• English
  • Italiano

SciCafe 2.0

Full Title 

The European Observatory for Crowd-Sourcing

Started on 

Tuesday, October 1, 2013


School of systems Engineering, University of Reading
Embedded thumbnail for SciCafe 2.0
Embedded thumbnail for SciCafe 2.0
Embedded thumbnail for SciCafe 2.0
Ιnvolving science in societal issues

SciCafe2.0 Consortium is focused on adapting methods used for communicating science to enable more participative ways of engaging citizens; in particular science cafes applied to other contexts and specifically to crowdsourcing and collective awareness platforms. This is accomplished by several initiatives to identify and promote best practice  approaches to participative engagement, setting up an observatory for crowdsourcing, studying the cognitive and behavioral snvolved shared sense-making and collective intelligence, and developing the enabling technology  (the platform) for virtual participation and knowledge discovery.  The Consortium also supports the science cafe community at local and European level.

Why is our project important? 

The traditional Science cafés aim at bringing science closer to the general public. Such meetings are typically held regularly in casual settings like coffeehouses or pubs. A Science Café invites one or several scientists to talk in layman's terms about their work in different areas. Such live events are intended to make science and technology more accessible to the general public, particularly on those issues that impact social policy making. At Science cafés, the general public is invited to ask questions and to engage in a dialogue with the scientists; this is in contrast with the one-dimensional structure of traditional conferences which adopt a lecturing style.

However the impact of Science Cafés is often local.SciCafe2.0 takes the concept of Science Cafés to the online world and combines it with the idea of crowdsourcing, which means that any complex question is outsourced to a bigger group of people in the hope of coming up with a solution. The virtual Science Café platform will allow a greater and more diverse number of people to participate in popular science debates, bringing science closer to the people and their concerns, and supporting citizens and civil society organizations with finding the right scientific answers. Moreover, Science Cafés throughout Europe will be able to share their knowledge, experiences and best practices with each other.

What are our goals? 

  • Bringing together the ideas of Science Café and crowdsourcing.
  • Promoting deeper engagement in social and global concerns (e.g.sustainability issues, religions radicalization of youth, etc).
  • Promoting a knowledge exchange between civil society communities, scientists, policy makers and organizations and a dialogue that runs in multiple directions.
  • Inviting and supporting citizen input to democratic decision making on the virtual platform developed by SciCafé2.0.
  • Promoting the involvement of people in solving the problems that they are facing in their communities.

Initiatives, tools and services we have already launched 

The SciCafe 2.0 Platform incorporating Citizens’ Say Knowledge Exchange with additional engagement models supported responsive to the needs of our first adopter communities in Florence and Rome etc.
The SciCafe 2.0 Platform Integrating Citizens’ Say Knowledge Exchange invites and supports citizens’ input into the democratic decision making process; i.e. supports objective citizenship, deeper social engagement and thus deliberative democracy by enabling people to:

  • Join an existing community or create a new one (on a particular scientific or societal topic of importance to them and/or their city).
  • Promote and manage debates online on the SciCafé2.0 topics (via grassroots organisations and movements).
  • Browse on-line information and services (e.g. for schools science projects) and/or and/or examine the evidence base relevant to policy issues of concern to the community.
  • Organise data in personal databases, and directories (to have an overview of information when working to solve a particularly complex problem).
  • Share knowledge with the community.
  • Use tools provided by the platform to manage Science Cafés and virtual meetings (e.g. web streaming, live chatting, calendars, mailing systems, voting/polling etc.).

Visit http://SciCafe2-0.complexworld.net/ and view the scenarios and “how-to”s about the platform "SciCafe2.0 Tool"

