RadoNorm Citizen Science Incubator

Tanja Perko (SI), Meritxell Martell (ES), Warren John (DE)

The European research project RadoNorm addresses the critical issue of radon, a dangerous indoor air pollutant causing over 21,000 annual lung cancer cases in EU member states. RadoNorm has set up a Citizen Science Incubator involving both, citizens and scientists from diverse scientific disciplines, from social sciences to dosimetry and medicine, to contribute to research related to  testing and mitigation of radon in high-risk areas. The aim is to initiate many grassroots citizen science projects in radon risk areas around Europe.

The Incubator started with 4 pilot projects and is currently engaging nearly 800 citizen scientists across Europe. In France, citizens improved an on-line self-evaluation guide for radon diagnostic; in Ireland householders developed a Do-It-Yourself (DIY) mitigation toolkit; in Hungary, students invented a tool to measure various gaseous air pollutants in-doors and radon and in Norway citizens developed guidelines for DIY radon remediation. Transitioning from pilot to grassroots projects, the Incubator supports community-specific research questions in 6 countries. In Italy, citizens and students measure radon levels, analyse data and create an interactive radon map. Polish high school students collect and analyse samples of soil, water and air, contributing to both education and research. In Portugal students run a monitoring campaign in an inland region of the country, poorly characterised in terms of radon measurements. In Slovakia, citizens, secondary construction school, faculty of civil engineering and an NGO investigate building mitigation strategies, while Slovenia conducts research on the effectiveness of different mitigation techniques and Spain targets both workplaces and homes for radon exposure reduction.

The RadoNorm Incubator continues to engage citizens and academics contributing to advancing scientific knowledge in radon-related health risks and ultimately lowering lung cancer cases.


This project has received funding from the Euratom research and training programme 2019–2020 RadoNorm under grant agreement No 900009. Our gratitude goes to the coordinators of the citizen science projects and citizens scientists, among others, C. Schieber (FR), V. Groma (HU), A. Dowdall (IE), Y. Tomkiv (NO), C. Antunes & N. Canha (PT), F. Bianchini, L. Grassi & C. Masetti (IT), A. Ďurecová & F. Ďurec (SK), K. König & D. Kocman (SI), A. Peiro, L. Quindós & F. Sanz (ES) and D. Aksamit (PL). Sincere thanks to M. A. Hoedoafia from SCK CEN (BE) for her assistance in the citizen science incubator.

Tanja Perko (SI/BE), senior researcher at SCK CEN, PhD in Social sciences (University of Antwerp), MSc in political studies and bachelor in journalism (University of Ljubljana). She coordinated several European projects in the field of communication and radiological risk management. Currently, she is coordinating social science research in the RadoNorm project (2020-2025). She is vice-chair of the SHARE platform. Her areas of expertise include risk communication and perception, health communication, mass media, stakeholder involvement and participation, societal aspects of emergency management and public opinion.

Meritxell Martell (ES), founder and director of Merience, a consultancy company focused on environmental risk governance; PhD in Environmental Sciences from the University of East Anglia (UEA, Norwich, United Kingdom). She has over 20 years of experience as an international consultant, working for different international organisations. She is currently leading the task on RadoNorm Citizen Science Incubator. She is the secretary of the SHARE platform on Social Sciences and Humanities in Ionising Radiation Research

Warren John (DE), scientific officer at the Federal Office for Radiation Protection (BfS) in Germany. He obtained his PhD in biochemistry, and then entered the field of radioecology, investigating migration of radionuclides in soil and plants. He is currently the RadoNorm project coordinator.

The H2020 project RadoNorm addresses radon, a significant indoor air pollutant causing over 21,000 lung cancer cases annually in the EU. With approximately 600 citizens and 57 research organisations involved, it pioneers a Citizen Science Incubator to tackle radon risks. With citizen science projects across Italy, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Spain, RadoNorm employs diverse approaches to improve radon measurements and mitigation, yielding innovative dosimeters, mitigation techniques and heightened awareness. The collaboration brilliantly bridges research, community engagement, and advocacy, contributing to long-term policy objectives aiming to reduce lung cancer cases.