22 May 2023

European Union Prize for Citizen Science

  • A total of 336 projects competed for this new award given by the European Union to citizen science initiatives whose social and political impact promotes the development of a plural, inclusive and sustainable society

  • YouCount won one of the 27 honorary mentions awarded by the jury

  • Orkestra participates in this European project together with the Department of Social Work of the University of Deusto

The H2020 project YouCount, in which Orkestra participates together with the Social Work Area of the University of Deusto, has been one of the 27 projects recognised with an honorary mention by the jury of the European Citizen Science Award.

The European Union and Ars Electronica have announced this morning, at a press conference, the results of this new award that aims to support and publicly recognise the best projects in the field of citizen science.

A total of 336 projects competed for this award, which recognises citizen science initiatives whose social and political impact promotes the development of a plural, inclusive and sustainable society. The 27 projects that received an honorary mention will have the privilege of participating in the annual Ars Electronica Festival for Art, Technology and Society, which brings together international experts from the arts and sciences in Austria.

In the case of YouCount, the jury noted that "the project addresses one of the most complex social challenges facing Europe: how to increase the social inclusion of young people”. Moreover, it does so by involving young citizen scientists as co-researchers in all phases of the research, from planning, website design and data analysis to dissemination activities. The jury appreciated the project's focus on the participation of young people, as they are often excluded from the democratisation processes of social science research.

Orkestra coordinates the work package on "Communication, Dissemination and Exploitation" of the project and has actively participated in the YouCount candidacy, so this honorary mention is an important recognition of the work carried out by the research team.

"What we have learned so far in YouCount allows us to guess the potential of social citizen science for the achievement of competitiveness at the service of inclusive and sustainable wellbeing, but it is necessary to continue generating learning processes through experimental projects to exploit the full potential of citizen science for the benefit of our society," said researcher Patricia Canto, project coordinator at Orkestra.

About YouCount

In Europe, the number of young people at risk of social exclusion is rising sharply and the need to develop knowledge and innovation to create more inclusive societies is becoming more pressing. 

This is precisely one of the main objectives of YouCount: to increase the social inclusion of young people in Europe and to co-create new knowledge about the factors that contribute to their participation in society and their sense of belonging. All this, through co-creative youth citizen social science, a methodological approach that involves citizens in the research process to jointly generate knowledge, thus bringing science and society closer together.

Since 2021, Orkestra and the Social Work area of the University of Deusto have been working with a group of young people in Gipuzkoa to gather and understand their views and experiences regarding social inclusion and their opportunities and difficulties in finding work. These are young people who arrived in Gipuzkoa as unaccompanied foreign minors and who, once they reach adulthood, find themselves outside the territory's protection system and may find themselves in a situation of vulnerability once they acquire the category of 'young person'.

The Loiola Etxea Association for social reintegration, Zabalduz Kooperatiba Elkartea and the Provincial Council of Gipuzkoa are also collaborating in the project to gain first-hand knowledge of the views of the young participants.