After successfully testing a RadoNorm citizen science network in 4 pilot countries (France, Hungary, Ireland and Norway), RadoNorm serves as a prominent citizen science incubator across Europe, by supporting 6 citizen science initiatives focused on radon testing and mitigation in Italy, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain.
The role of citizen science in enhancing radiation protection practices has become increasingly significant, with the RadoNorm project at the forefront of this transformative movement. RadoNorm acts as a citizen science incubator, facilitating the development of multiple projects in radon priority areas. It fosters a collaborative network of citizen science initiatives across European countries, revolutionising radon awareness, testing, and mitigation strategies. The primary objective is to enable citizens and radon experts to collaborate on projects aimed at increasing radon measurement and mitigation actions. To achieve this goal, four pilot citizen science projects were developed and tested in France, Hungary, Ireland and Norway. These pilot initiatives help to support the creation of a network of citizen science projects in different European countries.
RadoNorm researchers organised an expert consultation at the start of RadoNorm in September 2020 to investigate the potential of citizen science for effective radon measurement and mitigations, in co-operation with SHARE and IAEA and as part of the RICOMET2020 conference. You can watch the recording here.
RadoNorm researchers published an article on “Evaluation of citizen science contributions to radon research” in the Journal of Environmental Radioactivity in 2021. The paper can be downloaded from the RadoNorm website: https://www.radonorm.eu/publications/scientific-papers/.
In November 2022, RadoNorm opened a call to launch citizen science initiatives, inviting interested parties such as local communities, schools, NGOs, universities, and social civil groups to apply for funding to conduct radon-related projects for a six-month duration. Nineteen projects were submitted and evaluated based on four criteria: overall concept, implementation, impact, and team expertise. Six projects were selected for funding, including OCRA in Italy, AHSRadon Hunt in Poland, RadAR in Portugal, RadonGPS in Slovakia, RadoNorm-SLO in Slovenia and RADOHOW in Spain. These projects make use of different citizen science approaches and will focus on indoor radon measurements, with one project also exploring radon concentrations in tap water and water sold for drinking in spa resorts.
RadoNorm citizen science network in radon testing and mitigation
OCRA – Italy: Citizen Observatory of Radon (Osservatorio Cittadino sul Radon)
The goal of OCRA is to reduce radon levels through measurement of exposure and increased awareness of radon risks and mitigation measures in houses and workplaces through citizen science activities Abbadia San Salvatore, one of the most radon-affected municipalities in Italy. To achieve this goal, OCRA will measure indoor radon exposure in 300 places including 260 homes, 20 rooms in 5 school buildings (including 1 nursery) and 20 offices/workplaces with passive radon detectors over a three-month period. Additionally, an interactive map of exposure for the entire municipality will be developed. Through this initiative, the project seeks to provide a supportive environment for building positive relationships between citizens and local authorities.
The project will kick-start with a public event in September 2023 to present OCRA and to call citizens to engage in the citizen science activities. The project will be publicly presented in four schools and four school monitoring committees created in each school, totalling 16 citizen science teachers (approximately 240 students will be directly involved and an indirect involvement of about 900 students). The teachers will engage students in radon sampling, data processing and results dissemination, increasing students’ awareness of radon risk mitigation and citizen science.
The project team will organise a number of training events for citizen scientists to share guidelines on how to install radon samplers; gather information through an extensive questionnaire; and interpret data and upload it on the radon map. Citizens will be continuously updated through emailing about steps and news during the three months of radon sampling. WhatsApp and Facebook will also be used to keep citizens involved and motivated. Results of the project will be presented at a public event, where a radon expert will also share mitigation strategies. A video will be produced to disseminate the project and to promote replication in other municipalities.
OCRA is led by staff of Source International (SI), an Italian NGO supporting communities in environmental monitoring of air, water, soil, food quality and biomonitoring in critical areas.
AHSRadon Hunt – Poland: Akademeia High School Radon Hunt
The main objective of the AHSRadon Hunt is to assess the need to reduce radon concentration levels in Warsaw city and the Silesia region in Poland by conducting indoor radon concentration in school buildings, houses, underground mines and tourist routes as well as comparing radon in tap water in different regions with radon in radon water sold for drinking in spa resorts. The project seeks to improve science curriculum in high schools to include radon education as this is virtually non-existent. To achieve these objectives, the project will directly engage 15 Akademeia High school (AHS) students as citizen scientists to:
- conduct measurements including in students’ homes and those of peers, as part of a school extracurricular project (i.e. personal development scheme);
- invite people from the local communities to measure (passive, via CR39);
- record the trainings, initial measurements, final field work, and data analysis for the purpose of sharing knowledge with other teenagers;
- use social media to share the project’s activities and experiences with peers including iGCSE/A-level Physics students around the world. The students will become agents of change, showing also that science is a process, not a ready-made product.
