ACSA is member-based incorporated association that seeks to advance citizen science through the sharing of knowledge, collaboration, capacity building and advocacy.
The Australian Citizen Science Association (ACSA) was first conceived in 2014 when a large number of dedicated volunteers came together to discuss how to increase awareness and support of Australian citizen science both nationally and globally.
A community that supports, develops and informs citizen science.
To advance citizen science through sharing of knowledge, collaboration, capacity building and advocacy for citizen science.
The Australian Citizen Science Association actively works to:
- Encourage and promote broad and meaningful participation in citizen science.
- Facilitate inclusive and collaborative partnerships.
- Support the development of tools and resources that further best practice.
- Ensure the value and impact of citizen science and its outputs are realised.
- Establish ACSA as an effective, trusted and well recognised organisation and hub for citizen science in Australia.
What is citizen science?
Citizen science is the collection and analysis of scientific data in relation to the natural world, performed predominantly by citizens, usually in collaboration with scientists and field experts. Citizen scientists work with scientists or the scientific framework to achieve scientific goals.
Citizen science involves public participation and collaboration in scientific research with the aim to increase scientific knowledge. It’s a great way to harness community skills and passion to fuel the capacity of science to answer our questions about the world and how it works. Have a look at our 10 Principles of Citizen Science to find out more.
The ACSA Management Committee
The ACSA Management Committee
ACSA is governed by a member-elected Management Committee comprising of a Chair, Vice-Chair, Secretary, Treasurer, at least two General Members and a representative of the Host Organisation. Committee members are elected at ACSA’s Annual General Meeting for a two-year term. ACSA is supported by a part-time National Coordinator and a Social Media Moderator.
Our Patron is Dr Geoff Garrett AO, former Chief Scientist of Queensland (2011-2016). Please see below for more info on Geoff.
Funding, MoU relationships, Strategic Plan, ACSA National Coordinator supervision.
Erin is the CSIRO Citizen Science Program Lead working to deepen existing partnerships and build new collaborations, delivering a strategic approach to citizen science nationally. Formerly, Erin worked for the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH) where she worked on science communication, priority knowledge acquisition, research partnerships and citizen science. Erin helped deliver OEH’s Citizen Science Strategy and Position Statement and worked to develop and implement the broader program. Erin has been on the ACSA Management Committee since July 2015, first as Secretary and then Chair, and works with the management committee to deliver on ACSA’s Strategic Plan. Before delving into the citizen science space, Erin worked in climate change adaptation and has a PhD in terrestrial ecology.
Strategy and Governance; ACSA Chapter Development.
Stephanie von Gavel is the Business Development Manager for CSIRO Land & Water, and previously the Atlas of Living Australia. She has over 20 years experience in technology transfer, business development and strategy development in areas of agribusiness, inclusive innovation, biodiversity, information platforms and Indigenous related research. She has a strong commitment to citizen science, having contributed to the development of ACSA as an organization, and CSIRO and ALA’s own initiatives in this space, and has even participated in BioBlitz or two. Stephanie believes in the importance of citizen science as a mechanism for engaging with communities and individuals to drive a better understanding of science and science literacy especially if Australia is going to have constructive conversation about our environment and the STEM skills of our children (and adults).
Financial management; data quality, privacy, security, analytics.
Peter is the Director of Natirar Pty Ltd, a research and development consultancy focused on management consulting and new technology development. Previously Peter was the Smart Cities Program Leader and Innovation Challenge leader at CSIRO’s Data61.
Peter is working with universities and local governments to develop projects and programs using citizen operated “internet of things” sensors to both address local issues in communities and to contribute to national scale data resources.
Of particular interest to Peter are data quality, privacy, security and analytics for citizen science projects and building skills and awareness around these issues.
Peter is also on the board of the NSW Smart Sensing Network, the Australian Computer Society’s Internet of Things technical working group, the ARDC Data Quality working group until recently he was the Vice President of the Australian Smart Communities Association.
Alysoun has broad experience as a Director in various NGOs. Her specialist background is in conflict resolution, although she has a long history of involvement in citizen science activities, including some predating the concept of ACSA. She looks forward to working with the rest of the Management Committee to safeguard the sustainability and longevity of ACSA.
