Citizen science collaboration grant

This call will support multidisciplinary research collaborations that spread citizen science methods into new fields of research and involve citizens to address societally-relevant challenges.

This is a single round funding scheme for projects lasting one to three years. Lead applicants can be from any discipline and must be of lecturer level or equivalent.

We are particularly interested in collaborations that enable researchers with no prior experience of using citizen science methods to develop their expertise, and projects that extend citizen science methods into new research disciplines.

Projects must start by 31 March 2021 and must be completed by 31 March 2024.

Key information

Total amount £1.5M
Minimum amount per application (fEC) £156,250
Maximum amount per application (fEC) £375,000
Opening date 08/06/2020
Closing date 09/09/2020, 16:00
Webinar for prospective applicants 20/05/2020, 14:00

Who can apply?

Applications are encouraged from ALL research disciplines, spanning arts, humanities, social sciences and the natural sciences.

Projects should be a collaboration between researchers from multiple disciplines, a specific group of citizens and, where appropriate, relevant partners from outside academia. This can include partnerships with organisations from private, public and non-profit sectors, as well as community representatives and groups.

Principal investigators and Co-Investigators must be of at least lecturer level (or equivalent) and meet the standard BBSRC-UKRI eligibility criteria, as set out in in the BBSRC Grants Guide. At least one Principal or Co-Investigator should have significant experience of using citizen science methods, but collaborations with those new to citizen science is strongly encouraged.

Applicants must be employed by a Higher Education Institute (HEIs), Research Council Institute (RCIs) or approved Independent Research Organisation (IROs). Current IROs and details of the approval process.

What we’re looking for

We want to fund multidisciplinary research collaborations that create novel approaches to tackling societally-relevant challenges through citizen science. Through these collaborations, we aim to facilitate the spread of citizen science methods in the academic community and expand the range of people from outside of academia involved in research.

The citizen science elements of the project should be integral to the overall research design and have a clear benefit for the members of the public involved. The breadth of disciplines involved should be appropriate to the challenge you are addressing and should be clearly justified in your application.

Challenges can be broad societal issues, like improving public health or reducing crime, or can be challenges specific to your research area, like improving the quality or analysis of data. However, you must demonstrate why citizen science is the right approach to addressing this challenge.

UKRI will provide support and guidance throughout the lifetime of the grant, and successful projects will be invited to take part in cohort activity to enhance the outcomes of the scheme.

All projects should

  • Include at least one Principal or Co-Investigator with experience of citizen science methodologies
  • Address a clearly defined societally-relevant challenge
  • Include researchers from disciplines relevant to the challenge being addressed
  • Have clear justification and aims for involving citizens in the research project
  • Involve a defined group, or groups, of people in the UK
  • Adhere to the European Citizen Science Association’s Ten principles of citizen science
  • Demonstrate a commitment to the principles of equality, diversity and inclusion.

We are particularly interested in projects that

  • Involve researchers new to citizen science methods working with, and learning from, more experienced practitioners
  • Have demonstrable potential to share the learning, outcomes and successes of your approach widely among the academic community
  • Address societal challenges identified in collaboration with people from outside of the research community
  • Involve partnerships with organisations that can enhance the outcomes of your project
  • Involve people from under-represented groups and communities
  • Demonstrate methodological innovation in undertaking research with citizens.

The grant is funded at 80% fEC and is generally expected to cover:

  • Principal and Co-Investigator time
  • Research assistant/technician time
  • External consultants’ and/or partners’ time
  • Expenses for citizen participants, where relevant
  • Travel and subsistence
  • Equipment

Detailed guidance on the resources that can be requested can be found within the Grants Guide.

How to apply

Detailed guidance for applicants can be found here (PDF, 171KB). Please pay special attention to this guidance when completing your Je-S Pro Forma and the requested attachments.

Webinar details

The next webinar will take place on Wednesday 1 July 2020 at 2pm – Register here. The webinar will be recorded and posted on this page.

Watch a recording of the webinar from 20 May (password: 5m#!^B0Q).

Application timeline

Webinar for prospective applicants 1 July 2020, 14:00
Opening date 8 June 2020
Closing date 9 September 2020, 16:00
Office sift September 2020
Panel review November 2020
Decision announced December 2020


Applications should be made through Je-S. In addition to the Je-S Pro Forma, the following attachments must be included:

  • Case for Support (up to 6 sides of A4)
    • Describe the proposed programme of work, including a Gantt chart or project plan, if appropriate.
    • Detail the delivery team and how they will work together with project partners to achieve the proposed plan.
    • Explain how the proposed work addresses the call aims.
  • Justification of Resources (up to 2 sides of A4)
    • Provide a full justification of resources requested, including those for all members of the core team, which should include an itemised budget breakdown.
  • Narrative CV for Principal and Co-Investigators (using the template provided)
    • Outline the track record of Principal and Co-Investigators, and their suitability for this call.
  • Data Management and Ethics Plan (up to 2 sides of A4)
    • Provide a statement on ethical considerations within the research design and planned approach to data management.

How applications will be assessed

Applications will go through a two-stage assessment process. Initially, the proposals will be reviewed by UKRI staff with expertise in public engagement with research, who will perform an office sift, before the remaining applications are reviewed by an external assessment panel.

The office sift stage will assess applications by the following criteria:

  • Fit to the call
    • Strength of Principal or Co-investigator in using citizen science methods
    • Appropriate identification and involvement of a group or groups of people in the UK
    • Potential to spread citizen science methods among the research community
    • Adherence to ‘Ten principles of citizen science’
    • Novelty of application of citizen science methodologies

The panel stage will also assess applications by the following, additional criteria:

  • Quality of the research proposal
    • Appropriateness of research disciplines employed to address challenge
    • Quality and robustness of research design
    • Potential to address identified challenge and deliver proposed benefits
    • Timeliness of proposal
    • Potential for long term research impact and sustainability
  • Delivery team
    • Appropriateness of team to deliver the proposed project
    • Identification of relevant and capable partners
    • Collaborations likely to facilitate novel approaches to challenge addressed
    • Ability to spread knowledge and expertise in citizen science methods among research team
  • Planning
    • Adequate justification of resources that are appropriate to deliver the project
    • Value for money offered by proposal
    • Clearly articulated project plan
    • A commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion is clearly evidenced in the design of the project
    • Well-formulated Data Management and Ethics Plan

Feedback to applicants will be provided along with the communication of funding outcomes.

Please direct all enquiries to


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