Mutual learning exercise on citizen science initiatives

The Mutual Learning Exercise (MLE) of the Policy Support Facility (PSF) of the European Commission on ‘Citizen Science Initiatives - Policy and Practice’ (CSI-PP) commenced in December 2021. 

The purpose of this MLE is to facilitate the exchange of information, experience and lessons, as well as to identify good practices, policies and programmes in relation to varying approaches at local, regional and national levels, towards supporting and scaling up citizen science. An additional objective is to identify citizen science campaigns that have high potential to be implemented in a collaborative way across the European Research Area (ERA).

The role of Citizen Science (CS) in supporting research and innovation (R&I) in the European Union (EU) has been growing in the past years. Starting with the 2015 White Paper on Citizen Science, which rolled out a strategy for a substantial increase of the use of Citizen Science and practice in support of scientific advances, the attention given to the potential of CS for Member States and the EU has been increasing. A clear example is the incorporation of CS as a core dimension of the new ERA. The 2020 Commission Communication stated that engagement of citizens, local communities and civil society will be at the core of the new ERA to achieve greater societal impact and increased trust in science. and the 2021 Council Recommendation on a “Pact for R&I in Europe” lists “active citizen and societal engagement in R&I” as a priority area for joint action in the EU.

The Horizon Europe Programme also aims to “engage and involve citizens and civil society organisations in co-designing and co-creating responsible research and innovation agendas and contents, promoting science education, making scientific knowledge publicly accessible, and facilitating participation by citizens and civil society organisations in its activities”.

This PSF MLE exercise responds to the request submitted by the Trio Presidency of Germany, Portugal and Slovenia, and eleven countries are participating (Germany, Portugal, Slovenia, Austria, Belgium, France, Hungary, Italy, Norway, Romania and Sweden). 

The MLE is structured in five rounds of meetings on specific topics that have been pre-identified by the participating countries, and were presented and agreed upon by all participants during the first meeting. 

  • Topic 1: Introduction and overview of Citizen Science

  • Topic 2: Ensuring good practices and impacts

  • Topic 3: Maximising the relevance and excellence of citizen science 

  • Topic 4: Enabling environments and sustaining citizen science

  • Topic 5: Scaling up citizen science 

Prior to each meeting, the participants are provided with pre-reading and pre-listening inputs, including a Challenge Paper on the specific policy challenge that is the focus of that meeting.  

The outputs of each of these five meetings will include summary minutes of the main points discussed during the meetings and thematic reports on the respective topics, in addition to the challenge papers. The thematic reports will include good practices, lessons learned and success factors identified in the meetings.  

A final meeting will be organised in DG R&I offices in Brussels to present and gather participant feedback on the draft Final Report and agree on the findings, experiences, conclusions and recommended ways to tackle the challenges that were the focus of the MLE. The MLE Final Report will include good practices, lessons learned and success factors based on robust evidence about the impacts of those measures. 

A dissemination event will be organised in Brussels which will serve as an opportunity to present the results of the MLE to a wider audience, and highlight possible follow-up initiatives from the MLE.)


Policy and practice. First topic report, Introduction and overview of citizen science : Horizon Europe policy support facility

This report provides background information on the Mutual Learning Exercise on Citizen Science. It is written with a science policy audience in mind and provides an introduction and details of the modus operandi for the MLE. The report first provides a brief overview of the activities that are part of the field of citizen science. It then covers the available information about participation, and the place of citizen science within the wider context of public engagement with science, including an analysis of Special Eurobarometer 516. The report also looks at definitions, typologies, and best practice guidelines. Finally, it looks at the place of citizen science within European R&I funding programmes.


European Commission, Directorate-General for Research and Innovation, Haklay, M., Mutual learning exercise on citizen science initiatives : policy and practice. First topic report, Introduction and overview of citizen science : Horizon Europe policy support facility, 2022,

Information about the MLE:

Document type
  • Report


Publication Year


Corporate author(s): Directorate-General for Research and Innovation (European Commission) Personal author(s): Haklay, Muki
Geographical focus
  • Europe
Scientifc field / Thematic focus
  • General

Entry created by Admin on June 9, 2022
Modified on July 27, 2022