Author Archive

GAO cites ECAST: “Practices to Engage Citizens and Effectively Implement Federal Initiatives”

By October 14th, 2016 at 6:57 pm | Comment


The U.S. Government Accountability Office (U.S. GAO) is the investigative arm of Congress charged with examining matters relating to the receipt and payment of public funds.

Today, the GAO published a new report to advise how the federal government can better engage citizens. Expert and Citizen Assessment of Science and Technology (ECAST) is cited as one of seven effective practices.

ECAST was cofounded by the following institutional partners: Arizona State University, Loka Institute, Museum of Science, Woodrow Wilson Center for Scholars, SciStarter and Science Cheerleader.

Federal agencies are using “open innovation” tools to leverage the knowledge and skills of people outside government. Using dedicated websites and in-person outreach, agencies have worked with the public to rebuild communities after Hurricane Sandy, improve methods to find asteroids that could threaten the Earth, and reduce the amount of time required for highway construction projects.

We identified 7 practices that agencies can use to effectively engage the public when using open innovation tools. Example of Open Innovation Tools: NASA’s Asteroid Initiative In-Person Forum and Online Platform

Read full report.

Understanding the Rhythms of the Desert: Citizen Science, Committed Communities, Public Libraries and SciStarter

By October 6th, 2016 at 10:17 am | Comment

A guest post from the Superstition Area Land Trust (SALT) community in Apache Junction, AZ.

Understanding the Rhythms of the Desert: A Citizen Science and Lending Library Program 

Presented by: The Superstition Area Land Trust (SALT), SciStarter, Arizona State University’s School for the Future of Innovation in Society,, & The Apache Junction Public Library

SALT citizen science apache junctionThe Superstition Area Land Trust (SALT) is aware of the importance and need for credible scientific information to guide wise land use decisions and management.  SALT understands that communities and citizens who live, work and play on these lands can benefit from a greater understanding and appreciation of the scientific method of investigation and scientific information.  Citizens provided opportunities to participate in the practice of scientific study, data interpretation, and integration of results into decision making processes will develop a much greater appreciation of the many benefits science offers societies.  

SALT is forming a partnership with SciStarter, City of Apache Junction’s Public Library, Arizona State University and others to develop a citizen science program to allow the citizens of the region to become involved in the study of the components, interrelationships and rhythms of the natural world within which they live, work and play.  SciStarter is a unique organization dedicated to aiding citizens in finding, joining and contributing to science through more than 1600 formal and informal research projects and events (

The program will offer a menu of modules that will allow participants to take on small study segments in the beginning and add more as their interests and curiosities increase. This program is designed to include people of all ages, from all backgrounds and experiences that are interested in science and want to become more knowledgeable of and experienced in its practice.

The base program will offer two modules: 1) The El Nino; and 2) The Garden Roots.  The El Nino is part of and shares environmental data with scientists from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).  The Garden Roots program, offered by the University of Arizona, is designed to Evaluate environmental quality and the potential exposure to contaminants of concern (COC) near resource extraction and hazardous waste sites. It provides results to participants, families and others in order to influence community prevention practices and environmental decision-making.

The program is designed with simplicity and participant involvement in mind.  Most training is available online from SciStarter at and  Equipment will be provided at the Apache Junction Public Library via SciStarter and ASU’s new prototype Citizen Science Lending Library and with  support from Youth Learning as Citizen Environmental Scientists (   New SciStarter El Nino Citizen Science Kits have been created as part of this pilot program. Citizen Scientists can enter their data online with personal computers, smart phone apps, and/or computers at the library. We hope to have everything up and running by early November, 2016

If you’re interested in learning more, go to  and leave your name, email address and phone number and we will contact you with updates on the program, information on how to register, obtain training and get started as a Citizen Scientist.

Citizen Science Maker Summit at Arizona State University: Register this week

By October 3rd, 2016 at 9:20 am | Comment

Citizen Science Maker Summit


Do you run, or are you involved in, a citizen science project? Have you created, or would you like to create, a low-cost instrument that can be used for scientific research?

Then join us for the the ASU Citizen Science Maker Summit 2016  ,  a two-day event, hosted by Arizona State University in partnership with SciStarter, designed to explore the crossroads of citizen science and the maker movement. The summit is scheduled for October 26 (evening), 27 & 28, 2016 in downtown Chandler, Arizona at the ASU Chandler Innovation Center.

Brainstorm with representatives from the NIH, EPA, NASA and USGS as well as from private foundations, industry, and local communities.

Register this week!


The Illusion of Average: An Open Science Approach to Research

By September 26th, 2016 at 3:45 pm | Comment

The video of the 9/23 New Tools breakfast seminar, The Illusion of Average: An Open Science Approach to Research, is now available.

The Illusion of Average: An Open Science Approach to Research from SFIS @ ASU on Vimeo.

If you missed the first talk in the series, watch the full video here:

Please join Arizona State University’s Consortium for Science, Policy, & Outcomes for the conclusion of the Illusion of Average series on Friday, October 21. Eric Hekler (Arizona State University) will moderate a discussion between William Riley (National Institutes of Health) and Paul Tarini (Robert Wood Johnson Foundation) about establishing research portfolios to support research in an age of personalization. Learn more by visiting:

Categories: Citizen Science,Events

Citizen Science Maker Summit 2016

By September 23rd, 2016 at 12:47 am | Comment

ASU Citizen Science Maker Summit
The ASU Citizen Science Maker Summit 2016 is a two-day event, hosted by Arizona State University in partnership with SciStarter, designed to explore the crossroads of citizen science and the maker movement. The summit is scheduled for October 26 (evening), 27 & 28, 2016 in downtown Chandler, Arizona at the ASU Chandler Innovation Center.

Registration is now open with discounts before September 30.

Arizona State University is a thought leader in both the citizen science and maker movements. Through the SciStarter website (a research initiative of ASU), we host a collection of more than 1,600 citizen science projects and events. ASU also led the first university collaboration with the TechShop maker space. In 2014, ASU hosted the inaugural Maker Summit, focusing on the Maker movement in higher education. It attracted 200 attendees from around the country.

By bringing together our larger national network, the ASU Citizen Science Maker Summit seeks to promote cross-pollination, learning and future collaborations among makers, designers, scientists, citizen scientists, and higher education institutions in support of making and citizen science.

The ASU Citizen Science Maker Summit 2016 will facilitate the sharing of best practices and help jump-start opportunities for the citizen science and making communities to learn from each other. The event will include a combination of breakout sessions, skill-building workshops and networking events, as well as multiple keynote speakers and optional tours/activities.

Learn more about the speakers and the goals by visiting .