Planning and evaluation, accessibility and inclusion, indicators for impact
Dr Cobi Calyx is a Postdoctoral Fellow with the Centre for Social Impact in collaboration with UNSW Science, where she’s developing curriculum about leading science for impact. Cobi has worked for the United Nations in Geneva researching and developing citizen science for disaster responses and has been involved internationally in OpenStreetMap. She is currently one of the most active iNaturalist contributors in South Australia. Cobi was one of the first people working on the Inspiring Australia initiative and has more recently worked in state disaster response, environment and water agencies in South Australia. She started her career as an ABC journalist and has worked on Australian Aid-funded projects in Asia and the Pacific, developing locals’ capacity to assert local knowledge and advocating for community rights. Cobi joined the ACSA Management committee in November 2019.
Education, sustainability specialist
Bill is a skilled educator and passionate sustainability advocate, developing and managing CSIRO’s Sustainable Futures programs for the last decade. Bill is also currently the Country Coordinator for the NASA sponsored GLOBE citizen science program. He has a deep understanding of the sustainability landscape in an educational context. He is proficient in translating sustainability principles and concepts into high-quality curriculum resources that meet the needs of primary and secondary teachers and engage, excite and inspire students.
Bill has taught in the UK and Australian senior school education sector. As well as teaching across the year levels he has held positions as head of science and head of technology. Prior to this Bill worked in the printing industry and chemical industry. He is currently a member of the South Australian Science Teachers Association PD Reference Group and a volunteer fire fighter with the SA Country Fire Service.
Astronomy, gamification, online platforms for engagement
Lisa is a project officer at the International Centre for Radio Astronomy (ICRAR) where she has managed the citizen science project AstroQuest for three years. She originally studied Astronomy, then moved into a career in 3D animation and game development. After years of working as a technical artist on animations, visualisations, games, and educational projects, Lisa became interested in “serious games” – games that have other goals than just entertainment. She began a PhD and also worked on serious game projects for organisations like the Department of Road Safety and Surf Life Saving WA, before coming to ICRAR to help develop and gamify AstroQuest.
Lisa’s specific skills lie in creating interactive experiences that are engaging, accessible and easy to use, taking a user-centred approach from the ground up. Her research focus is on the design and evaluation of digital projects with real, measurable impacts on audiences – whether they are intended to raise awareness, teach new skills and knowledge, or improve players’ mental models of complex systems. She has a particular interest in citizen science as a means of directly engaging the public in science, and creating online platforms that empower citizen scientists to get involved.
Policy; Program evaluation; Enhancing citizen science resourcing
Inspired by her first Indo-Pacific experience in Palau, Jenn moved to Australia to pursue a career that unites science and community engagement to support healthy oceans. As Project Director Community Partnerships at the Great Barrier Reef Foundation, she supports a portfolio of programs that empower individuals and communities to contribute to Reef protection, including citizen science initiatives. As Coordinator for the Reef Citizen Science Alliance, she works with 13 coastal and marine citizen science member groups to foster collaborative strategies that enhance positive citizen science outcomes for the Reef. She believes in the power of citizen science to provide a platform for unlock practical grassroots solutions to environmental challenges.
Community engagement, project management and development, grant writing and event management
Rosalinde unexpectedly set foot on Australian soil back in 2014, and fell in love with it’s beauty. Rosalinde decided to officially migrate from The Netherlands in 2016 to pursue a career in the environmental sector after completing her wildlife management and community engagement degree with honours. As the Executive Officer at the Gold Coast Catchment Association, she coordinates numerous citizen science programs, organises 6 major events annually (Gold Coast Green Week, Gold Coast BioBlitz, GC Biggest tree planting day, etc.) and manages on-ground restoration and revegetation programs. Furthermore she manages the day-to-day business of the Association, and works alongside numerous partners to strengthen relationships and support program development locally. Rosalinde also supports 40 community groups in her role for GCCA through financial, grant writing and insurance services. Rosalinde is the 2019 Queensland Young Landcare Leader Award winner and will be representing the state at the 2020 National Landcare awards. Rosalinde believes that by engaging community members with on-ground activity you can create real change.
