Citizen science explores the aftermaths of the COVID-19 lockdown

A nationwide study aims to understand the emotional effects of the lockdown on Swiss residents and what steps they are taking to cope with it. Thanks to an app developed at Idiap, this study will be able to gather the opinions of people over time.

Being required to stay at home most of the day and night is prompting people across Switzerland to change their daily routines. Which changes are the most difficult? Which routines will they keep once the lockdown is over? Which people are suffering most from this unprecedented situation? In order to better understand how Swiss residents are coping with the lockdown, researchers from Idiap, EPFL and UNIL have created a multilingual online survey. The survey results will be used to identify the inequalities that are arising in the face of the pandemic and to develop coordinated and collaborative strategies to avoid them in the future, should a similar situation arise.

Citizens and researchers working together

At the end of the survey, participants can indicate if they agree to use the Civique mobile app – available on iPhone and Android. The app will enable them to report on how they are adapting week after week by sending in comments, experiences with family or friends, and photos of individual spaces serving as home office, gym and school at the same time. The Civique platform is the result of long-term work conducted at Idiap by Prof. Daniel Gatica-Perez, head of the Social Computing group and scientific platform leader, Olivier Bornet, head of the Development group, and Philip Abbet, senior R&D engineer.

“Our aim is to actively engage citizens in research”, explains Gatica-Perez. “It is a unique opportunity for citizen science, not only to enhance our understanding of the local situation, but also to improve our response to these challenges.” To better capture the multiple dimensions of the ongoing situation, this cross-disciplinary initiative involves researchers from various horizons, ranging from urban sociology, human-environment systems, psychology, and social computing.


More information

- Corona citizen science initiative
- Survey: Your lockdown experience in Switzerland
- Civique app: Mobile data for local causes
- Idiap’s Social Computing research group