the 21st century, considering a wide variety of perspectives. Barbara Evans will give a keynote address.


For last-minute changes check here.

 9:00 Welcome and presentation “Citizen Science in Biomedicine – Mapping the field”: Alena Buyx (University of Kiel) & Barbara Prainsack (KCL).

 9:45 Ilaria Galasso & Giuseppe Testa (both Univeristy of Milano): Citizen Science in Precision Medicine: a Route to Democracy in Health?

10:15 Giulia Frezza & Mauro Capocci (both La Sapienza, Rome): Health in the Factory. The historical roots of Italian citizen science.

10:45 Coffee Break

11:15 Vanessa Heggie (University of Birmingham): Doing Science where there are no Citizens: Lay participation in biomedical Antarctic science c. 1880–1980.

11:45 Javier Lezaun (University of Oxford): Open-Sourcing Pharma: The Case of Antimalarial Drug Discovery.

12:15 Bruno Strasser & Dana Mahr (both University of Geneva): Our Digital Bodies, Our Digital Selves?

12:45 Lunch

13:45 Sabina Leonelli & Niccolò Tempini (both University of Exeter): Using Citizen Data Beyond “Citizen Science”.

14:15 Staffan Müller-Wille (University of Exeter): Citizen Science avant la lettre.

14:45 Rosen Bogdanov & Eduard Aibar (both Universitat Oberta de Catalunya): Do–It–Yourself Biology as Citizen Science: Taking Participation a Step Further.

15:15 Nils Heyen (Fraunhofer Institute): Quantified Self as Personal (Citizen) Science.

15:45 Megan Clinch, Richard Ashcroft, Sara Shaw, Deborah Swinglehurst (Queen Mary University of London, University of Oxford): Collaboration not corroboration: producing and posing relevant life science questions.

16:15 Coffee break

16:45 Keynote: Barbara Evans (University of Houston)

18:00 Closing

Conference outcomes

Each presentation has lead an extended post on Harvard University's Bill of Health blog, together forming the `Citizen Science Blog Symposium'. The introduction is here and all articles are here.

Summary in Tweets


Places for this free event were limited, registration with This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. was required.