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Citizen Science Projects at UCL

Details of projects across UCL that demonstrate a variety of ways to use a citizen science approach in your research.

Citizen science is a growing area and UCL is committed to widening participation in academic endeavours beyond the confines of the university and raising awareness of citizen science. We have collated several projects demonstrating the variety of ways to use a citizen science approach in your research. The broad range of projects has been grouped by discipline showing those that are currently being undertaken at UCL and those that have now been completed. The diverse range of citizen science activites and projects run by some of the research groups and departments at UCL are listed below these.

The lists are not exhaustive so if you or your team have a citizen science project that you would like to see featured here or have any questions about how you can get started with citizen science in your project, please get in touch with us.

Current Projects


Transcribe Bentham

Transcribe Bentham is an award-winning collaborative initiative that is crowdsourcing the transcription of Bentham’s previously unpublished manuscripts. The transcription takes place online, so that anyone can join in and contribute to the project. It is hosted by the UCL Faculty of Laws and since the launch of the project in 2010 over 23,000 papers have been transcribed by volunteers.

Colouring London

Colouring London is a web based Volunteered Geographic Information (VGI) initiative started in 2018. It was designed by the UCL Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis in collaboration with Historic England. It has been inspired by the online trend for city age visualisations and created using property tax data. Its creation has been largely driven by the growing demand, particularly from those working in energy analysis and sustainable development, for information on the composition and long-term dynamics of the building stock.

Histories of Whitechapel 

Histories of Whitechapel is an in-depth study of Whitechapel designed to involve the public in compiling information about the area’s sites, to accommodate many voices for many histories. The aim is to bring together individual stories and knowledge about housing, commerce, religion and entertainment, wealth and poverty, dissent, reform, and conflict, and more besides.

Monument Monitor

Monument Monitor is a collaborative research project between Historic Environment Scotland and the UCL Institute of Sustainable Heritage. It aims to assess to what extent we can use visitors' photographs of heritage sites to inform conservation and monitoring efforts. This project also now has a page where contributors can help to monitor how the changing climate is affecting Machrie Moor Standing Stone Circles.


CITiZAN (the Coastal and Intertidal Zone Archaeological Network) is a community archaeology project working in the areas of England exposed at low tide but covered at high tide. They actively promote site recording and long-term monitoring programmes led by volunteers and work closely with the public to engage and encourage individuals to better understand, or “own”, their past coastal heritage.

Paper Trails

Paper Trails brings together a diverse group of people both in its pages and its readership – researchers, practitioners and students – and features different historical collections (print, object and digital) held in a wide variety of different libraries, museums and archives. Its content is designed to bridge communities of research and practice. The BOOC (Book as Open Online Content) format creates a ‘living book’, which is entirely open access and evolves over time, allowing for different formats of pieces to 'speak' in conversation.

The project enables collaboration between unlikely partners to help break down barriers and to open up the world of historical research.  It reveals how the work and methologies of researchers, academics, education practioners and students interrelate, providing opportunities for collaboration beyond the usual parameters these fields present.

Paper Trails is organised into four streams: research stories, co-production, collection profiles or engagement. The editorial board welcome submissions that focus on any one of these. Further information and submission dates are available on the project website.

The Memory Bike: Recording and archiving East London's oral histories

The Mobile Memory Workshop (Memory Bike) is a bicycle-mounted recording and listening station and digital acoustic archive. It is used to generate public histories, memories and narratives focussed on the Olympic Park and its surrounding neighbourhoods.

Based at UCL East and linked to the UCL Urban Room, the Memory Bike has been designed by students and researchers working in The Bartlett, UCL’s Faculty of the Built Environment and The School for the Creative and Cultural Industries. It is equipped with a mobile table and stools to facilitate interviews and oral histories and can carry audio recording equipment. Supported by UCL Special Collections, the bike generates a new collaborative digital archive of oral and public history, sounds and feelings.

The transportable, community-oriented educational resource supports the documentation and recording of local voices and everyday soundscapes and is used by students and researchers, as well as being available to book for community, educational, and other users in the boroughs surrounding the Olympic Park.

Social Sciences


Digital action at HEIs as a catalyst for social change in the COVID-19 crisis (HEIDI) project seeks to investigate potential solutions to the societal challenges affecting all sectors of human activity brought to the forefront by the COVID-19 crisis. Numerous citizen initiatives strive to tackle these challenges through digitally enhanced, community-driven digital action (DA). These initiatives take place at the local, national and international level and highlight the dynamics and strengths of DA as a catalyst for social change in crises contexts.

