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Citizens’ university
EUR 140,000 for three research projects involving citizen science

Helping scientists to undertake research together with citizens – that is the aim of a dedicated fund created using HHU monies. Funding worth EUR 140,000 in total has been awarded in tranches each year since 2019. HHU’s Evaluation Committee, which includes President Anja Steinbeck, has recently assessed the applications submitted for the third round of funding, namely 2021, and selected three projects. These projects come from the fields of cultural sciences (“Steigerung kultureller Teilhabe”), biology (“Pflanzen im urbanen Umfeld”) and public health (“Medizinische Versorgung von Menschen in Deutschland ohne / mit beschränktem Krankenversicherungsschutz”).


“I am delighted that we can fund three projects of scientific excellence where citizen science will provide real value added for research. The participatory research projects also help to bring the work of researchers closer to the general public and thus to break down barriers between science and society. These projects make a very important contribution to our profile as a citizens’ university”, says Prof. Dr. Anja Steinbeck, HHU President and Chair of the Evaluation Committee.

Citizen Science is multifaceted, encompassing all areas in which the scientific world and society carry out successful joint research. Collaboration takes a broad range of forms, including for example formulating joint research questions and working together to find answers to those questions, announcing research findings to the public and applying them in practice.

Programme Manager Isabel Strauß explains that although the approaches chosen are very different, they share the objectives of leading to new scientific findings and “facilitating collaboration on an equal footing between the full-time researchers and the citizen scientists involved”.

The funding is provided within the framework of HHU as a citizens’ university. The list of previously funded projects demonstrates the diversity of the topics that have received funding thus far.

Brief introduction to the three projects successful in 2021:

Kulturelle Teilhabe und Citizen Science: Eine bürgerwissenschaftliche Analyse der Arbeits- und Wirkungsweisen intermediärer Vereine im Feld der kulturellen Partizipation (‘Cultural participation of intermediary associations in the field of cultural participation’)

Since cultural politician Hilmar Hoffmann first called for “Culture for All” in the late 1970s, multiple disciplines have tackled and refined the scientific discourse around cultural participation. In practice, however, it is clear that this call has not yet been answered. In cooperation with civil-society stakeholders from all over Germany, the project examines a tool for increasing cultural participation. The aim is to contribute to the scientific and practical debate around cultural participation.

Project owners: Prof. Dr. Ulli Seegers / Christine Stender, M.A.; Department of Art History, Faculty of Arts and Humanities

Pflanzen im urbanen Umfeld (‘Plants in an urban environment’)

The citizen science project “Pflanzen im urbanen Umfeld” involves using the example of the City of Düsseldorf to describe the habitats and situation of plant varieties and plant communities growing wild in urban environments. Together with multipliers from university, school and conservation backgrounds and people interested in botany, current research questions in the area of ecological genetics and plant research are discussed in order to develop future citizen science projects, for example active participation in surveys on observations concerning ecological factors and genetic adaptation in plants. Participation in the project also involves DIY experiments and an open exchange of ideas in open-space discussion forums. The seminar “Partizipative Wissenschaftskommunikation”/“Participatory science communication” offers an introduction for students.

Project owners: Prof. Dr. Petra Bauer, Institute of Botany / Prof. Dr. Maria von Korff Schmising, Institute of Plant Genetics

Wissenschaftliche Untersuchung der gesundheitlichen Lage und der medizinischen Versorgung von Menschen mit eingeschränktem bzw. ohne Krankenversicherungsschutz durch Citizen Science – Pilotstudie für Public Health Maßnahmen (‘Citizen science study on the health situation and medical care of people with limited or no health insurance cover – pilot study for public health measures’)

The research project examines the health and medical care situation of people who have no health insurance or limited health insurance cover in Germany. This includes for example EU citizens, undocumented people, homeless people, self-employed persons and persons who have health insurance but have defaulted on their contributions. The objective of the project is to carry out research into the health and health care situation of those affected together with patients and stakeholders concerned.

Project owner: Dr. Jacqueline Warth, Institute of General Practice


Isabel Strauß
Staff Unit Citizens’ University


Kategorie/n: Schlagzeilen, Pressemeldungen, Auch in Englisch
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