ACCELERATOR

Bringing together Research and Practice – the ACTION Accelerator

How can we help citizen science projects become more participatory, rigorous and inclusive? The ACTION Accelerator replies to this challenge with an intensive support programme, providing citizen science projects access to expertise and training in engagement, data science, inclusion and participation. All projects become part of a network of practice in participatory research, are provided with bespoke consultancy and participate in peer-to-peer learning, supported throughout by a mentor.

The ACTION Accelerator methodology has been developed through working closely with ACTION’s citizen science projects, allowing us to refine and promote the adoption of best practice in participatory research.

With our focus on projects related to pollution, the ACTION Accelerator supports projects addressing some of the most pressing challenges of Citizen Science today.

We are currently working with our second cohort of projects in Round 2 of the Accelerator.

In October 2020 four ACTION pilots funded by the 1st Open Call successfully passed their final review and graduated, after having participated in the Accelerator programme. To find out more about the first round of the Accelerator, take a look at our project pages and our report Lessons Learned from Running A Citizen Science Accelerator (during a pandemic).

Here a feedback from one of the participants:
“As our first citizen science project, we couldn’t be happier with the professional, precise and open support and constructive discussions we had throughout the accelerator with our fantastic mentoring team, and how that translated into a stronger project”.

Bringing together Research and Practice – the ACTION Accelerator

How can we help citizen science projects become more participatory, rigorous and inclusive? The ACTION Accelerator replies to this challenge with an intensive support programme, providing citizen science projects access to expertise and training in engagement, data science, inclusion and participation. All projects are supported by a mentor. In addition they become part of a network of practice in participatory research, are provided with bespoke consultancy and participate in peer-to-peer learning.

The ACTION Accelerator methodology has been developed in response to working closely with ACTION’s citizen science projects, both those recruited through an open call, and with case study projects who have been with us from the beginning. We have refined and promoted the adoption of best practice in participatory research.

With our focus on projects related to pollution, the ACTION Accelerator has been researching how best to support projects addressing some of the most pressing challenges of Citizen Science today.

We are currently working with our second cohort of projects in Round 2 of the Accelerator.

In October 2020 four ACTION pilots funded by the 1st Open Call successfully passed the internal final review and graduated, after having participated in the Accelerator programme. To find out more about the first round of the Accelerator, take a look at our project pages and our report Lessons Learned from Running A Citizen Science Accelerator (during a pandemic).

 

Here a feedback from one of the participants:
“As our first citizen science project, we couldn’t be happier with the professional, precise and open support and constructive discussions we had throughout the accelerator with our fantastic mentoring team, and how that translated into a stronger project”.

How it works

Citizen science projects apply for participating in the six-month Accelerator period. It includes the following steps.

STEP 1

Open Call

Apply to be part of the Accelerator

The ACTION project has run two Open Calls, recruiting 10 projects to join the Accelerator programme in two cohorts. Each successful pilot project receives intensive and bespoke support from the consortium plus €20,000 over a period of 6 months.

STEP 2

Selection Process

Review and Interview

Applications were reviewed. The review panels shortlisted applications for a remote interview.

STEP 3

Mentor Assignment

First Steps with ACTION Accelerator

Mentors from the ACTION consortium were assigned to incoming projects based on the information supplied in the projects’ applications.

STEP 4

Needs Assessment

In-depth Assessment

During the negotiations phase, the projects begin to elaborate their project plan and work closely with their mentor to assess their needs and how ACTION can support them over the 6 month period.

STEP 5

Kick-off Workshop

Intensive training and Networking

During the negotiations phase, the Accelerator held a Kick-off Workshop. In Round 2, this was held online in January 201 due to the COVID pandemic. The workshop programme delivers intensive training from experts in relevant areas, and is tailored to the needs of the incoming projects, and is also a great opportunity to meet the other citizen science projects working with ACTION. The Workshop Report from Round 1 gives more information on the first Kick-Off Meeting, which was held at FVB-IGB in Berlin, Germany, in February 2020.

 

STEP 6

Bespoke Support

Developed for each Pilot

Once a concrete plan is made, the pilots join the ACTION Accelerator for 6 months and are provided with bespoke support from the ACTION consortium, mediated by their mentor, at all stages of the projects’ development. The support includes, for example, consulting on community data management, evaluation and sustainability.

STEP 7

Webinar Programme

Online training and sharing

The Accelerator runs a webinar programme developed in response to the projects’ needs, which address common challenges for citizen science projects, such as recruitment and maintenance of a community, data visualisation and stakeholder engagement. The webinars also give an opportunity for projects to share their experiences as part of the ACTION citizen science network. Webinar recordings are published on this page.

 

STEP 8

Regular Meetings

Keeping in touch

Pilot projects have regular communication with their mentors, approximately once a month, usually remotely, in which they discuss the project’s progress, future plans and interaction with the ACTION consortium.

STEP 9

Diversity and Inclusion Calls

Learning together

Regular Diversity and Inclusion calls allow the projects to share experiences related to including more diverse stakeholders, managing communities and making projects accessible.

 

STEP 10

Final Review

Getting feedback and plan the future

In the Final Review, project leads present their work over the Accelerator period to a panel, chaired by their mentor. The successful completion of the Final Review is a requirement for graduating from the ACTION Accelerator.

People of the ACTION Accelerator
The ACTION Accelerator is led by Kat Austen.

Accelerator Projects 2021

Mapping Mobility – crowd-sourced methods of mobility

Open Soil Atlas – open source methods for mapping soil health

Restart Data Workbench – understanding the carbon savings of electronic self-repair

Walk Up Aniene – monitoring riverbank biodiversity

Water Sentinels – working with the community to improve water quality

Accelerator Projects 2020

CitiComPlastic – composting methods for bioplastic

In My Backyard – sustainable methods for small scale food growing

Noise Maps – mapping the sonic heritage of Barcelona

Sonic Kayaks – open source methods for mapping water and air pollution

WOWNature – investigating the effect of forests on air quality

People of the ACTION Accelerator
The ACTION Accelerator is led
by Kat Austen
.

Mentors 2020 – members of the ACTION consortium who accompany the Accelerator projects 

Elena Simperl

Neal Reeves

Gefion Thuermer

Esteban González Guardia

Rafael Gonzalez Fuentetaja

Roy van Grunsven

Webinars

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