National Science Foundation Grant Enables Arizona State University to Develop SciStarter 2.0 to Advance Citizen Science


The National Science Foundation has just awarded a $300,000 Pathways grant to Arizona State University’s Center for Engagement and Training in Science and Society for the development of SciStarter 2.0. The grant will advance the growing field of citizen and community science, which enables everyday people to contribute to authentic research.

SciStarter 2.0 Creates an Identity Management System for Citizen Scientists

SciStarter, which aggregates more than 1000 citizen science projects on a single website, is a research affiliate of Arizona State University. SciStarter 2.0 will go beyond the current ability to include:

  • An identity management system and open integrated registration for participants to more easily engage in multiple citizen science projects, even across platforms and disciplines
  • GIS implementation so would-be participants can find opportunities near them
  • Ability for participants to track their projects, participation, and contributions to science
  • Participants can create privacy-protected profiles and find people and projects of interest to them

Researchers and project owners who use the open, integrated registration, GIS, and online dashboard will be able to better understand and respond to the needs and interests of citizen scientists. In the first 18 months of this project, SciStarter and ASU will partner with diverse citizen science projects to pilot and test the new tools, including: Project Budburst, CoCoRaHS, eMammal,, Dragonfly Swarm Watch, Global Community Monitoring, Your Wildlife, Wisconsin Water Quality Monitoring Network, and Globe at Night. The long-term result will be highly improved and efficient recruitment and retainment of hundreds of thousands of participants who will have the opportunity to organize and showcase their contributions, manage their data, and form new online/offline communities.

“Our goal with SciStarter 2.0 is to enhance, diversify and validate the participant’s involvement in citizen science,” said Darlene Cavalier, founder of SciStarter, Professor of Practice at Arizona State University and Principal Investigator. “In addition, SciStarter will build on existing relationships, prior research, grant-supported programs, and technologies to not only support participation in citizen science but to also provide a resource to enable inquiry into fundamental questions about why and how the public engages in participatory research.”

“We are excited about the capacity that this new project brings to ASU and to CENTSS as we move forward in promoting new ways for Americans to engage with science and research, ” added Ira Bennett, co-director of CENTSS at ASU.

SciStarter 2.0 Leadership

In addition to an external team of developers, designers and evaluators, the leadership team for SciStarter 2.0 brings significant citizen science experience to the project. The team includes:

Darlene Cavalier, founder of SciStarter and a Professor of Practice at Arizona State

University’s Consortium of Science, Policy and Outcomes.  She is also a founding partner of ECAST (Expert and Citizen Assessment of Science and Technology) working on participatory technology assessment methods to better inform science policymaking.

Dr. Caren Cooper, Director of Research Partnerships at SciStarter and co-chair of the publications committee of the Citizen Science Association and co-editor-in-chief of Citizen Science: Theory and Practice. She is the Assistant Director of the Biodiversity Research Lab at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences.

Ira Bennett, co-director of CENTSS at Arizona State University. His research is focused on bringing new types of “science meets society” content to science centers and museums. He has led an extensive collaboration between the Center for Nanotechnology in Society at Arizona State University (CNS-ASU) and the Nanoscale Informal Science Education Network (NISENet).

Steve Gano, Technology Director, who worked with the American Museum of Natural History where his technical and user interface designs for the museum’s web sites won many awards.

Categories: Citizen Science, SciStarter News

About the Author

Arvind Suresh

Arvind Suresh

Arvind Suresh is science communicator and a former laboratory biologist, he has a Master’s degree in Cell Biology and Molecular Physiology from the University of Pittsburgh. He enjoys reading, teaching, talking and writing science. Connect with him on Twitter @suresh_arvind.