WTimpact – From knowledge transfer to knowledge exchange

Granted by: Federal Ministry of Education and Research (Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung, BMBF)

Period: 3 years (September 2017 – August 2020)

Project leader: Miriam Brandt (scientific coordinator, IZW)




Partners in the project


  • IZW – Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research, Berlin

- Project coordination: Anke Schumann, Miriam Brandt, Heribert Hofer

- Implementation of two Citizen Science projects: Assessment of wild animals in Berlin by camera traps and Assessment of bats in Berlin by bat detectors

  • TROPOS – Leibniz Institute for Troposheric Research, Leipzig

Implementation of Citizen Science projects on the relationship between air quality/fine dust pollution, atmospheric column and weather condition

  • IPN – Leibniz Institute for Science and Mathematics Education, Kiel

Evaluation of the effect of participating in Citizen Science projects on participants‘ scientific literacy and understanding of science

  • IWM – Leibniz Knowledge Media Research Center, Tübingen

Evaluation of the effect of participating in Citizen Science projects on participants‘ understanding of one’s role and the emotional relatedness to the topic

Idea of the project and background:

Citizen Science (CS) – the collaboration of professional scientists and volunteers in research projects - currently experiences a great boom in Germany. Among other things, this is due to the high expectations placed in this tool by science policy makers. CS is expected to transform the relationship between science and society, to strengthen science and - as an educational tool - to transfer knowledge about the topic and scientific working processes.

However, these expectations concerning the effects of CS are largely based on assumptions, as there are only very few scientific studies examing the effect of participation on the participants. Whereas some studies suggest that participants in CS projects have gained knowledge about the specific topic, others came to the conclusion that participants‘ understanding of science and their attitude towards the topic improved very little or not at all.

These contradictory results challenge the common expectation of an „automatically“ positive effect of CS on the understanding of science and the emotional attitude of participants. Moreover, most projects are focused on scientific aims (e.g. collecting data) rather than a certain impact on participants.
The project WTimpact aims to investigate which factors influence the learning and the emotional attitude of participants in Citizen Science projects. The basic hypothesis is that participants gain more out of the project the more they see themselves in the role of active researchers.