UCL Institute for Global Prosperity


UCL Citizen Science Academy

An ambitious new initiative to deliver community-based, practice-led research training to empower communities to lead change through social action and shaping policies that impact their livelihoods

The UCL Citizen Science Academy offers high-quality, practice-based education and training programmes to equip people with research knowledge and practical skills to get involved in social action and local decision-making.   

The UCL Citizen Science Academy is based at the Institute for Global Prosperity and has been designed in partnership with the UCL Office for Open Science and the cross-faculty Citizen Science Working Group in order to make participation in research inclusive and accessible to people from all backgrounds.

Rigorous, high-quality education and training programmes are applied - meaning they are linked to active research projects, and are delivered in non-academic, community-based settings. Academy citizen scientists do not need any prior experience of research, work, or study in further or higher education.

Watch the sessions from the launch of the Academy, featuring opening statements from UCL President and Provost Michael Spence and IGP's Director Henrietta Moore, and talks with Newham Mayor Rokhsana Fiaz, the leader of Camden Council Georgia Gould and many more.   

Inclusion, empowerment and impact: The UCL Citizen Science Academy’s principles 

The Academy’s principles and programmes build on lessons from the IGP’s citizen social science projects in the UK, Lebanon, Kenya, Tanzania, and Cuba, as well as the multiple citizen science projects running across various disciplines in UCL. These core principles shape the design and delivery of every Academy programme:

  • Community-based, practice-led: applied projects linked to real-world research projects
  • High-quality research training: research ethics, methods, analysis & impact training
  • Capacity-building: partner with voluntary sector organisations to recruit, employ and support citizen scientists
  • Inclusive: making research available and accessible to diverse demographics
  • Direct links to policy & practice: creating a knowledge production infrastructure – citizens, academic researchers, policymakers, VCS partners – all with different roles to contribute so our delivery model.
  • Levels of collaboration: Citizen Scientists collaborate with one another, members of their communities, academic representatives, community partners, and policy makers

What is Citizen Science?

Citizen science actively involves the public in research that contributes to scientific knowledge.  

Many citizen science projects are in life and natural sciences, such as the ZOE Health Study, the Big Butterfly Count, Great British Bee Count, NASA Landslide Reporter or NASA Globe Cloud Gaze. Citizen scientists take part by surveying, observing, mapping and transcribing data. 

Citizen ‘social’ science is an emerging area of citizen science that involves the public in research projects focused on complex questions about human behaviour and how societies are organised, like understanding lived experiences of inequality and poverty, or how the beliefs people have about climate change influence their behaviour.  

Citizen social science at the IGP focuses on understanding what prosperity means and how opportunities to prosper and live well are influenced by different factors, training and supporting people to work as social researchers in their neighbourhoods to develop research for social action. 

What does the UCL Citizen Science Academy offer? 


  • Community-based, practice-led research training – designed to involve people from all kinds of backgrounds in active citizen science research projects. 
  • UCL Citizen Science Certificate – launched in May 2023, the certificate recognises the research and team-working competencies citizen scientists acquire (e.g. research methods, ethics, fieldwork strategies, how to code and analyse data, communication and dissemination strategies). The courses taught include core competency domains that are relevant to all citizen science research projects as well as course-specific competency domains that can be adapted to the specific method each research project requires.  
  • Digital resources to support open training & scaling – Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) and online resources. 

Academy Programmes  

Olympic Park

Prosperity in east London 2021-2031 Longitudinal Study

In the Academy’s first programme, 10 citizen social scientists from 15 neighbourhoods in east London conducted in-depth qualitative- research on the obstacles to prosperity faced by their communities as part of the IGP’s Prosperity in east London 2021-2031 Longitudinal Study, a 10-year mixed-methods study examining the long-term impacts of regeneration initiatives on prosperity in east London. 

People present at the Citizen Science event

UCL East Meanwhile Use Project

The Meanwhile Use project is a joint initiative between UCL East, the IGP, Creative Wick, and seven citizen social scientists trained at the Citizen Science Academy, which aims to provide concrete recommendations for how UCL East can develop a vacant plot in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park (Pool Street East) into a vibrant and inclusive innovation hub. 

Suraya and Saffron at the We Make Camden Matters fair

Good Life Euston

Good Life Euston is a collaborative research project run by the Institute for Global Prosperity in partnership with Camden Council, Lendlease, Camden Giving and the Euston Voices and Euston Young Voices citizen science team – 22 adults and young people from Somers Town and Regent’s Park Estate who have carried out research to understand what supports and what prevents people in Euston from living well.  

citizen scientists in North Kensington

North Kensington

This project brings together eight citizen scientists to research what the local residents of North Kensington perceive a ‘good life’ to mean to them.

Camden CSS

Camden Citizen Scientists in Residence

In collaboration with Camden Council, a group of seven citizen scientists have been embedded in Council teams whilst undertaking research on a variety of themes to inform policymaking. 


ActEarly Tower Hamlets

Joining forces with Tower Hamlets Council and the ActEarly research programme, we are currently developing a new citizen science course in east London focusing on young people and wellbeing.