Communications, policy, governance, social media/big data analysis, marine parks and their human dimensions
Maxine Newlands is a social scientist in Townsville, Queensland. As a researcher and academic at James Cook University, her research centres on political ecology (combining politics and ecology), environmental communication, and citizen science within stakeholder engagement. As an environmental educator, Max combines her love of science and the social sciences, to explore Reef governance and policy. A secondary interest lies in media, social media and big data analysis to see what we think of the environment and how people can do more. As convener of the Australian Citizen Science Association, Queensland branch – World Science Festival satellite event at the Museum of Tropic Queensland in 2019, Max coordinated a series of speakers to talk all things reef-related citizen science, showcasing the importance of citizen science in the regions.
University and Community Partnerships, Citizen Science platforms, Open Science, Science Communication and Education
Dr Alice Motion is a chemist and science communicator based at The University of Sydney. Her research focuses on open science and Science Communication, Outreach, Participation and Education (SCOPE). Finding ways to connect people with science and to make research more accessible is the overarching theme of Alice’s interdisciplinary research. Alice is the founder of the Breaking Good project – a citizen science project that aims to empower high school and undergraduate students to be active researchers in projects that will improve human health. She has a strong commitment to Citizen Science and is the Co-Chair of the University of Sydney’s Citizen Science Node, which aims to enhance Citizen Science in Australia through research and practice. Alice will work with ACSA to strengthen participation in, and the impact of, Citizen Science in our region.
Social Media Moderator
Using social media for citizen science; STEM in schools
In 2011 Michelle’s young son presented her with a spider. A redback spider. After convincing her son not to pick up spiders but to take pictures of them instead Michelle soon found she had over 7000 photos of all sorts of creatures and no idea what any of them were called. Thus a citizen scientist is made. In May 2014 Michelle was invited by Earthwatch to attend the Australian Citizen Science Associations Inaugral Workshop in Brisbane. She found herself co-chair of the Communications Working Group. Michelle and Jessie Oliver co-developed ACSA social media (Twitter, Facebook, & LinkedIn). Since then Michelle, with her orange coloured ipad clutched firmly in one hand, has been an active social media moderator, poster and tweeter for the ACSA social media platforms. Having worked in analytical chemistry for over a decade Michelle finds herself in an interesting place – a scientist as well as a citizen scientist, with a passion for science communication.
ACSA National Coordinator
Website Development; Communications; Office Administration
Amy is ACSA’s National Coordinator. She assists with managing the day to day operations of the Association, such as this website, communication (e.g. the ACSA newsletter), records & database management, meeting & event coordination and general office administration. Amy has an environmental science and education background. She began her career with the Waterwatch program in South Australia, which gave her an excellent introduction to citizen science and the role that the community can play in the collection of scientific data. She also has 7 years experience as an Environmental Adviser within a large energy company, which required her to work in some of the most remote locations across south eastern Australia and reinforced her passion for environmental stewardship.
Dr Geoff Garrett AO
Raising awareness of ACSA and providing advice on strategic and policy matters
We are delighted to have as our patron former Queensland Chief Scientist (2011-2016) Dr. Geoff Garrett AO. Our patron is responsible for raising awareness of ACSA and providing advice on strategic and policy matters, In this role Geoff is an advocate for ACSA, supporting and promoting our association, helping us make connections to potential funding bodies and key influencers and attending (where possible) key stakeholder meetings. Geoff has led two of the world’s major national research and development organisations, CSIRO in Australia (2001-2008) and CSIR in South Africa (1995-2000). He currently lectures in leadership and change management and provides coaching support in these areas to academics and to senior officers of the Australian Public Service. In addition to his role as Patron of ACSA, currently he is also Deputy Chair of the National Youth Science Forum, and a non-Executive Director of Behaviour Innovation Pty Ltd. More info on Geoff can be found here.
