Citizen Science Center Zurich

About Us

The Citizen Science Center Zurich (administratively “Competence Center — Citizen Science”) is a joint initiative of ETH Zurich and the University of Zurich. The Center aims at engaging academic scientists and the public in next-generation citizen science projects, tackling problems from fundamental physics to human health.

The Center provides the resources, expertise and technical know-how to researchers to develop, set up, and run citizen science projects, while maintaining the highest standards of data security. Switzerland has a deep tradition of participatory democracy and decision-making, and Citizen Science can be viewed in many ways as the application of direct democracy to the scientific process. Researchers at both UZH and ETHZ have a strong track record in citizen science, participatory research, and citizen science-related fields such as artificial intelligence, social science and the law. Combining these researchers’ expertise represents a unique opportunity for synergy.

Citizen Science, Zurich & the SDGs

Citizen Science complements traditional scientific expertise by engaging the general public in the scientific process, and provides new knowledge by supporting collaborative intelligence and co-creation. By facilitating scientific and community-based solutions, Citizen Science plays a key role in supporting the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the UN 2030 Agenda.

The Citizen Science Center Zurich aims at enabling researchers and citizens to create and conduct research collaborations that produce excellent science while supporting the SDGs.
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"Science is critical to help meet the challenges for sustainable development as it lays the foundation for new approaches, solutions and technologies to identify, clarify and tackle global challenges for the future."

Scientific Advisory Board of the UN Secretary‐General

In September 2015, world leaders at the United Nations committed to 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that by the year 2030 should help end extreme poverty, and fight inequality, injustice, and climate change, amongst other objectives. Success depends largely on the availability of relevant and timely data for decision-making and monitoring of progresses, and to keep governments accountable for their promises.

The role of science in supporting this global effort is evident, as success depends largely on the availability of data for assessments and monitoring of progresses (think about environmental changes). However, scientists alone cannot provide information at the necessary scale and resolution. As some of the most important data sets to help achieve the SDGs are local in nature, they can often be generated and collected by citizens.

Years of collaboration between scientists and citizens have proven the power of this partnership in collecting and analyzing data on many topics – ranging from biodiversity (Goal 15 - Life On Land), to water monitoring (Goal 6 – Clean Water and Sanitation) to protein folding and genomic projects (Goal 3 – Good Health and Well-Being).

The Citizen Science Center Zurich adheres to the following principles:


The Center provides the structure to develop and implement projects that reflect the highest standards possible in term of scientific rigor, data security, and ethics.


The Center aims at developing an active and productive participation at the different phases of the scientific research project, from funding allocation, topic selection, and research design, to execution, interpretation, and dissemination of results.


The Center adheres to the principles of open science (open access to data and publications) and operates in a fully transparent manner, ensuring that the public benefit from the work.


The development and maintenance of a community including both scientists and citizen scientists associated with the Center is vital. This ensures continuity in project support and knowledge dissemination.
Board of Directors

Avi Bernstein

Department of Informatics - University of Zurich

Mike Martin

Department of Psychology Gerontopsychology - University of Zurich

Michael Ristow

Department of Health Sciences and Technology - ETH Zurich

Kevin Schawinski

Department of Physics - ETH Zurich


Ernst Hafen

Department of Biology - ETH Zurich

Dirk Helbing

Department of Humanities, Social and Political Sciences - ETH Zurich

Effy Vayena

Department of Health Sciences and Technology - ETH Zurich


Marina Gagetti

Admin Assistant

Chris Gwilliams


Fanny Jones

Community Manager

Rosy Mondardini

Managing Director

Susanne Tönsmann

Project Manager