Updated: Sep 22
Ask a colleague or friend about what makes a successful project and chances are you will hear: it's all about people. Not the technology developed or products sold, but people, those passionate individuals who join forces to make their vision a reality.
This is certainly the case in COMPAIR where, as a 15-strong international consortium, we envision cities and regions working in tandem with citizens - the greatest asset they have at their disposal - to more rapidly achieve climate neutrality and clean air for all.
A family photo taken during the meeting
The meeting in Sofia on 12-13 September 2023 was an excellent opportunity to reflect on this vision and see how our results and actions contribute to its realisation. Four main take-aways from the meeting are as follows.
Social: Reaching net zero requires all hands on deck, not just policy makers and industry, but the whole of civil society. COMPAIR is recruiting volunteers from lower socio-economic backgrounds, minorities, vulnerable groups, as well as those at risk of social exclusion, to ensure that benefits of citizen science are spread more equally among the different social groups, so that everyone can be part of the action towards a more sustainable future.
Data: COMPAIR is implementing a distant calibration approach that uses cloud services and data triangulation to make citizen science data policy-ready. We deliver open and standardised APIs including metadata to maximise data reuse in various data spaces.
Policy: Our citizen science activities have been used to implement parts of the Athen’s climate resilience and adaptation plan, to evaluate a new mobility plan in Berlin, to assess a school street and health-and-safe school routes in Flanders, a new bus route in Sofia, and to better integrate STEM education in Plovdiv.
Technology: COMPAIR is developing dashboards and mobile apps to help stakeholders make sense of the gathered data and allow them to make more informed decisions based on facts.
At the meeting we asked partners to reflect on stakeholder engagement, digital tools, and expected impact in the final year of the project. Here's what they had to say.
Why do people in Sofia want to join COMPAIR and participate in citizen science? What's in it for them?
"I think people are mostly excited when they hear about COMPAIR because they see there is an opportunity, they can do something about our planet, and by changing their behaviour they can save the planet." Antonia Shalamanova, Sofia Green
Why do we need another app when we already have so many apps? What is unique about COMPAIR's digital tools?
"What we do differently compared to other dashboards is that we have a capability to monitor the impact of a policy change. We capture information to do a comparative analysis before and after the change so as to better understand the impact." Gert Vervaet, Digital Vlaanderen
How do you feel about the progress so far? What is the vision for COMPAIR going forward?
"We've done well in two years. In the final year we'll create a lot of buzz and awareness around how cities and policy makers can make evidence-informed decisions based on the outcomes of our campaigns that use different sensors and engage diverse social groups." Lieven Raes, Digital Vlaanderen
We have a lot of things planned for the coming weeks and months. Specifically, we will be:
Launching new citizen science campaigns in our pilot cities, open to all members of the public
Updating existing apps (PMD, CO2 Calculator) and releasing new ones (DEVA, DEVD) to unlock the full potential of citizen science data
Running workshops at major European conferences and online, with the aim of sharing best practices and giving you a chance to preview our tools before they are shared with everyone else
Publishing case studies, policy briefs, and an online course to help others learn from our experience and launch their own own successful citizen science campaigns anywhere in Europe
Keep abreast of all these developments. Sign up to our updates or express interest in volunteering here.