Citizen science sounds like a new invention but is essentially an established concept – the involvement of members of the general public in the search for knowledge and new information. Centuries ago, passionate amateur researchers were already making contributions to scientific discoveries by conducting experiments to investigate and document natural phenomena or taking part in bird counts.

The options for public involvement in science have expanded rapidly in recent years. New digital technologies enable citizens to take an active part in large-scale research projects, wherever they are. Data can be collected via smartphone apps, for instance, or submitted via online portals. Some research projects would be impossible without this kind of support because scientific evidence often requires large volumes of data, which professional scientists are not really in a position to collect on their own.

In addition, there is an increasing need for citizens to be involved in all stages and processes of research – from defining new research questions and drawing up project concepts through to analysis and publication.

The Leibniz Association promotes citizen science in a number of different areas and plays a leading role in shaping its further development.

Leibniz Network for Citizen Science

The Leibniz Network Citizen Science aims to pool the activities and competencies in the field of Citizen Science within the Leibniz Association and to actively introduce the topic of Citizen Science into the scientific and strategic discourse. The network currently comprises 21 institutes from four sections.

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Citizen science platform: Bürger schaffen Wissen

The ‘Bürger schaffen Wissen’ website is the central platform for citizen science in Germany. It provides an overview of citizen science projects, connects stakeholders and supports the ongoing debate about citizen science. The online platform is a joint project by Wissenschaft im Dialog (Science in Dialogue) and the Museum für Naturkunde – Leibniz Institute for Evolution and Biodiversity Science. It is funded by the Germany Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and Stifterverband für die deutsche Wissenschaft.


European Citizen Science Association

The European Citizen Science Association (ECSA) promotes the citizen science movement in Europe and the rest of the world. The network of citizen science initiatives, research institutes, universities and museums from over 17 EU countries is led by the Museum für Naturkunde – Leibniz Institute for Evolution and Biodiversity Science (MFN) in Berlin.



Selected Citizen science projects

Dr Matthias Premke-Kraus
Leibniz Association
Chausseestr. 111
10115 Berlin
T +49 30 20 60 49 62