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The Citizen Science To Achieve Coproduction at Scale (C-STACS) study will apply citizen science approaches to mental health. Funded by UKRI, C-STACS runs from 2021 to 2023 and will be a first-in-field innovative study aiming to change the landscape of mental health research.


The aims are:

1. To synthesise published evidence about citizen science in mental health
2. To capture the perspectives of key stakeholder groups (citizen science academics / contributors, mental health service users, informal carers and professionals)
3. To develop a conceptual framework for citizen science in mental health
4. To consolidate the project consortium to achieve representation from diverse and wide-ranging communities
5. To generate new knowledge from citizens about what a recovery-supporting mental health system looks like
6. To investigate the self-management approaches which citizens living with mental health problems actually find useful in their lives
7. To disseminate the key findings to relevant audiences, including contributing citizens


The interdisciplinary study will for the first time bring together expertise from (a) citizen science and other participatory methods, (b) Patient and Public Involvement and other engagement approaches in mental health, and (c) Human-Computer Interaction research.

We will develop a conceptual framework for citizen science in mental health, through a systematic review and consulting experts. We will then use citizen science methods in two projects. In the first project we will develop a series of anonymised story beginnings, describing the varied experiences of individuals living with mental health problems. We will use the Zooniverse Project Builder function to create and pilot-test the project, and then encourage mass participation to create innovative solutions to improving the mental health system. In the second project we will also use mass participation, this time to develop and rate self-management approaches for personal helpfulness as Zooniverse project.

Who is involved?

The C-STACS Research Fellow is Olamide Todowede, who is the first point of contact for the study. The study is led by multidisciplinary researchers at the University of Nottingham (Doreen Boyd, Mike Slade (PI), Stuart Moran, Stefan Rennick-Egglestone). The study is co-led with the Centre for Mental Health, ImROC, KCL Service User Research Enterprise (SURE), McPin Foundation, Mental Elf, National Survivor User Network (NSUN), NHS Confederation, Nottingham BRC Mental Health and Technology Involvement Team, Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, Social Spider community interest company and Taraki.

Expert consultation

We are currently looking for people to take part in an expert consultation.

This involves a 60-minute individual interview with people in five stakeholder groups to find out their views about citizen science in mental health.

The stakeholder groups are:

• academic experts who have led a citizen science project
• contributors who have taken part in a citizen science project
• people living with mental health problems
• informal carers for a person living with mental health problems
• mental health workers


We published a systematic review developing best practice guidelines for using citizen science in mental health (here).