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A call about: the Citizen Science Lab

Leiden is European City of Science in 2022 and this will be celebrated under the name Leiden2022. During Leiden2022, various activities will be organised, such as lectures, workshops, excursions and exhibitions. On the occasion of Leiden2022, Postbus 71 will be opened: the place to go if you have any questions about science. Margaret Gold, coordinator of the Citizen Science Lab, answered three questions about the Citizen Science Lab activities during Leiden2022.

What is the Citizen Science Lab, and what is its role during Leiden2022?

The Citizen Science Lab is a Knowledge Hub and Project Incubator that is based within the Science Faculty of Leiden University, but works with all faculties and domains of research to connect citizens and societal actors together with scientists in collaborative research initiatives that have an impact on both knowledge and society. Throughout the year we will be running Postbus 71 – the place for all residents and visitors to send those curiosity-sparked questions that either come from the daily themes of ‘Kennis door de Wijken’ (Knowledge through the Neighbourhoods) or are things that you’ve always wondered about. We’ll play postmaster with those questions to ask research colleagues at the University, share at events throughout the year on those topics, or bring up in the conversations on Radio Weetlust. But we are also keeping our eyes open for questions to which we can answer ‘Let’s go find out!’ We would love to start a new Citizen Science research project in collaboration with Leiden residents on a topic that is relevant to the city and our living environment.

What kind of questions have you already received for Postbus 71?

We are still just getting the word out, but already some fantastic questions have come in. 8 year-old Michiel has asked us why he doesn’t always find his mother’s cooking tasty. We’ll ask these questions of our research colleagues on the 16th of October when the day theme will be ‘Voedsel’, but in the meantime we’ve shared an interesting article in WRM? Magazine about how our tastebuds and other senses (and our brains!) can influence how we experience the taste of food. Most recently, Yanti (34) has asked us why it is that plants can bloom earlier with warm weather, but our hair doesn’t suddenly grow longer… Follow our twitter channel @Postbus71 to find out what answers we dig up for her!

What activities will Citizen Science Lab organize this year?

On Sunday the 24th of April the day theme is ‘Do It Yourself – Do It Together’, and we will run a series of workshops about doing your own research investigations as a ‘citizen scientist’ - either joining an existing Citizen Science project or starting your own in your local community. On Sunday the 8th of May we will bring ‘Mother Nature’ together with Mother’s Day, for an exploration of the natural world around us and to contribute nature observations to ongoing research for the benefit of biodiversity and local species.

A call about

There is a lot happening within Leiden University. The websites are filled with news on a daily basis. In the section 'A call about' we ask one of our employees to tell us more about a relevant and topical subject within the university. The answers give you more insight into the facts, but above all give you more personal background information. What was fun or frustrating? What was remarkable? What was good and what was bad? You can read all about it in 'A call about'.

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