CCS Communities and Civic Engagement

Community Science and Civic Participation with Public Lab


The Center for Community and Citizen Science partnered with Public Lab from 2016 to 2019 to see what we can learn about a global community of individuals bridging science learning, civic engagement, and environmental advocacy.

Our specific projects (read more on these below) all contributed to a broader set of questions about the institutional landscape of citizen science, community science, and the communities contributing to open science and technology solutions to environmental problems. In that sense, our partnership was an exploration of the roles that different organizations can play in advancing research, best practices, and values such as empowerment, democratization, equity, and justice.

Read posts below to learn more about our past and current projects. 

About Public Lab

The Public Laboratory for Open Technology and Science (Public Lab) is a unique community, anchored by a nonprofit organization, building a model of community science that encourages civic participation. With 5,500 participants and 20 chapters around the world co-developing tools and collecting valid scientific data individually and in organized groups, Public Lab is a fully realized “community of practice” made of experts and novices working together online and in-person as citizens with purposeful engagement in the scientific enterprise to redress specific challenges.


Public Lab and UC Davis partner explore community science and civic engagement

The Center for Community and Citizen Science and Public Lab have received funding from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation to explore a shared interest in discovering what effect participating in community science has on civic engagement. The research team – Shannon Dosemagen, Liz Barry, Gretchen Gehrke from Public Lab, and Dr.


Understanding what builds and maintains a community

A strong evaluation program is key to the long term growth and success of every nonprofit organization, but is especially important for Public Lab because they focus not just on breadth of engagement, but also depth of engagement, and ownership of results. This requires a more nuanced understanding of who is participating, how, and why.

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