The project will be rolled out through a series of activities, starting from November 2023. First, the promotors will present the project to year 11/12 natural sciences students at the AHS after which students can opt to join the project. Subsequently, student citizen scientists will present the project to the entire school during a general assembly and also to the local communities. Participating students will then receive appropriate training by radiation specialists to enable them to conduct their own measurements in various locations, combining active and passive dosimetry techniques. About 300 students of the school will be indirectly involved in the project.
The project is led by three physics teachers at the Akademeia High School (AHS), with affiliation to the Warsaw University of Technology and two others with expertise in radon research.
RadAR – Portugal: Students as key players in radon management
RadAR aims to engage 60 high school students from 3 schools in Portugal, to empower them to create and implement a local communication strategy that encourages the local community to measure their dwellings and to take action to reduce indoor radon exposure in case of high concentration levels. To achieve these aims, RaDAR will: 1) gather information of radon concentration in 300 dwellings in a poorly characterised Portuguese district; 2) develop dissemination materials about radon management, including a video created by students; and 3) produce a document with guidelines on how to implement a local communication strategy, to be used and/or adapted to other municipalities.
The project will kick-start in September 2023 with meetings with the students of the selected class (9th grade or higher) in 3 high schools (2 in Portalegre and 1 in Ponte de Sor) to present the project. Student citizen scientists will:
- have the freedom to define strategies to communicate to both scholar and local communities, in order to maximise their participation in a radon survey;
- create and disseminate information about radon;
- engage the population to participate in a radon survey, through measuring radon levels in their dwellings and participating in RadAR events including answering a questionnaire to assess their knowledge on radon;
- evaluate the results from the survey and communicate their assessment to the communities;
- create communication tools about radon remediation strategies.
RadAR intends to provide step by step and “real time” information about the project and its phases to all citizen science participants and interested audience in order to promote their interest and engagement. It will utilise targeted messaging to local groups and local NGOs via social networks through a dedicated RadAR webpage that will be integrated in the Portuguese Environment Agency (APA) website.
RadAR is led by a team of researchers at the Instituto Superior Técnico (IST), University of Lisbon and experts from the Portuguese Environment Agency (APA) with extensive expertise in radon, indoor air quality and citizen science projects.
RadonGPS – Slovakia : How future building professionals can help remove barriers for citizens to take radon remedial measures.
The aim of RadonGPS is to compare short-term (2-weeks) and long-term (3-month) indoor radon measurements in dwellings in the municipalities around the town of Banská Bystrica in Slovakia and to engage students of secondary construction schools (as future building professionals) to design tailor-made mitigation measures for owners of dwellings with high radon concentration. The idea is to foster cooperation between citizens interested in radon measurement in dwellings and future building professionals (students) in finding answers to citizens FAQs related to radon remedial measures and eventually create a freely accessible database of radon remediation projects. To achieve the aims of RadonGPS, about 50 citizen scientists will be engaged to actively participate in gathering data from measurements, data analysis, and in the design of tailor-made radon remediation projects in cooperation with experts from the Faculty of Civil Engineering at the Slovak University of Technology in Bratislava.
RadonGPS will hold two kick-off meetings in September 2023, that will include the recruitment of citizen scientists among all stakeholders. Citizen scientists will participate in the project by taking measurements, engaging in workshops, and holding online or in person communications with experts. A competition will be organised for future building professionals (students) to design tailor-made radon remediation projects for citizens. Winners of the first three best projects will have the opportunity to visit a company that provides radon remedial measures in dwellings. In addition, a platform will be created on the website of the NGO NatuRadon for discussions about radon, including indoor radon measurements techniques, suggestions for radon remedial measures and their realisation, and any other implementation of practical solutions. Citizen scientists will be asked to use their social media for the dissemination of project results and their experiences. Dissemination of the project in cooperation with stakeholders will be organised in the framework of European Researchers´ Night in Banská Bystrica where NatuRadon NGO is headquartered.
