Survey shows strong European support for technology

September 23, 2021 // By Nick Flaherty
Survey shows strong European support for technology and science
Support for science and technology is largely positive across the EU says a new survey, although the perception is that the region is behind China in innovation

A survey across Europe has shown positive attitudes towards science and technology.

The Eurobarometer survey showed nearly 9 in 10 EU citizens (86 percent) think that the overall influence of science and technology is positive. Solar power is regarded most positively, at 92 percent, with artificial intelligence at 61 percent. The data is available on the EU's open data portal (see link below).

There is  high level of interest in science and technology (82 percent) but also a perception from 58 percent of respondents that the EU is falling behind researchers in China (and 57 percent for the US).

The survey covered 37,103 people across 38 countries: EU Member States, EU enlargement countries, EFTA states and the UK.

“The overall positive attitude towards science and technology is reassuring as they are essential for responding to the coronavirus, climate change, biodiversity loss, and a host of other pressing challenges. At the same time, we need to respond to citizens' concerns that the benefits of science and technology are not equally distributed, to pay more attention to gender dimensions in research content, and to explore how research and innovation can be conducted with higher involvement of the citizens and other stakeholders,” said Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth.

The Eurobarometer survey also reveals challenges for research and innovation. