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Ayat Abourashed


Track: 7, Citizens and surveillance with focus on high schools



prof. dr. Eric van Gorp, prof. dr. Frederique Bartumeus




Erasmus Medical Centre, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas Barcelona

Description PhD project

With a need for large amounts of data, researchers see citizen participation as an advantageous method to collect invaluable data quickly and to educate the public on scientific knowledge. The ideas of citizen science are rooted in the educational theory of participatory action research (PAR), thus, incorporating citizen science plans into school curriculums to increase student interest, curiosity and knowledge in scientific fields. Currently, educational programs mainly exist across the fields of ecology, environmental health, genomics and genetics, and microbiology. There is a clear gap in programs that focus on infectious disease surveillance using a one health approach. For the Track 7 One Health PACT project (Citizens and surveillance with focus on high schools), we will fill the gap by creating citizen science programs at schools across the Netherlands and Spain. The programs will utilize the Mosquito Alert application in which teachers and students will both be trained on how to use the application and how to report mosquitos and breeding sites. In addition, students will work on other projects related the application and the data produced. Data collected from the project will be used to analyse the impact of school and educational programs in the context of citizen science research programs and, more specifically, in mosquito surveillance models (data quality, accuracy, and biases). 

Research questions / objectives

  1. To design and implement school programs in Spain and The Netherlands
  2. To evaluate the role and contribution of the school program to ongoing mosquito surveillance citizen science projects (Mosquito Alert, Muggenradar)

Tags matching with the contents of track 21


  • Fieldwork

    • Mosquito trapping: I will have students create their own mosquito traps and collect mosquitoes for other PhD tracks.
    • Public health surveillance: I will combine the data collected using Mosquito Alert with traveler data (Track 6) to analyze trends.

    Citizen science

    • Citizen science: I will create a program where students will collect data regarding mosquitoes and breeding sites using Mosquito Alert. Students may collect other data for other PhD projects.


    • Species distribution: I will use the data collected via Mosquito Alert to create predictive models for certain mosquito species distributions.
    • Epidemiological modelling: I will combine the data collected using Mosquito Alert with traveller data (Track 6) to create predictive epidemiological models.


    • Literature review: I will complete a literature review to determine what citizen science programs (focusing on life sciences) have been implemented at schools.


  • Vector:

    • Vector abundance: I will use the data collected via Mosquito Alert to illustrate vector abundances in the Netherlands and Spain.


    • Improved surveillance( response surveillance): I will use Mosquito Alert as a surveillance system and will evaluate the effectiveness of citizen science to collect surveillance data.


  • Species:

    • Human: I will work on health education and promotion with students to raise awareness for arboviruses and virus prevention and preparedness.
    • Mosquito: I will work on mosquito surveillance.


  • Virus:

    • Virus (general): I will work on some virus surveillance systems to combine with Mosquito Alert.