Mosquito Alert was awarded an honorable mention in the first edition of the European Union Citizen Science Prize, which took place on May 22nd at the Ars Electronica headquarters in Linz, Austria. This new prize is part of the European Union’s IMPETUS project, which aims to strengthen and support citizen science in the European Research Area.
With this award, the European Union aims to recognize outstanding achievements in advancing knowledge through empowering citizens. The first edition of the prize has evaluated citizen science initiatives that promote change, expand knowledge, and demonstrate innovative processes of open science that challenge existing practices while addressing social, cultural, environmental, educational, and political progress.
The jury has emphasized that “Effective methods of targeting mosquitoes that transmit pathogens can save lives and protect the health of millions. Mosquito Alert brings citizen science and digital technologies to encourage cost-effective and sustainable vector management, fostering intersectoral communities, and adding operational tools that work locally while offering global solutions. This open innovation initiative has advanced the knowledge of mosquitoes as disease vectors by mapping population distributions, discovering species of concern in new regions, and constantly adjusting the fitness for use of our citizen science methodologies.”
Mosquito Alert promotes the surveillance and study of disease-carrying mosquito population dynamics through its application available on Android and iOS. The app allows anyone to report the presence of a mosquito by submitting a photo and also report any mosquito bites they have received. To date, over 42,700 citizens have contributed to Mosquito Alert, resulting in a total of 116,542 mosquito reports and bite records.
All mosquito photographs are validated and classified by an international team of entomologists, including those who form the Digital Entomology National Network (ReNED) in Spain and the the Mosquito Alert Digital Entomology Network in the rest of Europe, which has been an essential component of Mosquito Alert since 2014. All reports validated by experts can be accessed and downloaded from the project’s public map.
Mosquito Alert is a multidisciplinary project driven by various institutions and entities, including the Center for Advanced Studies of Blanes (CEAB-CSIC), Pompeu Fabra University (UPF), the Center for Ecological Research and Applied Forestry (CREAF), the Catalan Institute for Research and Advanced Studies (ICREA), and the Xatrac association. The coordinating team consists of the two co-directors, Frederic Bartumeus and John Palmer, as well as Aitana Oltra, Alex Richter-Boix, Roger Eritja, Agustí Escobar, Joan Garriga, Živko Južnič-Zonta, Monika Falk, Enric Pou, Elisa Mora, Isis Sanpera, Simone Mariani, Santi Escartín, and Ariadna Peña.
The First Prize, endowed with 60,000 euros, has been awarded to the Belgian initiative ISALA: Citizen-science map of the vaginal microbiome. The Diversity and Collaboration Award of 20,000 euros has been given to the Urban Belonging Project from Copenhagen, and the Digital Communities Award goes to The Restart Project: The Right to Repair and Reuse your electronics.
The complete list of winners and honorable mentions can be found on the Ars Electronica website.