On November 21, the Catalan cluster of the TRANSFORM project held its final event to share the results and lessons learned acquired during these 3 years of work. Under the title “Responsible research and innovation, citizen science and public policies” more than 70 people attended the event held at the Palau Robert.
The TRANSFORM project brings together three European regions (Lombardy, Brussels-Capital and Catalonia) to experiment with different innovative participatory methodologies. The Catalan cluster has used citizen science as an instrument to move towards a greener, digital, resilient and fair socio-economic model. More specifically, two citizen science pilots have been carried out in Catalonia: one on the selective collection of waste and another on the health of women with endometriosis.
To close these three years of collaborative work, the Catalan cluster -led by Science for Change, in collaboration with the Department of Economic Strategy of the Generalitat de Catalunya and the OpenSystems research group of the University of Barcelona – has organised the final act of the TRANSFORM project at local level. One of the objectives of the Catalan cluster was to introduce the principles of responsible research and innovation (RRI) in the practice of public policies and in the Strategy for Smart Specialisation of Catalonia (RIS3CAT 2030).
The event began with a welcome and presentations by Dr Josep Perelló, leader of the OpenSystems group, and Rosa Arias, CEO of Science for Change. During their presentations, both underlined the importance and transformative potential of citizen science as a tool to improve public policies.
This introduction was followed by the round table presentations of two citizen science pilots that have been carried out in the Catalan territory with representatives of each pilot.
In the field of women’s health, the Catalan cluster has worked together with the Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics of the Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau and the Agency for Health Quality and Assessment of Catalonia (AQuAS) on the pilot about endometriosis in first person. In this collaborative research, health professionals and women with endometriosis have worked hand in hand to deepen their biopsychosocial experiences of the disease and their experiences, needs, and recommendations regarding health services.
20 women diagnosed with endometriosis participated as co-investigators, playing an active role in the data collection phases, in the formulation of recommendations and in the dissemination of the results. As a result, a policy brief has been published for decision-makers and health personnel, presenting the recommendations co-created by women for the improvement of health services in relation to endometriosis.
Dr. Elisa Llurba, Director of the Obstetrics and Gynecology Service, Dr. Ramon Rovira, coordinator of the Surgical Area, the Gynecology Oncology Area and the Endometriosis Unit of the Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau, Marta Fonseca and Noelia Pitarque, co-investigators of the project, participated in this round table, moderated by Nora Salas Seoane, Head of the Health Area at Science for Change.
“Applying citizen science to a women’s health issue such as endometriosis has allowed us to give a voice, accompany and empower people with endometriosis who have been able to work collaboratively with health professionals towards a common goal: to make visible an under-diagnosed disease that affects 10% of women and contribute to the improvement of health services and early diagnosis thanks to its recommendations. We want to move towards a medicine that really takes into account once and for all the needs of women”
Nora Salas Seoane, Head of the Health Area at Science for Change.
On the other hand, in the field of waste management and sustainability, the Catalan cluster has worked together with the Mollet del Vallès City Council, the Autonomous University of Barcelona and secondary schools in Mollet del Vallès to contribute to improving the municipal selective waste collection system.
For this pilot project, a digital game on waste, called “Dilemma R“, was co-designed as a tool to inform citizens about innovative selective collection systems and, in turn, collect their preferences and barriers when implementing them. In the design process, the pilot followed a participatory model, involving as many actors as possible. As proof that citizen science can have an impact on public policies, the City Council approved the new contract for cleaning public spaces and waste collection, taking into account the proposals from the pilot, which have been evaluated and incorporated into the new contract.
This round table was attended by Guifré Ortiz, Head of the Urban Services Section of the Mollet del Vallès City Council, Sandra Palma, Manager of the Mollet del Vallès Municipal Institute of Education, Myra Ronzoni, Operational Manager of the ECIU University project from the Autonomous University of Barcelona and Adrià Navarro, a student at the Sant Gervasi School, moderated by Diana Reinoso, Project Manager of the TRANSFORM project in Science for Change.
Diana Reinoso, Project Manager at Science for Change.
Impact on public policies
To close the event, Tatiana Fernández, Head of the Economic Strategy Area of the Secretariat for Economic Affairs and European Funds of the Generalitat de Catalunya, shared with the attendees the role of citizen science within the framework of RIS3CAT 2030 and also its experience and learning from the TRANSFORM project.
“When we started the TRANSFORM project, we were not sure how to collaborate in it, nor did we know what citizen science would bring us. Now we have seen that it is a tool that allows us to improve the effectiveness of public policies and services”
Tatiana Fernández, Head of the Economic Strategy Area of the Secretariat for Economic Affairs and European Funds of the Generalitat de Catalunya
Finally, the participants discussed the challenges and opportunities of citizen science in Catalonia in a round table led by Tatiana Fernández, Xavier Gironès, Coordinator of the Territorial Impact of Knowledge of the Department of Research and Universities of the Generalitat de Catalunya, Xavier Ariño, Head of the Office of Institutional Projects of the Autonomous University of Barcelona, Diana Escobar, Coordinator of Projects of the Department of Science and Universities of the Barcelona City Council, Ignasi Labastida, Delegate of the Rector in Open Science of the University of Barcelona, moderated by Sergio Martínez, Secretariat for Economic Affairs and European Funds of the Department of Economy and Finance of the Generalitat de Catalunya.
Some of the key points that were discussed in this round table were: the need to establish a return to citizenship, have platforms or agents that act as a link between the different actors involved, the need to create spaces for innovation around the territory and generate a relationship of trust between the agents involved in citizen science projects.