Freshwater and citizen science: A research hackathon

This Earthwatch 'research hackathon' will bring together researchers and practitioners to focus on a global freshwater quality citizen science generated dataset in order to build new collaborative networks, scientific outputs and further understanding of the opportunities and challenges to citizen science and freshwater ecology.

Citizen Science Special Interest Group

Are you an final year PhD or early to mid-career freshwater scientist with an interest in citizen science? If so, we would love to invite you to join the Earthwatch research hackathon from the evening of the 25 to the afternoon of 27 May 2017 at Oxford Brookes University, Harcourt Campus.

The research hackathon (two nights accommodation and food provided) will bring together 25 participants (researchers and practitioners) to focus on a global citizen science dataset. FreshWater Watch is a citizen science generated dataset currently comprised of 17,000+ data from over 35 cities. In each city, participants test water quality in rivers, streams, ponds, lakes and wetlands as well as making qualitative observations of point and diffuse pollutions sources, bankside and instream vegetation complexity, flows and levels. The research hackathon is a great opportunity to get hands on with an unprecedented, collaborative citizen science dataset and should appeal to anyone who is considering volunteer participation as a part of their research activities. During the hackathon participants will work in small teams to explore a research avenue and couple the FreshWater Watch dataset with other accessible datasets (e.g. remote-sensed data, biodiversity, demographics).

Research hackathons (or Derbies) regularly result in publishable research or network expansion. In addition, FreshWater Watch is frequently being used to compliment regulatory monitoring and the hackathon is likely to shed new light on how this emerging tool can be better employed.

The objectives of the hackathon are to:

  • Highlight the opportunities and challenges to freshwater ecology and citizen science
  • Carry out a preliminary analysis that can lead to a peer-reviewed publication
  • Provide a networking opportunity for early to mid-career freshwater ecologists and practitioners

Hackathon outline:
Further detail will be made available closer to the date however the event will be broadly as follows. During the retreat attendees will 1) be introduced to FreshWater Watch, 2) undertake a collective exercise to identify key third-party datasets and topical questions (e.g. Urban stream ecology – Wenger et al, 2009), 3) form small teams to focus in on a particular issue to present preliminary findings on the final day.


Please contact Ian Thornhill with any queries.

Citizen Science Special Interest Group