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Working and learning together

March 3rd, 2022 – We – Ria and Lieke – work within the New Technology lab of TOPFIT Citizenlab. Within our projects we work closely together with citizens (see also our previous blog). Besides the cooperation with citizens, we also have a lot of contact with colleagues. There are always colleagues to collaborate with or to learn from. Of course, we have regular consultations with each other, we speak to each other almost every day. We work together on the projects that are going on right now, and we decide who will take on which tasks. This is mainly done digitally, as we all work from home due to the corona pandemic.

In addition, we have monthly meetings with other researchers in the New Technology lab. During these meetings, we discuss the progress made and jointly consider subjects that require extra attention. For example, about what the next step in the research should be, whether we want to submit a contribution to a certain conference, or which subsidies we might apply for. Grants help to finance new research.

We also have weekly meetings with other researchers within the Citizenlab. These colleagues, working at the University of Twente, Saxion Hogeschool and ROC Twente, are all engaged in citizen science. Some work in their project with people with diabetes, others with informal caregivers, and still others with elderly people or the general population. Everyone has a different background, such as psychology, movement sciences, physiotherapy, philosophy, health sciences and design thinking.  At our weekly meetings, we keep each other informed of progress in the various projects, and celebrate our successes. An important part of these meetings is also to discuss issues that we encounter, so that we can learn from each other. Sometimes we focus on one problem that someone brings up, which we then all think about together to find a solution. For example, how to design meetings online. Or about where we see opportunities for starting new research. In addition, we sometimes choose to discuss one project extensively, so that we can all learn from what went well and what did not.

In the Citizenlab, we are all busy thinking about how citizen science can best be used for research into health and welfare. Of course, we can learn a lot about this from the work of others. That is why we also organise a reading club once a month. For this, we read a scientific article that someone found interesting beforehand. We then discuss this article together. One time, the article is about ways to safely collect data within projects; another time it is about the best ways to collaborate as researchers and citizens. And yet another time it is about working in a team with people from different backgrounds. The topics are very diverse, but all important for citizen science. Because we spend an hour discussing the topic of the article, we immediately think about how we can improve our own projects. This way, we stay up to date on of the latest developments and learn something new all the time!

These meetings all help to ensure that the projects run smoothly and that we make use of each other’s knowledge. Fortunately, there is often room for a pleasant chat, because that is also important in these times of working from home!