Motivation for participation in citizen science projects in Switzerland

Both citizen science and participatory research rely on motivated citizens who voluntarily take part in scientific research projects. A new study has analysed the Swiss population's motivation to take part in these projects.


The research questions at the centre of this study were:

  • What is the current state of Swiss citizens’ motivation and willingness to actively take part in participatory research?
  • Under which conditions would people be prepared to volunteer their time and energy for participatory research projects?


Our study looked at residents in Switzerland, aged 18 years and up. We conducted 1,394 interviews either online or, for households without internet access, through survey letters. Our interviewees were from all language regions in Switzerland. This survey took place between 2 October 2020 and 20 December 2020.


One of our key findings is that 48% of our respondents can envision taking part in a participatory research project. The majority (83%) would invest at least a few hours a month. People who reported being interested were mainly younger people, people with higher education, or people with a keen interest in scientific topics.


This study was conducted by Dr. Alexander Seifert, University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland (Fachhochschule Nordwestschweiz) in collaboration with the Participatory Science Academy and Prof. Dr. Mike Schäfer, Department of Communication and Media Research at the University of Zurich. Please visit the project website for more information.