RadonGPS is led by a team with expertise in radon measurement, radiation protection and radon questionnaires from NatuRadon NGO and the Faculty of Civil Engineering at the Slovak University of Technology in Bratislava.
RadoNorm-SLO – Slovenia: Citizen Science as support to increasing radon testing and mitigation in Bela krajina, Slovenia
The objective of RadoNorm-SLO is to assess how active participation in a radon monitoring campaign could change participants’ behavior and increase mitigation rates. Hence, the project will examine the relationship between radon awareness, outcomes of measurements, and mitigation of homes in the Bela krajina region in Slovenia (municipalities of Črnomelj, Metlika, and Semič). To achieve this aim, about fifty citizens will be recruited through a local Adult Education Centre, Zavod za izobraževanje in kulturo Črnomelj, ZIK Črnomelj (where citizens are taking different education courses), to co-create research activities and conduct indoor radon measurements in their homes. These citizens will also receive information on radon, related risks and mitigation. The data generated from radon measurements will be presented on a regional map.
The project will kick-start in October 2023 with an introductory workshop at ZIK, where citizens’ interests and concerns will be identified and transformed into research questions. Other purposes of the workshop include: getting to know citizens’ background on radon and motivating them to take part in the project. Advertisements on the ZIK website, social media platforms and in the local media will also be used to attract citizen scientists. Citizen scientists will answer questionnaires regarding their living conditions, habits (e.g., where they spend most of their time, if they ventilate), and radon risk perception at the start and end of the project. They will also conduct radon measurements in their homes with passive solid-state nuclear track detectors (SSNTDs), and active continuous devices. In case of high radon values, they will analyse their living habits. They will also analyse their indoor air quality and ventilation efficiency through CO2, PM2.5 and PM-10 measurements.
In the course of the project, the team will organise two lectures: The first will include a free discussion on the health aspects of radon and local family physicians will be invited to this event. The second will be an online lecture on mitigation strategies. Citizen scientists will also take part in mitigation field courses where they will have a chance to discuss and learn radon mitigation principles with an experienced radon mitigation expert.
RadoNorm-SLO is led by a team of experts with knowledge on radon measurements, radon national surveys and participatory-based environmental projects and radon mitigation.
RADOHOW – Spain: Radon Doses in Homes vs Workplace
RADOHOW seeks to engage citizens, particularly 50 families, to measure and compare the levels of radon exposure at work versus at home in 5 areas in Spain, namely Galicia, Cantabria, Salamanca, Zaragoza and Madrid using extreme citizen science methodology. RADOHOW will target workplaces with less ventilation such as caves, spas, water treatment, and underground workplaces. A total of 50 trace and 30 continuous radon meters will be used for the measurements. The project team will develop guidelines for citizen scientists on how to curate the sensors as well as dissemination materials including 2 leaflets, 1 roll-up, and 5 infographics (1 per area). Furthermore, a project portal will be created in which all the information related with the project will be published, including the timeline, the status of the project, the call for participation, the output of the co-creation workshops, and the gathered data in csv format. The communication plan will focus on both traditional and social media with the help of citizen scientists in order to guarantee continuous communication between citizen scientists and researchers.
The project will begin in September 2023 by developing a stakeholder mapping in each of the 5 selected pilot areas to identify key stakeholders. An open call for citizen scientists will be launched in collaboration with relevant stakeholders. Citizen scientists for each pilot will then be engaged to:
- co-design workshop with all stakeholders, including citizens, to define the exact area of study and the pilot methodology;
- distribute and place 10 trace radon meters (5 in homes and 5 in workplaces);
- distribute and place 3 continuous meters for both situations, per pilot;
- participate in a final workshop to explain the results of the project and co-define next steps.
RADOHOW is led by a team of experts from the Radon Group at the Cantabria University and Ibercivis Foundation, a not-for-profit foundation devoted to citizen science in Spain.
PILOT CITIZEN SCIENCE PROJECTS
Ireland Pilot Citizen Science project
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in Ireland and Wexford libraries have a loan scheme for digital radon monitors. As part of the RadoNorm project, Wexford libraries, the Healthy Wexford group and researchers from RadoNorm have contacted citizens within the community who having borrowed a digital monitor or carried out a three month test, found high levels of radon in their homes and have not yet remediated and invited them to become citizen scientists. They can do this by taking part in a pilot project to co-design and test a Do It Yourself (DIY) remediation toolkit. Interested citizens will:
- Take part in a workshop to co-design the DIY toolkit which includes information on remediation options (explanatory video) and professional advice on remediation tailored to their house type,
- Test the DIY toolkit in their homes,
- After testing the toolkit, provide feedback on how it can be improved and carry out a follow up three-month test in their home.
