MICS brings together a transdisciplinary team to address a scientific and policy priority area where citizen science has the potential to promote a paradigm shift. Nature-based solutions (NBSs) are actions to protect, sustainably manage and restore natural or modified ecosystems that address societal challenges and provide human well-being. NBSs have increasingly become policy and planning objectives, but major knowledge gaps in NBSs science have hindered their implementation and acceptance. This is largely due to a lack of locally specific information about the influence of: climate, location, condition and management on NBS function and impact. Furthermore, the sustainability of NBSs often depends on the perceptions and needs of stakeholders, including user groups, local communities, conservation bodies, farmers, land managers, policy makers and practitioners.
Due to their systemic complexity and embedding in local context, NBSs offer a unique potential for citizen science to make a major contribution. The MICS project will support NBS research by developing strategies and tools to evaluate impacts on science and society resulting from the integration of citizen science. These tools will foster citizen science approaches that increase both scientific knowledge, and how scientific evidence is taken up by communities and policy makers.
MICS will use novel impact-assessment metrics and instruments that measure costs and benefits of citizen science in relation to the NBSs, with particular attention in the domains of society; democracy; the economy; NBS science, and citizen scientists. These instruments will be grounded in a comprehensive conceptual framework and integrated into an open platform following rigorous validation in key pilot sites along a West-East EU axis. This will test the applicability of the MICS impact-assessment tools in regions with differing opportunities and constraints for NBSs, and with different levels of citizen science uptake.