International Liaison Officer
International communications and developments in citizen science
Since the inception of ACSA back in May of 2014, Jessie has been heavily involved in its development, serving a total of 4.5 years on the Establishment and Management Committees. As the current International Liaison Officer, Jessie regularly jumps onto late night teleconference calls to keep tabs on the amazing work being done by our colleagues around the world, and to share happenings here at home. Most recently, calls have focused on citizen science in relation to data standardization and interoperability, local to global technical infrastructure, the UN Sustainable Development Goals, and global partnerships, as well as various large-scale initiatives on a variety of topics. Beyond keeping in touch with established sister associations, Jessie is also thrilled continue learning about emerging citizen science associations and networks. This liaising role allows her to further explore her own passions for understanding how culture, practices, and policy influence citizen science in different regions of the world. As a person currently researching #CitSci technology design, she also furthers her understanding of the role that technology may play in increasing scientific and social impacts of projects, whether local or global. If you would like to get involved with international initiatives, please sing out to Jessie via Twitter or the ACSA contact us page for contact details.
Citizen Science Global Partnership Liaison
Regional and global citizen science strategic development.
A founding member of ACSA, Libby served on the first Committee and chaired the Strategic Planning and Big Projects working groups and helped organise our first conference. She has organised high level international experts and speaking tours to bring International experience to Australia. As well as advocating for citizen science at all levels, Libby nurtures regional citizen science projects – establishing the Sapphire Coast Marine Discovery Centre and the Atlas of Life/NatureMapr biodiversity mapping project, building the networks, communities and skills sharing that give them life. The Atlas of Life currently has over 400 contributors and 24 Moderators and now the NatureMapr Network has 7 regional projects able to mobilise for broad scale research such as post bushfire recovery. Libby brought together the group which produced the Australian Guide to Running a BioBlitz and the BioBlitz Hub which offers advice and resources to all. Libby promotes ACSA and Australian citizen science internationally, at conferences and working groups in Europe and the US and World Data Forum, GEO and UNEA in the Middle East and Africa. Recognising the importance of the SDGs for the sane development of society and for citizen science, Libby established the global SDG & Citizen Science Maximisation Group and more recently the new Open Science & Citizen Science Community of Practice under the Citizen Science Global Partnership (CSGP) and co-chairs the CoP working with UNESCO to develop their Recommendation on Open Science which will be formalised in 2021. Libby is the Australian representative on the CSGP Governance Group developing global agreements for CSGP incorporation.
Citizen science tool and framework development, Community Engagement
Patrick’s citizen science initiation began along the Sapphire Coast of NSW. The active and enthusiastic community and supporting organisations provided the ideal incubation chamber to better understand and appreciate citizen science at a local scale. Since that point, Patrick has been an advocate for citizen science, being involved in a variety of citizen science projects including BioBlitzes and ecological surveys as well as supporting the NSW Government to deliver citizen science initiatives. Currently, Patrick is an Environment Officer at the Wingecarribee Shire Council, where he is responsible for delivering biodiversity projects and community education events.
The Australian Citizen Science Association (ACSA) was conceived at the Inaugural Citizen Science Workshop hosted by the Queensland Museum in Brisbane on 6 May, 2014. A large number of dedicated volunteers came together and formed working groups to actively develop the structure of ACSA and build awareness of Australian citizen science both nationally and globally.
Inaugural Citizen Science Workshop
Attendees gathered at the Queensland Museum in support of the development of the CSNA on May 6th.***Please note that as of March 2015, the name of the Citizen Science Network Australia (CSNA) was changed to the Australian Citizen Science Association (ACSA), though the next below remains as originally written***
On 6 May 2014, 90 attendees gathered at the Queensland Museum in Brisbane to support the development of the Citizen Science Network Australia.
There was overwhelming agreement amongst the workshop participants regarding the formation of a national association/network to progress citizen science within Australia. Many new friendships were made during the breakfast networking session.
Left – Philip Roetman presents the results of the Australian citizen science survey to an audience of citizen science stakeholders.
The entire morning session was filmed (with the exception of Libby Hepburn) and is available for viewing via the links provided below:
- Citizen Science Overview – Suzanne Miller, Chris Gillies, Philip Roetman
- U.S. Citizen Science Association Overview – Abe Miller-Rushing, Jennifer Lynn Shirk
- Panel 1 – Jayne Keane (facilitator), Angela Dean, Bob Edgar, Janet Dudley and James O’Connor
- Panel 2 – Jayne Keane (facilitator), Simon France, David McInnes, Noleen Brown, Piers Higgs and Peter Doherty
- Panel Q&A – All Panellists
Lots of enthusiastic discussion occurred during the two afternoon breakout sessions which focused on defining the: (1) purpose and (2) form of the Citizen Science Network Australia. Participants were split into nine groups of ten and were asked to summarise their thoughts on vision, mission, membership, entity, governance and communication. The majority of participants supported an Australian association similar in structure to the US association. Each group presented their discussions back to all workshop participants in a facilitated manner and these summaries were reviewed and synthesised for common themes amongst groups.