The project aspires to reposition HEIs with respect to society, offering HEIs a more central role in the ongoing debates about social change through skills development of staff and students and to situate HEIs as co-creators in solutions to the problems that surface with the pandemic. The HEIDI project seeks to create collaborative frameworks between HEIs, voluntary-sector and civic society organizations through a wide range of events including roundtables, webinars, and citizen science training.


TIME4CS is a 3-year project (2021-2023) aiming to support and facilitate the implementation of sustainable institutional changes in research performing organisation to promote citizen science and public engagement in science and technology. TIME4CS has identified 4 intervention areas that alone or combined can stimulate the institutional changes necessary to promote public engagement in Research and Innovation (R&I) activities: i) Research; ii) Education and Awareness; iii) Support resources and Infrastructure; iv) Policy and Assessment. Focussing on these intervention areas, key features of institutional change, the project will create a knowledge transfer and mutual learning programme which will lead to the development of tailored roadmaps.

TIME4CS is carried out by a consortium integrated by 11 partners from 8 EU Member States and 1 associated country.


The Big Compost Experiment

The Big Compost Experiment is a nationwide citizen science research experiment in compostable and biodegradable plastics, which allows members of the public to combat plastic waste and help shape the future of the planet. The experiment has two parts. The first part is a short 5 minute survey for everyone, whether you compost or not. The second part is a home composting experiment for those who compost.

The Big Repair Project

The Big Repair Project is a citizen science project to understand household issues with the maintenance and repair of home appliances and electronics in the UK. This will help develop ‘Right to Repair’ government policy and support the UK towards meeting important environmental targets. The first part of the project is a short survey about your opinion and behaviour towards the maintenance and repair of home appliances and electronics. The second part is an optional logbook to share a few details about your maintenance and repair experiences.

100 Cyclists Project 

100 Cyclists Project seeks to understand the factors affecting crash risk in cycling through the analysis of detailed near miss data. 100 participants are being recruited, who will use an action camera mounted to their helmet to collect video and movement data while they ride. When they experience a near miss, the rider will press a button to store the data. The data will then be analysed at UCL to identify the factors that are commonly associated with near misses.

The Evaluation Exchange

The Evaluation Exchange in the UCL Institute of Envinronmental Design and Engineering brings together voluntary and community sector groups wanting to improve their capacity to evaluate their work, with postgraduate students and researchers who want to put their research and evaluation skills into practice in a real-life setting.

They work in different ways with different people depending on their needs. At the heart of everything they do is supporting organisations, students and researchers to work together, to break down barriers to accessing different evidence and build evaluation and research skills that work in the real world.

Medical Sciences


The ActEarly project, led by the UCL Institute of Epidemiology & Health Care focuses on behaviour change, interventions & environment. Building on insights from the 'Born in Bradford' study of over 30,000 local people, the project aims to find out what influences health and wellbeing over time. The project team is working to develop a clearer picture of what action can be taken to make sure communities, health systems and services can support healthier childhood.

Personal Genome Project UK

Personal Genome Project UK, based at the UCL Cancer Institute, provides open genome, trait, and health data. They invite participants to openly share their personal genome data for the greater good and maintain relationships with their participants to track health, and other traits over time.

Eyes on Eyes

For the Eyes on Eyes project, members of the public are being asked to examine and evaluate high-resolution images of the potentially blinding eye condition, uveitis, as part of a UCL-led project aimed at ensuring children with the disease are diagnosed and treated far more quickly. Participants will be asked to judge the quality of the images, annotate the images, or mark possible inflammatory cells inside the eye.

Past Projects

The projects listed below have now closed.

Social Sciences
Natural Sciences
Medical Sciences
Physical Sciences

UCL Departments and Research Groups undertaking citizen science projects

There is a growing community of academics and researchers at UCL with knowledge and expertise of citizen science, who are collaborating across boundaries, sharing experiences, and working together. They are crossing disciplinary boundaries - medical, health, engineering, life sciences, physical sciences, geography, social sciences, and humanities.

In addition to the diverse range of projects listed above, many departments and research groups at UCL (listed in alphabetical order below) have experience in running “citizen science” projects or participatory research activities.

The Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis (CASA)

The Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis (CASA) is an interdisciplinary institute within UCL’s Bartlett Faculty of the Built Environment, leading on the science of cities.

