Renewed Funding Opens Three More Years Of Citizen Science in Belize

Impactful community research in rural Belize will continue for another three years thanks to renewed funding from the National Science Foundation.

The $465,000 grant supports fully funded research experiences for eight undergraduate students and two K-12 teachers each year. The team will perform drone-mapping and citizen science to mitigate flooding and litter in Hopkins Village and other coastal communities. Joining UCF’s Citizen Science GIS (led by Associate Professor Timothy Hawthorne, Ph.D.) are teams from George Mason University, the Smithsonian Caribbean Coral Reef Ecosystem program and University of Belize.

“There is a lot of great science we’re competing with out there, so to receive this funding for the second time around is incredibly exciting,” said Hawthorne.

The next step is an intensive virtual research course over the summer of 2021 to learn mapping and drone techniques and data visualization approaches for use in future fieldwork. Hawthorne anticipates field research with community scientists in Belize to resume in early 2022.

“It isn’t often that NSF projects like this get renewed,” Hawthorne notes. “We are incredibly fortunate to have been recognized for the impact we’ve made and to be allowed to continue to do so.”

Applications are now open and can be found on the Citizen Science GIS webpage. The priority deadline is April 9, 2021. Accepted applicants will receive a research stipend, funding for conference and industry trips and fully funded fieldwork expenses for a future trip to Belize.

“An internationally focused program like this can be a transformative experience. This is where science and society connect with geospatial technologies,” said Hawthorne.

The research transcends multiple disciplines beyond sociology and GIS mapping; Hawthorne encourages students and teachers of all fields to apply.

To apply and learn more about the Citizen Science GIS NSF REU/RET Site, visit:


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