Frequently Asked Questions

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What is citizen science?

Citizen science involves the public in scientific research and thus has the potential to bring together science, policymakers, and society as a whole in an impactful way. Through citizen science, all people can participate in many stages of the scientific process, from the design of the research question, to data collection and volunteer mapping, data interpretation and analysis, and to publication and dissemination of results.

Why does the project choose to adopt a citizen science approach?

To reduce CO2 emissions on time, we need massive deployment of wind and solar photovoltaics. Here public acceptance can be an issue and, with this project, we want to prove strategies that enable the participation of citizens in the energy transition can bring many benefits. AURORA aims to engage citizens with energy sustainable behaviours, and empower civil society to adopt a leading role in the energy transition. 

The project has received 4.6 million € funding from the EU and only 1 MW solar installation will be set up, is the value proportional?

The project does not include funding to pay for the 1MW installation (200kW in each demonstrator). Those installations will be paid for via crowd-sourcing from the participants in the demonstrator site. The project aims at innovative citizen engagement through crowdfunding solar installations, citizen carbon footprint monitoring through an App, hands-on workshops, citizen researcher meetings, co-development of civic local roadmaps, and other activities. The project funding is devoted to all the research around that experience and includes many other different aspects.

You mentioned citizen carbon footprint monitoring through an App, where can I download the App?

The project team is currently working to develop a carbon footprint calculating tool, which will then become the backbone of the App. As a citizen science project, we wish to develop the App together with citizen scientists, through the format of Innovation Café to be held at the various demonstrators. The App will be released in early 2023. 

What is the knowledge you are gaining through the project?

The knowledge gap that we want to address with this project is how to make these energy communities become a reality and make them sustainable in time, which includes a sustainable legal scheme, economic scheme, etc. No one solution fits all but we hope the demonstrators in AURORA will inspire others to adopt similar approaches. We will also investigate how to incentivize the participation of citizens and changes in behaviour that reduce energy consumption. Last not but not least, with the knowledge gained from the project, we will better understand how the energy transition scenarios are impacted by social perspectives. 

Where are the demosites?

There are five demostes in AURORA: Aarhus University in Denmark, Évora University in Portugal, Forest of Dean District Council in the United Kingdom, the University of Ljubljana in Slovenia, and the Technical University of Madrid in Spain. 

Why are the demonstrators mostly universities?

Particularly young people and marginalised groups will be addressed in the project. The idea behind the project is to attract the interest of young people, who are more open to experimenting with apps and definitively committed to initiatives to fight against climate change, and who in the short term will become independent economically, and will make informed energy decisions because of their experience in AURORA project. 

I am interested in learning more about my local energy community, where can I find the information?

You find more detailed information about each demosite in the Demosites section. There you can also find contacts of the local energy communities. 

I am not from one of the demosites, can I still get involved in the project and how?

Of course. There are multiple ways to be involved in the project, e.g., becoming an observer. If you would like to know more about it, drop an email to, and we would be glad to discuss how the energy communities can be replicated in your area. 

Where can I find more information about citizen science and citizen science projects?

In Europe you can gain an overview on citizen science by contacting the European Citizen Science Association (ECSA) who are based in Berlin Germany. Further information about citizen science projects can be found at the EU Citizen Science website.  Globally you can learn about citizen science from the Citizen Science Global Partnership (CSGP) who are based in Vienna Austria.

Is citizen science relevant to the work of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and efforts to tackle the major environmental challenges of our time, Climate Change, Biodiversity Loss and Pollution?

Yes and increasingly UNEP are working with the global citizen science programme to develop best practice and share it on the world stage through platforms such as the World Environment Situation Room (WESR) where AURORA is now working to ensure citizen science data can be used by the UN in assessing our progress in tackling these global environmental challenges. A new citizen science portal is being prepared on the WESR. In addition, UNESCO has adopted a recommendation on Open Science in which citizen science is an important component. All of this means that if you take part in AURORA the data you help generate will be shared with the UN and you will be making a contribution to finding global solutions to the most pressing environmental challenges of our time.

Any further questions?

Let us know and we will add them to our FAQ.

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