Posted: June 28, 2010

Europeans are more interested in science than sport and want EU research boosted

(Nanowerk News) According to a new Eurobarometer report (pdf) published today, nearly 80% of Europeans say they are interested in scientific discoveries and technological developments, compared to 65% interested in sport. Over 70% of Europeans think EU-funded research will become more important in the future. 57% think scientists should put more effort into communicating about their work and 66% believe governments should do more to interest young people in scientific issues. Europeans overwhelmingly recognise the benefits and importance of science but many also express fears over risks from new technologies and the power that knowledge gives to scientists.
Research, Innovation and Science Commissioner Máire Geoghegan-Quinn said: "The success of the Europe 2020 Strategy depends on cutting edge science to keep Europe competitive. In turn, that means ordinary Europeans need to back science and keep the pressure up on government and on industry to invest in it. These results show a very high awareness of the importance of science. But they also show that both politicians – like me – and scientists themselves need to explain better what we are doing and why."
At EU27 level, 61% of people consider themselves very or moderately well informed about scientific discoveries and technological developments. 74% of citizens think that collaborative research across Europe funded by the European Union will become more and more important. Over six out of ten Europeans believe collaborative research is more creative and efficient. Cooperation between Member States is widely supported (72% of Europeans agree).
Overall, the survey shows that European citizens are fairly optimistic about science and technology - 75% of respondents agree or tend to agree that thanks to science and technology there will be more opportunities for future generations. However, there is a slight shift towards scepticism compared to the 2005 survey.
Europeans have a positive view of the effect of involvement with science on young people but feel that governments are not doing enough to stimulate wide interest. More efforts by governments to stimulate women to be involved with science is seen as necessary and as having a potentially a positive effect - 63% think getting more women into research positions would improve the way research is conducted.
This Special Eurobarometer survey was conducted through face-to-face interviews in 32 European countries1 to evaluate European citizens' general attitudes towards science and technology, and to see if this perception has changed significantly from 2005. A total of 31.243 people were interviewed between the 29th of January and the 25th of February 2010.
The results are available on the public opinion webpage on the Europa website:
Source: EU