Services:European Observatory for Crowd-Sourcing supports the deployment and testing of different methodologies for participative engagement and crowdsourcing; exchanges of lessons learnt; sharing of insights re best practice community building and support for participative engagement. 
Based on our results, we will be able to identify the best models for participative engagement and leadership so that collective intelligence can be mobilised most effectively.  The resulting insights are presented in the Handbook of Online Participatory Methodologies and Best Practice Tools (available online from the SciCafe2.0 website www.SciCafe2-0.eu).
Dissemination:We have contributed too many workshops and conferences to raise the awareness of the scientific community and the Partners of others European projects about our tool and our mission and to learn the needs of different stakeholders. We have also proceeded locally to organise SciCafe 2.0 dissemination events of the project.
Some examples of more recent events that we have participated in to disseminate the SciCafe2.0 results and to involve new communities are as follows: 
  • Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) Community Workshop, Brussels (07/2015). 
  • Working Party on Prevention of Conflict and Extremism at the Peace Centre, UK (16/7/15). 
  • Smart City Urban and Assisted Independent Mobility theme (17/7/15).
  • Presentation to the TIPS Workshop on the application of engagement platforms for Trust, Identity Privacy and Security Challenges in a Hyper-connected Society (3/9/15). 
  • Open Society European Policy Institute on Political Violence Online and Offline, Brussels (14/10/15).
  • Engaged2020 Workshops Brussels (09/11/15).
  • European Regions of Research and Innovation Network Stakeholders Conference ERRIN (14/11/15); re-invited for presentation and demo of SciCafe 2.0 as a follow-on to similar workshop presentation and demo for the ERRIN Science With And For Society (SWAF) Network representatives.
  • TheMove2015 Conference: Social innovation and Science Cafés in the Digital Age (26/10/2015).
  • ENGAGE2015 Conference: Engaging with Impact 2015 (3/12/2015) 
  • Session organisation at the final conference of ENGAGE2020: Engaging Society in Responsible Research and Innovation: What’s Next?  (10-11/11/2015). 
  • Presentation at the workshop on the future platform for enhanced societal research related to nuclear technology in Central and Eastern Europe (12/11/2015).
  • Contributions to relevant workshops at the ICT 2015 conference, Lisbon August 2105; e.g. re RRI and Healthcare social challenges.


Engagement:We have shared the SciCafe2.0 Platform and Mission widely across Europe;
Involving different stakeholders: for example:
  • European project consortia 
  • Local communities involved in dissemination of science 
  • municipalities
  • Citizens
Some examples:We have contacted and involved some local communities for whom we have explained the use of our platform for initiating, building up and supporting the communities of interest, increasing the audience for the meetings, and, exchanging documents and ideas; such as:
Associazione Caffè-Scienza has used the platform to stream their events (10 events since January 2015).
The platform has helped the association to increase remote but active participation of citizens through the use of chat and continuous dialogue with a moderator. 
We have started the collaboration with “Caffè-Scienza di Alessandria” e “Caffè-Scienza Prato” making the first event streamed with our tool.
Municipio 2 Administration of Rome have invited us to collaborate with them in the development of a participatory process for the launch of the observatory and the start of its first activities.

Initiatives, tools and services we are still working on 

Launch of the second version of the platform.
The second version of the platform, developed responsive to the needs expressed by our first adopter communities; essentially supporting engagement experiments, tests and users, the new version has enhanced usability and easier maintenance.
Dissemination:In addition to the demonstration activities as listed above we have two scientific articles forthcoming to disseminate our results to the scientific community.We will participate at further workshops and conferences; for example:
  • Proposed demo session on the SciCafe2.0 Participative Engagement Platform for the European Environment Agency
  • Workshop Proposal for the 14th Public Communication of Science and Technology (PCST) Conference: The Global Conference on Science Communication: Workshop Title: Science Cafes in a Digital Age - http://pcst-2016.org/Session proposal for the Living Knowledge Conference 2016 - http://www.livingknowledge.org/livingknowledge/science-shops/conferences/7th-living-knowledge-conference
Engagement: We are working to engage with and enable more communities to trial the SciCafe 2.0 platform and our Observatory in the near future; examples of these are as follows:
  • Prato section of the Associazione caffè-scienza (they want to become independent) 
  • Caffèdellascienza di Livorno
  • Formascienza Roma
  • CaffèScienza di Alessandria
  • Osservatorio Science for Society del II Municipio di Roma
  • Other contacts have been established with the Science Cafes of Portici (Neaples) and Catania. 
  • Consorzio Tiberina
  • Network of Italian Schools
  • Connect TVT Innovation and Incubation Support Centre, Reading, UK
  • Cumbria Youth Training Centre, Cumbria UK
  • ERRIN Stakeholders: 120 regional stakeholder organisations represented by their Brussels offices 
  • EEA stakeholders: EEA EIORNET, EEA citizen science initiatives and EEA contact points

Who will benefit from our project? 

  • Citizens interested in science or technology or societal matters can participate across ages, genders, social classes, regions and disciplines as the platform offers a place to meet with other people sharing similar interests, discussing issues, organizing and sharing data.
  • Local authorities and non-governmental organizations can engage in discussions with the citizens with science as a support, hence making more informed decisions.
  • Science Cafés organizers will be able to discuss with other organizers about issues raised in their Science Cafés sessions but also about organizational matters to improve their events.
  • Universities and research projects can benefit from the tools by disseminating their knowledge among the public or contributing to collective knowledge building, and social accountability.
  • Other projects working on similar themes (collective awareness, social innovation,etc.) can use the platform as data depository and a place for discussing issues and exchanging insights.

Visit CAPSSI and Learn more about the new CAPS projects!