Open Air Laboratories (OPAL)
THE OPEN AIR LABORATORIES (OPAL) NETWORK
Formed in 2007, OPAL is a UK-wide citizen science initiative that allows anyone to tale part in scientific research and connect with nature, whatever their age, background or level of ability.
OPAL has received grants of over £17.4m from the Big Lottery Fund and further grants from Heritage Lottery Fund and Defra. The partnership has comprised 22 different organisations with an interest in environmental research. OPAL has Defra, the Environment Agency, FERA, and Forest Research as associate partners and is affiliated to the Living With Environmental Change (LWEC) programme.
So far, OPAL has engaged more than one million members of the public, helping them to carry out citizen science investigations outside in the field; OPAL websites have had more than 2.5m visitors; and the launch of OPAL products have generated significant media attention, including coverage on the BBC One Show, Channel 4 News, Radio 4, and across national and local print media. So far, over 70,000 data submissions have been received from members of the public for citizen science activities, representing hundreds of thousands of observations of biodiversity. The research generated from OPAL’s citizen science and public engagement in research has resulted in publications in academic journals of note.
Originally funded in England only, in 2014 OPAL extended to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
A list of previous and current partners is available here:http://opalexplorenature.org/PartnersandProjects
A timeline of key events in the programme is available here:http://opalexplorenature.org/aboutOPAL
A list of OPAL publications is available here: http://www.imperial.ac.uk/opal/publications