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Citizen science is a participatory science approach in which members of the public (citizens) collaborate with scientists and professional researchers and become involved in research and innovation activities, resulting in the co-creation of scientific knowledge and innovation. Citizen science has been widely applied in research, particularly in the social sciences, environmental sciences, information and communication technologies, and public health. However, the application of this approach in clinical sciences, particularly in translational medicine research, is still nascent. This exploratory study involved members of the public (citizen scientists) in a translational medicine experiment on non-alcoholic fatty liver disease that incorporated a lifestyle and weight-loss intervention. The aim of this paper is to report successful methods and approaches for the recruitment, retention, and training of citizen scientists. For the citizen scientists' recruitment, online calls placed on the websites of our research project and biomedical research center and targeted emails were the most helpful. Of the 14 members of the public who expressed interest in our study, six were recruited as citizen scientists. Citizen scientists were mostly female (n = 5, 83%), white (n = 3, 50%), over 50 years of age (n = 4, 67%), educated to postgraduate level (n = 5, 83%), and either retired or not in employment (n = 5, 83%). The retention rate was 83% (n = 5), and the dropout rate was 17% (n = 1). We arranged instructor-led interactive online training sessions (an hour-long one-on-one session and two-hour group sessions). Research skills training covered ethics in research and qualitative and quantitative data analysis. Citizen scientists were given several incentives, such as reimbursement of travel and care costs, selection as citizen scientists of the month, publications of their blogs and perspective articles, and co-authorship and acknowledgement in papers and project deliverables. To conclude, members of the public (particularly middle-aged white women with postgraduate education) are interested in becoming citizen scientists in translational medicine research. Their retention rate is higher, and they can contribute to different research activities. However, they need training to develop their research skills and expertise. The training should be simple, comprehensive, and flexible to accommodate the schedules of individual citizen scientists. They deserve incentives as they work on a voluntary basis.

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biomedical research, citizen science, citizen scientists, co-research with members of the public, health research, incentives to citizen scientists, metabolic endocrinology, public involvement in research, research and innovation, translational medicine research