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Our topic experts

What is your vision on Citizen Science?

That's what we've asked our topic experts that will give a talk, moderate or participate during the Citizen Science Conference. Read how they see the future of Citizen Science, which quote inspired them and their biography. Curious to see when they will be on screen? Read the afternoon programme.

Rector Magnificus Thom Palstra will officially be opening the Citizen Science Hub Twente.
“Citizen Science fosters the active engagement of the public in the scientific pursuit.”
Rector Magnificus Thom Palstra will officially be opening the Citizen Science Hub Twente.

Topic experts

  • Wim van der Putten, NIOO-KNAW
    “In 2030, every student at Universities and ‘Hogescholen’ should be trained in doing citizen science as a common methodology of doing research, and active Dutch citizen scientists should be a good representation of all citizens in the Netherlands.”

    The National Platform Open Science (NPOS) promotes all aspects of open science in the Netherlands ( Three key elements are open access, open data, and citizen science. In 2019, NPOS installed a work group citizen science that recently published its report after extensive consultation of representatives from a broad background of stake holders and end users ( Two key deliverables are: (1) a proposal for a network structure that can help, facilitate and promote sharing and exchanging of information and experiences among citizen scientists and (2) a quality matrix that has been built on the ten principles for citizen science of the European Citizen Science Association (ECSA). This is aimed at helping citizen scientists and organizations that have to review proposals to enhance and judge the quality of proposed citizen science initiatives. In my presentation, I will provide a recap of our analysis and some further challenges for citizen science.

  • Karin Pfeffer, ITC Faculty
    “Citizen science is not only about involving citizens in the data collection, but they can play an important role at all stages of research, from the conceptual phase to the interpretation of data and eventually use of research outputs.”

    Karin Pfeffer obtained her PhD degree in Physical Geography from Utrecht University, the NL, in 2003. Since then she worked at the University of Amsterdam (Social Sciences), prior to her appointment as Full Professor of Infrastructuring Urban Futures at ITC, University of Twente, in 2017. She uses geographic information technologies for investigating critical urban issues such as deprived settlements or access to infrastructure. She also investigates how research can engage with the development of new urban planning practices and tools and address issues of urban sustainability. She has participated in NWO and EU-funded research programmes on spatial information infrastructures, spatial knowledge management, deprived settlement dynamics, and energy consumption, among others.

  • Katja Egorova, ITC Faculty
    Watson, D., & Floridi, L. (2018). Crowdsourced science: sociotechnical epistemology in the e-research paradigm. Synthese, 195, 741. Retrieved from doi:10.1007/s11229-016-1238-2 (p.760)
    “We cannot be certain just what scientific developments the future holds in store, but we can be confident that many of our next great discoveries will be made thanks to some complex partnership of minds and machines.”
    Watson, D., & Floridi, L. (2018). Crowdsourced science: sociotechnical epistemology in the e-research paradigm. Synthese, 195, 741. Retrieved from doi:10.1007/s11229-016-1238-2 (p.760)

    I am a citizen science researcher at the GIP and PGM Departments at the Faculty of Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation. My research focusses on developing conceptual frameworks and specific methods for the involvement of citizens into the scientific processes that go beyond data collection. Indeed, citizens are now actively contributing their local knowledge to research in the geospatial domain, allowing us to supplement official information with the data of unprecedented scale and level of spatial granularity. However, to address societal challenges of today it is important to move beyond the idea of “citizens as sensors”, and develop a more inclusive approach where citizens have both ‘voice’ and agency in science matters, especially when the latter concern their local environments -- this motivation defines my current research interests.

  • Gaston Remmers, researcher Topfit/CitizenLab, founder MD|OG, citizen scientist
    “CitizenScience is the best way to overcome quakery in health.”

    Senior Expert Citizen Science DesignLab University of Twente. Director Foundation My data Our Health. 25 + years experience in citizen science in sustainable rural development, 6 years in the health domain. Patient Advocate. Promotor of the bottom-up, national platform CitizenScience2Health. MSc agroecology, PhD sociology

  • Frans Snik - Leiden University
    “We need to break down the boundaries between science and the rest of society to enable real collaborations and jointly solve urgent scientific and societal challenges.”

    Dr. ir. Frans Snik is assistant professor at Leiden Observatory (Leiden University). His group develops advanced optical instrumentation for telescopes around the world and in space to observe and characterize planets orbiting other stars than the Sun, with an ultimate goal to detect signs of extraterrestrial life in their light. These activities also lead to a range of spin-off activities here on Earth: from air pollution monitoring to biomedical sensing. Frans co-invented the core technology of the SPEX instrument concept that is currently being realized for the next NASA climate satellite (PACE/SPEXone) to measure the effects of anthropogenic aerosols on our climate and our health. The development of SPEX led to the development of iSPEX; a smartphone camera add-on that enables air pollution measurements. After winning the Academische Jaarprijs (2012), Frans led the iSPEX project that involved thousands of citizen scientists in the Netherlands and throughout Europe to constitute a unique air pollution measurement network. Frans and his team are currently working on iSPEX2.0, that enables measurements of both water quality and air pollution with most smartphones with greatly enhanced accuracy.

