How to democratise decision-making processes in science
The role of citizens in providing input to research groups and local governments is often underestimated and underused in most epidemiological studies. However, their in-depth and situational knowledge of the problem is essential for the correct implementation of the study, to ensure its relevance and to mitigate any disputes. To this end, it is important to encourage their involvement in decision-making processes in science.
How to allow citizens to make decisions in a scientific study, in a systematic way and throughout its duration?
A Citizen Committee is a decision-making body whose main role is to provide inputs to the research study, to veil for its correct implementation and ensure that citizens’ concerns are taken into account. Usually it is set up by a group of residents of a certain area to deal with issues of common concern such as health, the environment or any other. Structural, functional, and practical arrangements of the citizen committee can be the most diverse.
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Read the case study and understand how this tool has been used in a real citizen science project.
Citizen Committee for health and environmental state
CitieS-Health Lucca Pilot
In Cities-Health pilot in Lucca, the Citizen Committee was pre-existent to the inception of the project and it had been spontaneously set-up by some citizens concerned about the state of health and the environment in the area. Since the beginning, the promoters opted for not having a rigid formal structure and agreed on granting access to all those interested, preferences which remained unchanged over time. This proved successful in attracting a variety of new members in terms of demographic, educational, and socio-economic backgrounds, thus also increasing visibility and amplifying the network of contacts and resources, which greatly enhanced the possibility of finding rapid and creative solutions whenever a problem occurred.
To promote active participation and gather citizens’ inputs in the study design and implementation
To reach as many residents as possible, spread information and facilitate communication