National Open Science Awards 2023 for Urban Rat Research and Migratory Bird Mobile App

From left to right Tuomas Aivelo, Otso Ovaskainen, Ossi Nokelainen and Jemal Tahir.

Tuomas Aivelo and the Migratory Birds Spring project were awarded at the Open Science and Research Winter Days on 8.11.

Tuomas Aivelo from the University of Helsinki has been awarded the 2023 National Open Science Award. The National Open Science Award is presented annually to a person or research group who has brought positive publicity to open science through their research and/or teaching or who has otherwise promoted the Finnish open science culture or some aspect of open science. 

Aivelo leads the Helsinki City Rats project, which uses citizen science methods and multidisciplinarity, and participates in the University of Oulu-based research project CitiRats, funded by the Academy of Finland (2020-2024). The prize juryjury stressed that the projects have enabled many schoolchildren and high school students to participate in and learn about scientific research.

- As the role of knowledge in society continues to grow, it is vital for the functioning of democracy that all members of society have the opportunity to produce, evaluate and use knowledge about their local environment. Our rat research focuses on these often overlooked groups, such as children, young people and rats, says Aivelo.

The Champion of Open Science Award was given to the Migratory Birds Spring mobile application and research project, developed jointly by the University of Jyväskylä, Yle and CSC. The prize is awarded annually to those whose work enables open scientific practices in Finland and who have set an example and supported others through their own work. 

The Migratory Birds Spring app combines artificial intelligence and citizen science. In spring 2023, the mobile app, which identifies bird sightings, received more than six million bird sightings from users across Finland. Almost any smartphone contains suitable sensors for collecting survey data with the app. The use of artificial intelligence to identify birdssightings ensures the quality of the sightings, regardless of the user's level of bird knowledge. Ease of use and security of the application will contribute to digital citizen science development in a responsible way. 

The awards were presented at the Open Science and Research Winter Conference on 8 November 2023 at the University of Eastern Finland's Kuopio campus. The recipients are selected annually from a shortlist of candidates by the steering group of the National Open Science and Research Coordination. The prizes are coordinated by the Federation of Finnish Learned Societies (TSV) with funding from the Ministry of Education and Culture.

Picture: TSV

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