Crowd4SDG proposes three one-year cycles following a GEAR Methodology to iteratively develop and test new citizen science projects. Each GEAR cycle includes online coaching and in-person challenge-based innovation and is composed of 4 different phases: GATHER, EVALUATE, ACCELERATE AND REFINE. 

Each phase of the GEAR methodology filters participants’ fields by a factor of about five while helping the projects advance towards practical deployment. Recognizing that some deserving projects may not pass through the filter, Crowd4SDG will develop and provide a series of guidelines for running local Challenge Based Innovation Training events. It will also actively reach out to partners in maker spaces in Europe and around the world that can host these events, with technical support and guidance from the Crowd4SDG partners.

The CS projects developed in the three GEAR cycles of Crowd4SDG will aim to address Climate Action (SDG 13). However, each GEAR cycle will explore a specific sustainability dimension of climate preparedness in connection with other SDG: sustainable cities (SDG 11), women empowerment (SDG 5), and human rights (SDG 16).

Current GEAR cycle

The current gear cycle is on climate resilience and gender. We are currently in the Evaluate phase.


In this phase of GEAR, a call for CS projects through the O17 Challenge, on a specific SDG theme is launched and widely publicized, notably through related EU support actions such as EU-Citizen Science. This phase lasts ten weeks, including a two-week period where a committee selects a set of 50 participants from a pool of 250 applicants based on a series of objective criteria. 


In the second phase of GEAR, the selected participants take part in the O17 Challenge 5-week coaching programme, to develop their CS ideas in virtual teams towards compelling pitches. This phase aims to challenge participants with real-world constraints that their CS projects would face if deployed. A panel judges the pitches in the final week of the coaching programme.


In the third phase, between 10 and 20 participants, corresponding to 2-4 projects selected from the O17 Challenge, are chosen based on both the quality of their projects and specific soft skills demonstrated during the coaching sessions. They are invited to participate in a two-week intensive Challenge Based Innovationworkshop at CERN. Other participants are encouraged to develop their projects locally in satellite events held in parallel with the Challenge Based Innovation workshop at CERN, using similar methods.


In the final phase, two participants representing the most promising projects from the Accelerate phase are invited to present themselves during a two-day international event on SDGs held in Geneva or Paris. Representatives of various stakeholders (UN agencies, National Statistical Offices, academic CS experts, private sector, and NGO representatives) provide the projects with concrete feedback. In this phase, Crowd4SDG partners work with regional incubators for technology and social innovation to deliver the projects with substantial opportunities for subsequent development.