Can citizen science transform population health?

23 November 2017

Citizen science engages millions of people worldwide, asking and answering questions about the world around them. The United States, European Union, and Australia have placed citizen science at the forefront of national science policy.

But to date, population health science has not relied heavily on citizen contributions.

In an article for Critical Public Health, researchers from the Centre for the Public Awareness of Science and the Menzies Centre for Health Policy argue that citizen science offers an untapped pathway to transform population health science and inspire citizens to strongly value to public health research.

"If we are to tackle the complex challenges that face population health then new avenues are needed to capture the energy and attention of citizens who may not feel affected by public health problems, to engage the ‘by-standers’ in population health science."

Engaging citizens in collecting and analysing data has the potential to provide new insights into the nature of the problems in population health, offer new solutions, and mobilise public demand for effective programmes and policies. 

You can read the full article online in Critical Public Health.