Nitrate sensors in participatory science

Building symmetrical citizen-researcher relationships: the CAPARSY program

Initiated in 2022, the Caparsy program is an interdisciplinary and participatory research that is part of the recovery of water quality in Brittany. The aim is to develop a methodology for measuring nitrate concentrations and interpreting the data so that each user can make this information meaningful according to his cognitive universe in an inclusive approach. These measurements are carried out by relatively easy-to-use, reliable sensors (compliance with a measurement protocol makes it possible to limit uncertainty to 10%), measuring nitrate concentrations in situ at low cost (less than one euro).

This research results from the meeting between hydrogeologists and sociologists from the Rennes Geosciences laboratories (UMR6118, CNRS/ Université de Rennes) and Espaces et Sociétés (ESO, UMR6590, CNRS / Institut Agro / Nantes Université / Université d'Angers / Université Rennes 2 / Université de  Rennes). According to the former, the diffusion of the sensor was, on the one hand, affected by the particular sensitivity of this information subject to binding standards and, on the other hand, the difficulty of mobilizing stakeholders concerned with water quality in the absence of a measurement methodology that allows each participant to meet its expectations while producing reliable data. For the latter, the challenge was twofold: to analyse the way in which different knowledge of natural environments are related to each other (empirical, scientific, normative, etc.) and to study the relationship that mobilized actors maintain with streams and natural environments through the meaning they give to the measurement and the data collected.

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The scientists involved (in bold: Géosciences Rennes)

Véronique van Tilbeurgh, Espaces et sociétés ; Laurent Longuevergne, Géosciences Rennes ; Marie Jo Menozzi, Ethnozzi ; Luc Aquilina, Alain Crave, Gérard Gruau, Géosciences Rennes ; Maryse Carmes, Dispositifs d’information et de communication à l’ère numérique (Dicen-IDF) ; Simon Dufour, Littoral, environnement, télédétection, géomatique (LETG, UMR6554, CNRS / Université Rennes 2) ; Anne Jaffrézic, UMR SAS ; Mélanie Congretel, Espaces et sociétés