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UCL Citizen Science Certificate

The UCL Citizen Science Certificate is a high-quality, non-academic certification awarded to individuals who complete a training programme as part of the UCL Citizen Science Academy.

Led by the UCL Institute for Global Prosperity (IGP), the UCL Citizen Science Academy is run in partnership with the UCL Office for Open Science and Scholarship (OOSS) and UCL’s cross-faculty Citizen Science Working Group (CSWG).

The UCL Citizen Science Academy promotes UCL's citizen science initiatives and commitment to principles of civic education. The Academy offers high-quality education and training programmes focusing on practice-based learning to provide people with the knowledge and practical skills about research methods to enable place-based social action and influence local decision-making.

There is further information about the UCL Citizen Science Academy on the Institute for Global Prosperity's website page.


The IGP team and the UCL Office for Open Science and Scholarship designed the UCL Citizen Science Certificate, a recognition of research abilities developed through participation in active research projects. Citizen scientists will work on ‘live’ research projects whilst learning about how citizen science research can influence local decisions in a community. 

The interactive, applied programmes are community-based - delivered outside of a traditional academic environment, by an experienced team of UCL staff who are citizen science experts, researchers, and educators.

Why was it developed?

The Academy was developed in response to calls from residents and community groups in acquiring skills, experience, and confidence to carry out research projects that support local social action and contribute to policy and planning; and from public and third sector stakeholders to provide rigorous and accessible research training for residents in different areas of the UK.

Who can participate in research through the Academy training programme?

Everyone has the ability to participate. Participation in the research is inclusive and accessible to people from all kinds of backgrounds. Citizen scientists do not need any previous experience of research, work, or study. 

UCL Citizen Science Academy training programmes are linked to active research projects and are delivered in non-academic, community-based settings. Recruitment for Academy based training programmes is aimed at members of the public, who can take part once a project has been confirmed.

There is information about the Academy's projects in London at the bottom of the UCL Citizen Science Academy website page and in Lebanon on the Prosperity Co-laboratory (PROCOL) Lebanon website page.

How was the Certificate created?

It was co-created in conjunction with a range of stakeholders and citizen scientists. In 2021, the IGP team undertook a pilot project to assess how a certification would work in practice and what it might mean for different stakeholders.

The pilot explored a series of questions from the perspective of citizen scientists and involved a range of stakeholders including the East London citizen social scientists taking part in the first Academy programme; Euston citizen social scientists who had participated in the Good Life Euston programme 2020-2021; local authority partners; several voluntary and public sector partner organizations involved in citizen science and community-based participatory research; and London Prosperity Board partners. 

Overview of the UCL Citizen Science Certificate

The Certificate is designed to be flexible with a structure that can be adapted to align with the objectives of future programmes or projects.

It has two components and six competency domains to define the knowledge, skills, behaviours, and established standards for the Academy’s programmes. The components reflect the diversity of approaches to citizen science:

  • The first includes four core competency domains that are relevant to all citizen science research projects and can be taught across a range of courses and adapted as necessary.
  • The second adds two more domains, which are course and method-specific, and can be tailored to each course and project.

Citizen Science Certificate competency domains. The four core domains are 'Understanding the research process', 'Communication and collaboration skills', 'Knowledge of research and citizen science approaches' and 'Acting as a competent researcher'. The two additional domains are 'Working in a team' and 'Research methods and techniques'.


Assessment process and support 

A set of clear learning objectives and competencies were created for each of the above domains.

The exercises and assignments reflect the learning objectives and are assessed through practical tasks and collaborative exercises that are directly linked to the active research project.

The training has been designed to make sure that people from all backgrounds and abilities can access and achieve the Certificate. The practical tasks and exercises reflect this commitment to inclusive teaching practices.

There are a range of different options and formats for completing each task or exercise, for example, either writing a 300-word paragraph or recording a 2-minute video/audio or drawing a plan/diagram.