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It is a bittersweet time here at Step Change. As we reach the final few weeks of the project, we are all very busy crossing t’s and dotting i’s on the last of the deliverables and making sure all the formalities of the project are completed.

However, to celebrate the success of the Step Change project, the team headed to Vienna in early April to join so many friends and colleagues at the 2024 ECSA conference.

It was great catching up with so many citizen science friends we have made along our Step Change journey. With the jam-packed schedule, there were so many fantastic sessions, workshops, and discussions to help us develop our skills and promote the benefits of mutual learning and transdisciplinary collaborations to drive “change” in citizen and participatory sciences. Not to mention the fantastic social events, including a party in the beautiful National History of Vienna, where we experienced a historic fashion show and even a disco!

However, the Step Change team also had work to do. As we were given the opportunity to showcase the project’s work, highlighting the steps we have made to promote citizen science in the fields of health, energy, and environmental research, as well as the work of our horizontal partners in helping to mainstream citizen science and promote cross-discipline collaboration.

To do this, Step Change organised a day-long focus event, during which ECSA participants were invited to attend the sessions that interested them the most or stay for a deep dive into Step Change. This session featured keynote presentations from Prof. Vittorio Colizzi, former serving as Full Professor of Immunology and Director of the UNESCO Chair in Biotechnology & Bioethics at the University of Rome Tor Vergata and Agnes Mirembe, Executive Director of Action for Rural Women’s Empowerment (ARUWE) in Kampala, Uganda, and esteemed contributor to Step Change. who spoke about the broader impact of citizen science in Europe, Africa, and beyond.

We also had the opportunity to share our newly created Citizen Science Navigator, a resource for those interested in Citizen Science to learn from work (and the mistakes) or the Step Change project, as well as a database of valuable resources to help new and ongoing projects, make strides in their citizen science work.

In addition, Step Change organised a number of open discussion activities, where the Step Change team could share and learn more about the role of citizen science in health, energy and environmental research, as well as the real-life opportunities and synergies that can be created when we take a cooperative research approach. It was great to share our work with so many interested colleagues and learn from them!

The Step Change team also presented a poster at the conference and participated in the brilliant Citizen Science Day at the Vienna National History Museum.

This was a fantastic event. It was great to present Step Change alongside so many excellent citizen science projects and talk to the people of Vienna about the power of citizen science to benefit all our lives and how they can possibly get involved in research that matters to them!

We want to thank the entire organisational staff at ECSA, BOKU University, and the National History Museum for all their work putting together such a fantastic conference and for being such welcoming hosts.

Check out some of our personal highlights from the ECSA 2024 conference!