Sensing for Justice (SensJus)
Sensing for Justice

Italy

Sensing for Justice (SensJus)

2022 2022 Winner Project | Engage Science Engagement (Falling Walls Engage)

Evidence gathered by lay people through forms of citizen science are becoming more and more accurate, reliable and credible as the ‘civic sentinels’ performing environmental monitoring follow scientific protocols, seek advice from experts and confront their results with official measurements. This is a truly constructive form of ordinary people’s engagement with and in science.

However, the data collected via citizen science initiatives are often dismissed in official discussions. Such evidence could instead be a helpful resource to tackle institutional enforcement gaps as competent authorities may struggle to track all instances of contamination.

The ‘Sensing for Justice’ (SensJus) project exactly researches the potential of grassroots-driven environmental monitoring as a source of evidence to claim environmental justice, and as a tool for environmental conflicts’ mediation. SensJus aims to leverage this engagement potential of civic monitoring making the recipient institutions (including and in particular enforcement agencies and courts) more aware of this practice, and more open to embrace such data flows.

The combination between the legal dimension and a more hard-science topic such as citizen science, and the use of art and story-telling to complement the scientific inquiry makes the project very innovative and different from other projects in the field.

Anna Berti Suman is a Marie Skodowska-Curie Fellow and former Dutch Research Council Fellow at the European Commission Joint Research Centre. Through the project “SensJus”, Anna is performing research on the potential of civic monitoring as a source of evidence for environmental litigation and as a tool to foster environmental mediation.

After completing the legal practice and passing the qualifying examination, Anna is Qualified Barrister in environmental and climate law under the Bar Association of Rome, following cases at the Law Firm Dini-Saltalamacchia and at Systasis – Study Centre for the Management of Environmental Conflicts, Milan.

Anna obtained her PhD on May 8, 2020. Her PhD project aimed at investigating how Citizen Sensing, grassroots-driven monitoring initiatives based on sensor technology, influences the governance of environmental health risk and how the practice can be integrated with institutional models of risk governance through its social and policy uptake.