The Do It Yourself (DIY) video to reduce radon developed by EPA Ireland in the framework of RadoNorm is available here.
France Pilot Citizen Science project
The project was born by considering the low diagnostic/remediation rate after radon measurement in homes and the lack of diagnostic/remediation professionals in France. An on-line self-evaluation tool (V.1) was developed in the framework of the Jurat-Bat project, to help identify potential origins of radon in private buildings and recommend appropriate remediation action depending on the characteristics of the building. This citizen science project was an opportunity for citizens and radon/building experts to test the tool, identify improvements and co-create an effective and user-friendly self-evaluation tool (V.2), also bringing citizen’s common knowledge and perception in the tool. The project included also the development of a protocol aiming to compare the radon diagnosis performed by the self-evaluation tool with a human expert with 1-2 participants. CEPN developed the protocol and facilitated the meetings with the citizens which took place between May and July 2022. Attracting participants to the project proved extremely challenging. The results of the project are currently being analysed.
Norway Pilot Citizen Science project
Norway Pilot Citizen Science project takes place in Gjøvik municipality in collaboration with the intermunicipal public service company Miljørettet helsevern IKS . The pilot project started with an open workshop at the local library on 31st August, where citizens were invited to discuss the barriers to remediation and decide what the scope of the project will be. The main identified barriers by citizens included availability of measurement tools and lack of information with regard to simple mitigation options among other aspects. Therefore, the citizen science pilot project in Norway is launching a measurement campaign with free measurements made available for up to 100 local residents at the same time as citizens and experts will work together to develop an information package about different mitigation options. After the measurement period is finished, another open workshop will be organized with the focus on mitigation.
Further information available at: nmbu.no/radon (in Norwegian)
Hungary Pilot Citizen Science project
The aim of the RadoNorm pilot citizen science project in Hungary is to test whether it is feasible to develop a toolkit that consists of several low-cost sensors, that is suitable for measuring several air quality and radiation components. In the first step of our study, workshops will be organised for secondary school students of 16 to 18 years old in two high schools in Budapest (ELTE Radnóti Miklós Gyakorló Általános Iskola és Gimnázium and Budai Ciszterci Szent Imre Gimnázium). Interested students are invited to become citizen scientists. They will develop the toolkit and test it through a series of short-term individual measurements at different locations in school and at participants’ homes. The results will be interpreted in cooperation with the researchers. The project will include an interdisciplinary component, as students will also develop the technical documentation of the toolkit in easy-to-understand English, in collaboration with students of design and communication, who will accompany the development and testing process.
At least three workshops will be organised in each institution: one at the beginning, one in the middle and one at the end of the project. However, the lead partner will meet with teachers every week to follow up the citizen science project and will decide whether more workshops are needed.
OPEN CALL FOR CITIZEN SCIENCE PROJECTS
SECTION: OPEN CALL FOR CITIZEN SCIENCE PROJECTS
RadoNorm is looking to fund and support citizen science initiatives related to radon testing or radon mitigation in radon prone areas. RadoNorm is seeking to partner with:
- New citizen science projects on radon looking for support, financial and otherwise, to grow and become sustainable;
- Communities interested in co-designing research into radon;
- Organisations in the public and private sectors exploring the use of citizen science in their work related to radon measurements and/or radon remediation.
RadoNorm will provide funding for a six-month project, alongside dedicated activities, resources and tools to set up and run the project. You will have the chance work together with RadoNorm researchers and professionals to tailor the support you need to achieve your goals.
The call opened on the European Radon Day 7 November 2022 and has closed on 17 February 2023. Two webinars were organised: the first on 7th November and the second on 17th January 2023 to help potential applicants to prepare their proposals. The general presentation of the second webinar is available here and the Norwegian case study presentation is available here.
RadoNorm partners are not eligible to apply for a citizen science project, but they can help external organisations from the consortium (e.g. universities, local authorities, schools, civic groups, etc) to apply for a project.
Check the guide for applicants and FAQs document here.
Check the document “RadoNorm citizen science overview”
18 applications are currently being reviewed.