Citizen science projects
It is important for UNIS to share our knowledge about research in Svalbard. The AB department has used so-called citizen science approaches for several years. These are projects where non-scientists, regardless of background or knowledge, can participate in authentic research. This is also in line with the pedagogical development of active learning, where we focus on the fact that the learning outcome from active participation is far greater than listening to more theoretical lectures.
The project CRUISE#SCIENCE develops methods for research dissemination and active learning on board Hurtigruten’s circumnavigating expedition ships in Svalbard. Many of the guests have high expectations for activities, experiences and learning outcomes, and they get a unique impression of the nature and culture of the Svalbard archipelago. In our project, the guests are involved in authentic sampling of for example seawater quality and plankton communities. The samples are part of a time series conducted by UNIS. The research work is linked to practical demonstrations of equipment and methods, and to more theoretical lectures on board. The project aims to increase the understanding of research methodology, for example in the climate debate, by bridging the gap between science and ordinary people. Citizen science research is thus not only a way to increase knowledge and awareness of untouched nature in Svalbard, but also to reduce potential mistrust of scientific knowledge about climate changes and polar management. UNIS conducts 5-6 trips around Svalbard each summer, taking 200-300 samples and organize about 30 demonstrations and lectures. The evaluations show that the project provide added value for both Hurtigruten and UNIS. Collaboration between a scientific institution and the industry reduce the scientific footprints in our pristine areas, at the same time as polar research are disseminated through active involvement. More on this project (in Norwegian) here.