Insight’s work on citizen science was mentioned by Minister for Further and Higher Education Simon Harris in the Dáil last month. Minister Harris was discussing the SFI Creating Our Future events and singled Insight initiatives out as examples of the success of that particular initiative. In his speech Minister Harris said,
“Researchers joined the Creating our Future events to speak directly to communities. This is really important, not just to have researchers speaking to researchers but to have civil society engagement. More than 18,000 submissions were received from members of the public.
I am delighted that, as a result of one of these events, Insight, the SFI research centre for data analytics, is now working with a community group in Oranmore on the Crowd4Access project. This citizen science project empowers citizens to map the accessibility of Irish pavements for those with various mobility challenges, and represents a partnership between citizens and professional technology. It is an interesting area for the Leas-Cheann Comhairle too, I am sure. Insight is also working with the Europe Direct centre based at the Ballinasloe library to provide citizen science projects to secondary schools in the locality. This is precisely the impact we had hoped for when we launched Creating our Future – communities coming together to discuss their challenges, engaging with researchers on addressing them and ultimately working together through a citizen science project.
I will be bringing the final report of the Creating our Future project to Government, and it is my intention that projects involving all sorts of citizen and community interactions will form a continuing part of the engagement by the research community.”