Partnership will develop a new tool for citizen science

Posted on 27th June 2012

Researchers at the European Centre have partnered with Cornish company Sea Communications to develop a pioneering new tool to capture information from the public about their local natural environment.

The project has been funded by Exeter University’s Open Innovation Fund and will allow both researchers and Sea Communications to expand their ability to analyse large amounts of data – gathered directly from public participation.

The team are planning to develop an interactive tool that will allow participants to report and map information that relates to their health, wellbeing and crucially, the type and quality of their surrounding environment. The study will incorporate methods commonly used in ‘citizen science’ and other environmental engagement programmes.

Previous research has suggested that there is a positive relationship between the natural environment and human health, but little is known about how the quality of the environment can influence this relationship. Dr Sahran Higgins and Dr Rebecca Lovell will heading up the project and hope that the results of this initial study will help to develop our understanding in the area. Dr Higgins said,

“It’s fantastic to be working with Sea Communications on this project, which we’re hoping will provide us with the tools to understand how the quality of people’s environment can impact their health and wellbeing. We hope to use this study as a base to further our knowledge in the area of environment and health, and to start to unpick how the way we manage our surroundings can affect our quality of life.”

Sea Communications is an award winning design, communications and social innovation company based in Penryn, Cornwall. It has established relationships with businesses, charities, local authorities, government organisations and communities, and aims to design services and develop ideas and approaches to tackle some of the UK’s toughest challenges such as deprivation in communities, environmental engagement and transformation of public services.

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