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Catia Prandi: “Citizen science represents a way to actively engage citizens in research activities”

Catia Prandi: “Citizen science represents a way to actively engage citizens in research activities”

Catia Prandi is an assistant professor at the University of Bologna, Italy, where she also got the Ph.D. in Computer Science (2016). As a post-doc researcher, she spent almost two years in Madeira, but her heart was still with her hometown, Bologna, and in particular, with the typical amazing food of her area: tortellini, lasagne, ragu, tagliatelle, and pizza (of course)! She loves eating as much as she hates cooking, she was a professional runner, and she loves going for long walks and runs in the mountains. She is the Onboarding Chair of the INDCOR COST Action.

How did you know about the COST Actions and why did you join INDCOR?
Valentina Nisi, Professor at Técnico (University of Lisbon) and MC Member for Portugal, suggested to me to join the action. She knows me since 2014 when I spent three months in M-ITI as a visiting PhD student under her supervision and mentoring. Since then, we have a strong collaboration on different topics of interest to INDCOR. She was right, after checking the action and its working groups, I found INDCOR very innovating and interesting, and I contacted the MC Chair and I was lucky enough to be able to join the action!

How would you like to help INDCOR with your research?
Complex question! In practice, I am a member of the GW1 (Design and Development) and I am trying to participate in all the GW meetings, bringing my experience into the discussion. By the end of the action, I also hope to be able to contribute in more direct ways, maybe proposing or be a member of a specific Task Force that are great tools to perform specific actions inside INDCOR.

What does it means to be the INDCOR Onboarding Chair?
Being the INDCOR Onboarding Chair is a very important role, it means to be the first interface of INDCOR. Basically, I receive and collect the interests and profiles of people who would like to join the action. Then, if the profile could nicely fit the action, in accordance with the MC Chair, I send all the needed information, officially welcoming the new member of the INDCOR community.

What is your opinion about this task so far?
I started this role at the beginning of December, last year. During these three months, I onboarded around 20 new members, who contacted me through the website or were introduced by other members, a really interesting number that makes clear the community interest in the action! All the profiles are incredibly interesting for INDCOR, covering several areas and approaching the issues from different points of view.

Which ones are your fields of interest?
Computer science by background, my research interests are related to HCI and how to design and develop interactive digital systems and services to increase and foster communities’ awareness about specific social issues, such as inclusion, sustainability, and biodiversity. Right now, I am also investigating how data visualization can be put to good use in citizen science as a tool for awareness.

How can help data visualization and citizen science with the narration of complex issues?
This is a really interesting question! Data visualization already proved to be a powerful tool to convey information and to make knowledge easy to access. On the other hand, citizen science represents a way to actively engage citizens in research activities, making them more aware of the addressed issues. If we design tools to augmented citizen science with data visualization and storytelling, I believe the potential to convey complex issues to the public could become enormous!

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Catia Prandi