Dr Drew Hemment

Dr Drew Hemment

I’m passionate about the incredible things that happen when people come together to make change. I am inspired by the idea of a global citizens’ observatory.
GROW Project Lead & Chancellors Fellow

Location University of Edinburgh, Scotland


  • Very true Alan.

    Many of the people involved in GROW have been active in the politics of data and technology for many years.

    There are a number of ways we can work towards a more ethical and fair Internet.

    Part of the solution is the move towards bottom up networks, and decentralisation, so control does not sit with a small number of immensely wealthy...

  • The impacts of war are of course horrific – human and environmental.

    Interestingly, war can sometimes lead to the regeneration of ecosystems as people are displaced.

  • Lovely words David – I very much hope this project can be that and more, we certainly have enough wonderful people taking part!

  • There is still lots you can do Lynn. Sign up for the next online course, and join the Living Soils mission, with experiments in companion planting. Plus there are many activities and the online forum on the GROW website.

  • This year there are two "GROW Missions". The Changing Climate mission takes place in nine focus areas in Europe, called GROW Places, and the Living Soils mission can be done by anyone, anywhere. The first of those is the one where we are deploying a large number of soil sensors. It is focused in a limited number of areas because a high density of measurements...

  • Hola Luis, lamento que no haya un GROW Place cerca de ti

  • Welcome Willie, GIY is a great initiative

  • Thanks Joël, I hope you find some interesting connections to BOINC.

  • We do love to get geeky with garden data!

  • Gracias a ti

  • Maker spaces and DIY technology are places where people can experiment with new ideas and solutions to big challenges.

    Thanks for sharing your experiences, both at COP21 and in Totnes.

    There are a few maker spaces involved in GROW, including the Barelona Fab Lab, and also at the Cloughjordan Ecovillage.

  • The Raspberry Pi is a great example of what we discuss here. That is a brilliant project that is making open technology accessible to many people. I have worked with the Raspberry Pi Foundation before, a great UK-based charity with the ambition to "put the power of digital making into the hands of people all over the world."

    There have been a lot of open...

  • Citizens' observatories are a relatively new idea, GROW is among the first generation to attempt to be fully operational. The earlier ones go back to 2012, but were mainly smaller scale, and testing the idea. Citizen science of course has a much longer history, as we discussed in the previous step.

  • Agreed – this is a central challenge for citizen science and citizens' observatories. We need to ensure the quality and validity of the data.

    Another issue is the trust and confidence in citizen science among people who have been trained only to accept results from professional scientists.

    We need to address both the scientific validity and the more...

  • I'd love to know how you vary your planting between the two sites?

  • Then GROW is for you, Maureen

  • Hello again Cara

    During the course we will learn more from some brilliant people working on GROW who are really pushing forward the frontiers of Earth observation and sensing!

  • Wonderful – welcome to GROW Davor!

  • Hi Justine, welcome to GROW.

    It will be great to hear from you as the course progresses, we hope to create a conversation between growers from around the world, and scientists from different disciplines.

    I am sure everyone will be very interested to learn from you, and to hear the view from Zambia.

  • Welcome back Caroline.

    Delighted to hear you enjoyed the last course so much.

    You will be introduced to fascinating science topics on the course, that are vital to understanding our soils and the changing climate.

    You will enjoy the course that follows also, as part of the Living Soils mission, when we will be introducing experiments on regenerative...

  • Thanks Lloyd, this is very much our mission in GROW – we believe that when people come together around a common cause they have achieve real change.

  • Welcome back Mandeep. I hope your knowledge, and your allotment, both benefit from your participation in GROW!

  • Hi Grahame. You will not be alone!

    In GROW, our focus is very much on soils and growing (the secret is in the name, GROW!)

    But many people are getting involved also to learn about citizen science, or Earth observation from satellites, or to learn about DIY sensors.

    I hope you enjoy discovering permaculture, and the other science topics in this course.

  • Welcome from Oz, Barry. The links between soils, growing and climate are at the heart of GROW – as you will see as we explore the science of Earth observation and sensing on this course.

  • Hi Kaska, I also live by the River Tay, just a little way up river in Newport. Wonderful to have people from the PLANT group and Tayport Community Garden on the course.

    I hope you find the insights into Earth observation and sensing of great interest!

  • Welcome Iddrisu. I am sure you will find a lot of interest and relevance in this course.

    We will be very interested to learn from you and your experience. Much of what we are doing in GROW is very relevant to Africa, such as in regions like the Sahel. Our project is focused in Europe, but we hope to bring it to Africa and other parts of the world in the...

  • Wow – that is an incredible journey, we look forward to learning more about your experiences, and the things you learn on the way.

  • Welcome back June, we hope you enjoy your second GROW course!

  • That is music to our ears – we hope many people will use the techniques they discovered on the last online course.

    Please do share the results with everyone in the GROW community. While the courses are live, the discussions happen on the FutureLearn platform. After the course ends, the discussion continues on GROW's own discussion forum...

  • Yes – a lovely intro.

    It can be very powerful to connect our own plots of land to a global view.

    GROW can connect people, plants, sensors, data, knowledge – we hope to bring positive change in the world. 

  • Hi Lotta, that's great – you will discover all about sensing and Earth observation on this course, and how this can help to better understand soils. Look out for the Living Soils course that comes next too!

  • Thank you Tamas, welcome back, and enjoy the course!!

  • Thanks Cara, that's wonderful to hear :)

  • Hi Melanie. Welcome back to your second encounter with GROW. We really hope to build up a community of people participating in the project over time, so that's great to hear.

    You will get a good introduction to sensors on this course, and we will be hearing more about DIY sensors next week. Enjoy!

  • Hi Willie.

    Thanks for sharing your own experiences, and for capturing the purpose of GROW so well!

    You are absolutely right, we help to contribute to vital environmental monitoring. And to open the science of Earth observation up to more people, including non-experts.

    By making this a shared mission, and by collaborating together, we hope we can...

  • Well said Justine, I couldn't agree more. You will find many like minded people in the GROW Observatory.

  • On Monday we are launching our new website, and are inviting all participants on this our first course to join and create their profile there. This website will then become the main home for the GROW Observatory community. It will be a place where you can get involved in online discussions from next Monday. Over time we will develop it into a hub for...

  • Hi Kaska
    GROW will involve many kinds of activity, online courses are one of these, but not the only one.
    There is a mission later this year in which we do a trial soil sensor survey, but this is only being introduced in a limited number of places.
    Generally, this year we are engaging our very first participants, and we intend to scale up from 2018.

  • Hi Caro, I hope you enjoy the project. Thanks for getting in touch. It's great to hear you are involved in the project. The Climate Challenge Fund is one area of funding that we would like to explore in relation particularly to local groups that we will be supporting through GROW form this summer and going forward into 2020.

    There are therefore many...

  • That is very nice of you to say so <blush>, I hope you enjoy and get a lot from our first online course!

  • You are welcome, thank you for joining our first online course!

  • Better late than never :)

  • Interesting to hear of your colleague!