We have a long history of delivering impact through citizen science programs. We've put together a few examples to show you some of this great work.
CSIRO Energise App
The CSIRO Energise app was developed in 2018 to allow everyday Australians to contribute to our national energy research. More than 60 surveys were conducted to generate new insights into household energy consumption - ranging from appliance usage and energy bills, through to the uptake of new technologies.
CSIRO Energise has helped us to better understand how households across the country use, generate and interact with energy. The data provided by citizen scientists has played a valuable role in our research for a more secure, reliable and sustainable energy future for all Australians.
Survey snapshots summarising some key discoveries, research findings and insights are accessible via the CSIRO Energise showcase.
Radio Galaxy Zoo
Radio Galaxy Zoo joined Zooniverse in December 2013, asking citizen scientists to analyse radio sky images from the Very Large Array in New Mexico, CSIRO’s Australia Telescope Compact Array, and infrared images from NASA’s Spitzer and WISE Space Telescopes which maps the stars in galaxies. The main idea was to ask citizen scientists to match the radio plasma (radio images) with the galaxy (seen in infrared) that they thought the plasma is originating from. The radio plasma typically come from the process of star formation or the result of supermassive black hole growth within galaxies.
Volunteers became cosmic explorers, helping to build a more complete picture of black holes at various stages of evolution and their origin. With the help of more than 12,000 volunteers, over 2.29 million classifications were made –equivalent to more than 122 years of 40-hours-per-week classifications by a single astronomer. What is even more valuable is that each patch of sky was classified by multiple individuals and so we could produce quantified classifications (as opposed to subjective classifications which were only been visually inspected once).
It was hard work, but the work led to some major breakthroughs, such as discovering a giant cluster of galaxies, doubling the number of a rare radio galaxy types - hybrid morphology radio galaxies (HyMoRS). Due to our large sky coverage, we were even able to study whether there were any large-scale alignment of radio jets on the scales of the cosmic web -- the scaffolding within which galaxies in the Universe reside. All this from datasets that were observed as early as the 1990s!
Moving forward Radio Galaxy Zoo will be developing advanced tools to help debug the data pipeline to a finer degree and determine the limitations from the dataset. These tools will also enable the classification of a larger population of radio galaxies automatically, this would leave citizen scientists with a greater efficiency for discoveries.
TeachWild was a national program connecting regional and remote teachers, students and Shell employees through experiential learning aimed at tackling the global issue of marine debris. It enabled school groups from years 5–10 to join scientists and Earthwatch educators on field trips. During the citizen science program, TeachWild inspired a generation of young scientists to change how they make their decisions as future leaders.
In just three short years, the TeachWild partnership produced some remarkable achievements: over 170 beaches were surveyed around the coast of Australia (equating to a survey every 100 km) by CSIRO scientists and students to develop Australia’s first national risk assessment for marine debris; 5700 students partnered with leading researchers to understand the causes and effects of marine debris and contributed to the solution; 160 teachers and Shell employees worked in the field alongside scientists conducting cutting edge research into the fate of plastics on our marine wildlife; and a body of free education resources, materials and tools are continually being used by educators and government agencies across the country to engage students in the issue of marine debris.