CASA’s vision is to play a central role in the science of smart cities – applying it to city planning, policy and architecture in the pursuit of making our cities better places to live. CASA has established a concentration of academics with a wide breadth of expertise from a range of disciplines, all with a common domain knowledge in cities.

Read about CASA's research. Many of CASA’s current and completed projects involve(d) public participation.  Read the latest outputs from researchers, alumni and friends at the UCL Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis around citizen science on The CASA Blog Network.

Co-Production Collective

Co-Production Collective, within UCL Culture, are a community of people interested in co-production.

Whatever identity and lived, living or learnt experience, Co-Production Collective works together in equal partnership to create better outcomes for everyone. It works with individuals and organisations including universities, charities, funders, NHS bodies, local authorities, housing associations and grassroots groups.

Co-production is an approach to working together in equal partnership and for equal benefit. For Co-Production Collective, this means living our core values - challenging, human, inclusive, transparent - are central to everything we do.

If you would like to share ideas, meet others interested in co-production or get support with projects, there are lots of ways to get involved.

The UCL Division of Psychology and Language Sciences

The UCL Division of Psychology and Language Sciences is part of the Faculty of Brain Sciences and leads the way in the fields of mind, behaviour, and language. It is ranked second in the world for psychology and UCL is the top-ranked university in the UK for research power in Psychology, Psychiatry and Neuroscience according to the UK’s Research Excellence Framework 2021.

Read about the Division's research and projects.

The Developmental Risk and Resilience (DDRU) is a research unit of the UCL Division of Psychology and Language Sciences. They study the genetic and environmental risk factors that shape how the brain processes social and emotional information in childhood. The unit aims to better understand why and how mental health problems emerge, and the nature of risk and resilience in childhood.

The DDRU works with children and teenagers and is dedicated to ensuring the wellbeing of the young people who take part in their research. They are also committed to engaging with young people as active participants and collaborators in their research, who help shape their study protocols.

The UCL Energy Institute

The UCL Energy Institute, within UCL’s Bartlett School of Environment, Energy and Resources, delivers world-leading learning, research and policy support on the challenges of climate change and energy security.

Most energy problems are multidisciplinary in nature, spanning science, engineering, and the social sciences. The Institute’s research works to develop a range of tools and methods to address the energy challenges facing the world over the next two decades.

The UCL Energy Institute hosts research projects across six intersecting research themes. It is also home to academic centres conducting world-leading research and teaching. For example, the Smart Energy Research Lab (SERL) provides a technical and data governance infrastructure that allows accredited UK researchers to access gas and electricity smart meter readings for c13,000 consenting households.

UCL Engagement

UCL research addresses real world problems, and the university is committed to opening up research to people outside the university, creating a culture of two-way engagement between researchers and the public. UCL Engagement, part of UCL Culture, helps UCL staff and students listen to and engage with communities.

UCL East’s new campus in Stratford has been designed for collaboration and is the home of community engagement. Teams reach out to and engage with people who live, work and study in and around Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, contributing to realising the Olympic legacy.  Read about opportunities for collaboration, examples of projects already up and running and support to start your own public engagement project.

The Trellis programme brings together artists, UCL researchers and east London communities to collaborate, create new knowledge, ideas and the potential for change or action.

The Community Engagement Seed Fund is a small grants funding round designed to support the development of engagement activities and partnership opportunities with east London communities.

Explore the Beacon Bursaries awards and other projects from UCL Engagement.

Extreme Citizen Science

The Extreme Citizen Science research group (ExCiteS) in the UCL Department of Geography brings together a diverse range of scholars to create the methodologies, tools and guiding theories to help communities start their own Citizen Science projects.

Extreme Citizen Science is a situated, bottom-up practice that considers local needs, traditions and culture and works with broad networks of people to design and build new devices and knowledge-creation processes that can transform the world.

Read about ExCiteS current and past research projects including ActEarly and TIME4CS.

UCL Innovation & Enterprise

Every thriving business, life-saving medicine and revolutionary technology begins as an idea. UCL Innovation & Enterprise works with UCL staff, students and organisations to turn knowledge and ideas into the solutions that benefit us all.

Browse UCL Innovation & Enterprise’s latest case studies which have been impacting on lives across health, technology, culture, the environment, communities, and justice and equality.

The Made At UCL campaign highlights 100 stories about how UCL works to improve lives and communities and create real world impact through research. Listen to the award-winning #MadeAtUCL podcasts to explore the disruptive discoveries emerging from UCL and read the stories.

