Citizen science projects provide opportunities for those interested in advancing scientific research in various fields of choice. Participants can help in different ways, including data collection, engaging in focus groups, or taking part in research designs. The goal is to involve the public in “inquiry and discovery of new scientific knowledge.”
Participants do not necessarily need to have a scientific background. There are around 1500 current projects available; examples include monitoring wildlife populations in South Africa, collecting soil samples from your own backyards for researchers at the University of Oklahoma to extract fungi for drugs, and contributing to the National Cancer Institute’s Biomedical Citizen Science Hub, a collection of biomedical citizen science resources. Slate Magazine recently wrote about the project and its possible contributions to scientific research.
The project hopes to engage the public “by harnessing the power of people who are motivated by curiosity, a desire to advance research, or a concern about environmental conditions in their communities, then connecting them to projects that benefit from their energy and dedication.” Science and technology will continue to shape our future, and this is an opportunity to participate in that on the community level.