INCREASE – Intelligent Collections of Food Legumes Genetic Resources for European Agrofood Systems

Registrations now closed – 4,055 registered participants for Citizen Science Experiment

Last week, on 15th March 2022, the deadline for registrations for the INCREASE Citizen Science Experiment (CSE) closed. The INCREASE CSE Team is happy and proud to announce that overall more than 4,000 participants (4,055 to be precise) from all over Europe have registered for the experiment – this is a great number and even more than last year! Italy is the country with the strongest representation, followed by Spain and Germany. At the same time, we achieved our goal to reach a much stronger coverage in many areas that were underrepresented in the last CSE round, which will benefit the success of our experiment.
Please have a look at our map below to see where your fellow citizen scientists come from! And then continue reading if you are curious to know more about the next steps.


So, where do we go from here?

1. App update
The app has been adapted for the needs of round 2 and has also been restructured. The new update is now available for iOS and for Android. The first step is to go to the respective app store and update the App. Under the point “My CSE” you will now find all needed things for conducting your experiment. Important: Only once the Standard Material Transfer Agreement (SMTA) has been activated for you, you are able to see this menu!

2. Standard Material Transfer Agreement (SMTA) acceptance
The INCREASE team has already decided which citizens get which bean varieties. However, as there are so many participants, we will not be able to have the seed bags filled and activate the SMTA for all new participants at the same time. We will inform you by email as soon as your individual SMTA is activated (we will start with south Europe). Only now the menu “My CSE” is visible and you will find the point “confirm data” where you will need to confirm your personal data and shipping information to ensure that you receive the seeds at the correct address. After some time, when your data is elaborated from our server, the point SMTA is visible and you can accept the SMTA. Read more about the SMTA here:

3. Dispatch of seeds
In Ancona, Italy, many hardworking hands assemble the seed envelopes for all participants. As soon as you accept the SMTA, you will receive them by post. Please check your mailbox regularly for an A4 size envelope from Italy. Mail delivery can sometimes take a while and unfortunately, in rare cases, something may get lost on the way. Unfortunately, this is out of our hands. For cost reasons, we cannot use courier but have to rely on the regular postal service.

4. Seed validation
When you hold the seeds in your hands you need to do the validation step in the CSA App by placing the beans on the provided color checker and take a picture from each bean variety.

5. Choose skill level
In the new “My CSE” section, it is now possible to determine your skill level. You can choose between basic, medium and expert level with increasing number of bean traits to score. Note, you can change the level at any time during the experiment.
To get an overview of the different levels and what traits they include, please have a look here:

6. Sowing
Once you have made your choice for the skill level, a new point “Sowing” is appearing in the “My CSE” menu. Here you can determine the sowing layout and inform us about your sowing conditions (like in 2021) and the sowing date of each plot.

7. Bean trait scoring (phenotyping)
The traits are organised in submenus to have a better overview. The submenus are: emergence, plant growth, flowering, pod ripening, harvesting, post harvest (pods), post harvest (seeds). The traits for each submenu are already visible on our website, please go to the ‘expert' level to see all traits:

Throughout the experiment, please check your emails regularly (also your spam folder, just in case), as we will inform you in detail about every step necessary.

With best wishes and a big thanks for your support,

The INCREASE Citizen Science Experiment Team