UCL Institute for Environmental Design and Engineering

The UCL Institute for Environmental Design and Engineering, in UCL’s Bartlett Faculty of the Built Environment, pursues a deeper understanding of the interactions between the built environment and health, human wellbeing, productivity, energy use and climate change. The goal is to deliver inter- & transdisciplinary built environment research to improve health, wellbeing, and sustainability.

Read about the ways in which the Institute is providing support to communities, encouraging staff to share knowledge, expertise, and experiences, and bringing together the local community, local agencies, and academics.

Explore the Institute’s project directory to learn about the past and present research projects undertaken by the Institute.

UCL Institute for Global Prosperity

The UCL Institute for Global Prosperity (IGP), which is part of the UCL’s Bartlett Faculty of the Built Environment, is redesigning prosperity for the 21st century.

The IGP has established three Prosperity Co-Labs (PROCOLs) in the UK, Lebanon and Africa, with each one conducting several major research projects.

The UCL Citizen Science Academy, a new initiative established by the IGP, 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 IGP Zines, produced as part of The Prosperity in East London 2021-2031 Longitudinal Study, present the interesting work carried out in collaboration with citizen scientists.

Discover the IGP's research and projects.

IOE, UCL’s Faculty of Education and Society

IOE, UCL’s Faculty of Education and Society, works across education, culture, psychology, and social science to create lasting and evolving change.

Across several areas of expertise in education and social science, IOE research addresses the challenges that impact our society and affect us all. At any given time, researchers at IOE are engaged in over 200 projects.

Read about key IOE research projects and IOE Stories (for life) to discover how they embrace collaboration and encourage a desire for knowledge to shape tomorrow’s world.

Hear from an IOE researcher about prioritising participatory and co-produced research, and how she made things possible throughout the pandemic.

School for Creative and Cultural Industries 

The School for Creative and Cultural Industries (SCCI) is a collaboration across several academic departments within three globally renowned faculties at UCL. The SCCI links researchers and researcher-practitioners working at UCL exploring key questions of relevance to the sector with specific focus on new media and digital cultures, history and heritage, creative practice, and innovation.

The School works in partnership with organisations to develop collaborative, community-engaged and challenge-focused research that addresses pressing issues of relevance to the creative and cultural sector.

Read about the School’s research projects which draw on collaborations with creative practitioners, policymakers and cultural organisations, as well as work with sectors beyond the creative and cultural.

UCL Special Collections

UCL Special Collections, part of UCL Library Services, manages an outstanding collection of over 10,000 metres of rare books, archives, and manuscripts, dating from the 4th century to the present day. 

The team runs a programme of public and academic events, from exhibitions, public talks, and open days to collection displays at conferences and a summer Rare-Books Club.

Hidden in Plain Sight: Liberating our Library Collections is an important initiative through which staff members, students, and volunteers worked together to discover, record, and celebrate the diverse voices in the collections.

Browse the collection of oral history projects - a living history of unique life experiences, people’s memories, experiences, and opinions.

Students' Union UCL

Students' Union UCL helps UCL students make the most of UCL. It is the centre of the campus community, and the route to the best parts of university life. Students’ Union UCL also connects students with rewarding community volunteering opportunities across London.

Based in Student’s Union UCL, the Community Research Initiative creates ways for voluntary and community sector organisations to meet UCL’s top quality students. It reflects UCL's commitment to working with and for its local community. Co-designing and working in partnership on research is part of this.
The Community Noticeboard has ideas from local charities, community, or citizen groups about what is most important, right now, to further what they do, fill a knowledge gap, or change and improve something for some of the most pressing social issues.

UCL Urban Laboratory & Urban Room

UCL Urban Laboratory is a world-leading cross-disciplinary centre promoting critical, creative and collaborative inquiry into urgent urban problems, based at UCL. 
To address the most challenging urban complexities, knowledge about cities and methods of urban research, need to be produced collaboratively and publicly, with the participation of citizens, as well as those excluded from citizenship.

Browse the UCL Urban Lab’s research project directory to view all current and past research projects.

UCL Urban Room is a public-facing space for events, exhibitions, workshops and engagement with local stakeholders, professional audiences, and the wider public in east London. It is managed through a partnership between UCL Urban Laboratory, The Bartlett, School for the Creative and Cultural Industries and UCL Special Collections.

The inaugural exhibition at UCL Urban Room, SE1 Stories: Community action in a London neighbourhood, was created from a collection of thousands of photographs, and archives including the SE1 Newspaper publication produced from 1975-1991.

Tell us about your citizen science project