Citizen Science for Water Management and Sustainable Development

The aim of this course is for participants to gain a basic understanding of the role and relevance of citizen science projects for water management and sustainable development, and to provide participants with an overview of the main concepts, best practices, and tools for designing and implementing water-related citizen science projects.

Apply now for

OKP and MSP Scholarship

If your are eligible, consider to apply for an Orange Knowledge or MENA Scholarship Programme. Interested? Apply for admission to this course by 25 September 2022.

For whom?

This course is designed for water professionals (particularly from the Global South) from all areas of water management and governance (water resources management, water services, as well as flood and drought risk management), as well as development agencies and other funders with a focus on water and sustainable development.


The prerequisites for this course are basic knowledge of water management and sustainable development.

Dates, Fee, ECTS

Start: 15 May 2023
End: 26 May 2023
ECTS credit points: 3
Deadline IHE application: 14 April 2023 - 23.59 (CET)
Course fee: € 3500

VAT is not included in the course fee

Learning objectives

Upon completion, the participant should be able to:

  • Differentiate between forms of citizen science for distinct purposes, especially for water-related contexts.
  • Outline basic steps and best practices for citizen science project planning and implementation.
  • Describe citizen science projects as socio-technical systems and the role of culture, internal, and external communication in achieving goals and managing expectations.
  • Describe the potential and challenges of citizen science for water management and sustainable development.

Course content

Citizen science projects and initiatives often extend beyond ‘mere’ data collection to other steps of the scientific method, to public and community participation in decision making.  As such, citizen science has the potential to trigger shifts in the role of citizens and communities in environmental management and related decision making, with significant (potential and realised) impacts on existing water management, governance processes and sustainable development. The course seeks to prepare participants for their future roles as stakeholders, active participants or project managers of in different ‘shapes and sizes’ of citizen science initiatives with distinct purposes.

Bringing together expertise from the science of citizen science, political science, data science and hydroinformatics as well as various water science disciplines (ecosystems management, water quality, flood risk management, groundwater management, etc.), this interdisciplinary course will cover the following topics:

  • Types of citizen science projects: characteristics and typologies of citizen science projects
  • Stages in a citizen science project
  • Citizen science projects as socio-technical systems: stakeholder roles, teams, organization and technological tools
  • From design to implementation: best practice principles, tools and techniques for (co-) designing and implementing water-related citizen science projects, incl. data management and Open Science principles
  • Communication, culture and retaining multi-stakeholder interests and motivations in water management

The short course is designed as problem-based active learning. Participants will be encouraged to share their own experience with citizen science, whether as participants or coordinators. Case studies of existing water-related citizen science projects will also provide participants with opportunities to learn how generic concepts apply in the specific examples. During the course, participants will work in teams, each on a specific water-related citizen science project. At distinct moments during the course, each team will involve other course participants as volunteers in the different stages of their citizen science project.


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