University of Zurich: Research Fascinates Non-Academics Too

Whether it’s collecting hydrological data or measuring biodiversity, there are a host of UZH projects where people with a thirst for knowledge can get involved – even if they don’t have an academic degree or university background. The Citizen Science Center Zurich, run jointly by UZH and ETH Zurich, has been developing and promoting citizen science projects together with the Participatory Science Academy since 2017.

First-ever Swiss-wide data
Citizen science is based on the idea that anyone can participate in research. But who might be willing to spend their time on participatory research projects, and under what conditions? To date there was no well-founded data available on the overall willingness of Swiss people to get involved in such research. “We wanted to fill this gap with a representative study to be able to identify our target groups even better,” explains Susanne Tönsmann, managing director of the Participatory Science Academy.

The study was developed by the Participatory Science Academy, the UZH Department of Communication and Media Research and the FHNW School of Social Work. A total of 1,394 people over the age of 18 in Switzerland were surveyed for the study.

The key findings include:


8% of respondents are familiar with the term “citizen science”, and 15% know the term “participatory research”.