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OU plays role in making space research a public affair

The Open University and European partner institutions are creating a way to open up science research to all to get involved. This will include citizen science projects among other initiatives.

The European Science Cluster of Astronomy & Particle Physics ESFRI Research Infrastructures (ESCAPE) will launch its first phase in early 2019, as part of the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC). EOSC is designed to unlock data and software to the public, to reach a wider audience than just the professional community. The 16 million euro project will be Europe’s virtual environment for researchers to store, manage, analyse and re-use data for research, innovation and educational purposes. ESCAPE will address critical questions of open science, with a focus on astronomy and accelerator-driven particle physics.

The Open University will be designing citizen science crowdsourcing experiments for the programme, using machine learning to accelerate the volunteer classifications. The Open University has a strong track record in citizen science and making science accessible through The Open STEM Laboratories, as well as through its citizen science leadership in the previous ASTERICS EU project for multi-messenger astronomy and astroparticle physics. The OU will also be building in educational resources into the ESCAPE citizen science experiments, capitalising on its expertise and experience in education and learning journeys.

Stephen Serjeant, OU Professor of Astronomy in the School of Physical Sciences, is the leader of one of the six¬†ESCAPE work packages. He commented: “So many scientific disciplines are facing serious data challenges. It’s not just the sheer data avalanche, but it’s also making all this data easily findable, accessible, interoperable and re-usable. The vision of ESCAPE is to create an open research environment where Europe’s giant astronomy and particle physics facilities can share and reuse their data and software. And this open research environment is open to the public too, so to make it as easy as possible for people to participate, we’re creating citizen science crowdsourcing experiments, so everyone can make a genuine and important contribution to scientific discovery on some of the most important telescopes and particle accelerators and beamlines in the world.”

Find out more

Discover free courses on Astronomy and Space at OpenLearn

Read the full press release on ESCAPE

About Author

Hannah is part of the Media Relations Team at The Open University, working with the Faculty of Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies. With experience both agency and in-house, Hannah has worked on campaigns for a number of large corporate companies and brands, including RBS, NatWest, Travelodge, Audible, AA and the Royal Academy of Dance. She has completed a Masters in Publishing Studies from Oxford Brookes and is currently studying towards a DipHE in Computer, IT and Design. In her free time she enjoys photography, reading and going to the theatre.

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