Above – Workshop attendees had the opportunity to discuss the purpose and form of the CSNA in small groups and then present their ideas back to the larger group during afternoon sessions.
Those in attendance were invited to sign up to one or more temporary working groups which will formalise the outcomes of the workshop through summary documents (including scope for further public consolation). These four working groups are: (1) entity and governance, (2) charter and objectives, (3) CSNA funding and (4) communications.
The summary documents that were produced by each of these working groups are available via the links at the top of this page.
In June 2014 an establishment committee was formed and was responsible for a number of tasks such as selection of a host institution, progressing incorporation and coordinating the development of relevant organisational plans. In July 2015 formal elections were held for management committee positions. Under the 2015 Management Committee’s guidance, ACSA officially became incorporated on 30 June, 2016. The management committee released it’s inaugural strategic plan in 2016 and secured seed funding from Inspiring Australia.
ACSA’s Regional Chapters
ACSA Chapters operate under the overarching ACSA governance framework to support the values, approach and strategy of ACSA, and seek to foster an inclusive, inspiring and collaborative citizen science community in Australia. The purpose of ACSA Chapters is to help implement ACSA’s Strategic Goals, priorities and actions at a regional scale. ACSA Chapters help to build awareness of ACSA and citizen science in their local membership and areas of interest, and have the opportunity to provide a local voice, representation and communication channel at the national level.
ACSA Working Groups
Working Groups help to implement ACSA’s strategic goals, priorities and actions. Working Groups are centered around a specific area of interest focus, whether that be a particular citizen science typology, citizen science issue or community of practice. Participating in a working group is an excellent way for members to help shape the future of citizen science practice.
ACSA may periodically put a call out for the formation of Working Groups via our website, newsletter and social media. Alternatively, groups of individuals who are interested in establishing a Working Group are encouraged to apply. For all the information, including the application process, please download our Protocols and Application Template.
If you have questions about a Working Group please contact us.
Current Working Groups
The following committee has put together a robust proposal and has been approved by the ACSA Management Committee as an official working group of ACSA.
Data and Metadata Working Group
Chair: Peter Brenton (Atlas of Living Australia)
The aim of this working groups is to broaden the Australian input into the work of US Citizen Science Association Data and Metadata Working Group, in particular with respect to the PPSR-Core project, and also to give more authority to and recognition of Australia’s contributions, equivalent to the contributions being made under the auspices of the CSA and ECSA.
The ACSA Data and Metadata Working Group will:
- Contribute constructively to the development and implementation of the PPSR-Core data and metadata standard at a global level.
- Represent ACSA in the activities of the collaborations of pan-continental Data and Metadata Working Groups of all citizen science associations.
- Liaise with other initiatives in the mainstream science domains which are also involved in activities aligned with observational data, metadata and/or standards work. These include the ICSU WDS, CODATA, RDA (Research Data Alliance), GBIF, TDWG (Taxonomic Data Working Group), Australian relevant NCRIS facilities, relevant state agencies, and others.
Here you can find general documents of the association.
ACSA General Documents
- ACSA Strategic Plan 2019-2021
- ACSA Constitution
- ACSA Management Committee – Terms of Reference
- ACSA Communication Strategy (available upon request)
- ACSA Regional Chapter Protocol
- Application Form for proposing a Regional Chapter of ACSA
- ACSA Working Group Protocol
- Application Form for proposing an ACSA Working Group
ACSA AGM Documentation
Annual General Meeting 2020, 23 November, via Zoom
Annual General Meeting 2019, 11 November, Sydney, Australia
Annual General Meeting 2018, 15 November, Sydney, Australia
Annual General Meeting 2017, 14 November, Sydney, Australia
Annual General Meeting 2016, 22 November, Sydney, Australia