    Frans often collaborates with all kinds of scientists (biologists, engineers, social scientists), industrial partners, visual artists, and society-at-large. Frans is a co-founder of the Citizen Science Lab at Leiden University, a member of De Jonge Akademie, and a member of the NPOS working group on Citizen Science. Moreover, he is an avid collector of circularly polarized beetles, and builds Lego versions of large telescopes.

  • Muki Haklay, University College Londen/GIS
    “Imagine a future in which any community, regardless of literacy, can initiate and run project that utilise science to address their local issues.”

    Mordechai (Muki) Haklay is a professor of geographical information science at the Department of Geography, UCL, where he co-direct the Extreme Citizen Science group. His background is in computer science and geography, two topics that he merged in his undergraduate, postgraduate, and PhD studies. His research interest includes participatory mapping and GIS, Citizen Science, Human-Computer Interactions (HCI) and usability aspects of GIS, and public access to environmental information. He was an inaugural board member of the Citizen Science Association and is currently the co-vice chair of the European Citizen Science Association (ECSA).

  • Lea den Broeder, RIVM
    “Citizen science can and should benefit both the scientist and the citizens.”

    Social scientist with working experience in various facets of public health research, in particular regarding the relations between health and the living environment. I have a special interest in citizen engagement and citizen science, particularly on community level.

  • Margaret Gold, Citizen Science Lab Leiden, ECSA
    Prof. Jacqueline McGlade at the 2009 Earthwatch Lecture entitled ‘Global citizen observatory – The role of individuals in observing and understanding our changing world
    “It is no longer sufficient to develop passive lists or reports to ‘inform’ citizens of changes in our environment. We need to engage with citizens and ask how they can ‘inform’ us.”
    Prof. Jacqueline McGlade at the 2009 Earthwatch Lecture entitled ‘Global citizen observatory – The role of individuals in observing and understanding our changing world

    Margaret Gold is the Coordinator of the Citizen Science Lab at Leiden University, and represents the European Citizen Science Association (ECSA) in the WeObserve, LandSense and EU-Citizen.Science projects. Her research focus within the ‘Science of Citizen Science’ is on Citizen Observatories for community based environmental monitoring, and the impact they can have on policy, decision making, and behaviour change. Margaret’s background is in mobile and web technology, where she helped developed tools and platforms for Citizen Science, launched start-ups, and ran Hack Days and other creative collaboration events.


  • Sabine Wildevuur - Moderator Session 1: Challenges
    “Societal challenges as the bottom-up approach linked with the more top-down approach by academia, is the foundation for citizen science.”

    Sabine E. Wildevuur is director at DesignLab (University of Twente), an ecosystem at UT to experiment, pioneer and innovate to deal with the demands of a fast-changing society. One of DesignLab's focus area's is Citizen Science. Wildevuur has been researching the interaction between science, society, technology and design, and the role of technology in and for society. Before UT, she set up the CARE lab at Waag, Institute for Science and Technology in Amsterdam. With the CARE team, she has been the initiator of ‘innovative’ projects within the domain of health and care, and technology in a person-centred manner. Her interest is in cross-overs and transdisciplinary research, which she studied at University of Oxford. She has been working for - amongst others -  United Nations Environment Programme in Nairobi, Kenya, as Head Internet, Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences KNAW, and the Royal Dutch Medical Association KNMG. Wildevuur has an academic background in Medicine and Communication Science (University of Amsterdam).

    More info on People Pages.

  • Peter-Paul Verbeek - Moderator session 2: Impact
    “Citizen Science reshapes the relations between scientists and citizens, and is a fundamentally humanising endeavour that unlocks implicit and explicit inquisitive capacities in humans.”

    Peter-Paul Verbeek (1970) is distinguished professor of Philosophy of Technology and co-director of the DesignLab of the University of Twente, The Netherlands. He is also honorary professor of techno-anthropology at Aalborg University, Denmark. His research focuses on the philosophy of human-technology relations, and aims to contribute to philosophical theory, ethical reflection, and practices of design and innovation. His publications include Moralizing Technology: Understanding and Designing the Morality of Things (University of Chicago Press, 2011) and What Things Do: Philosophical Reflections on Technology, Agency, and Design (Penn State University Press, 2005).

    More info on People Pages.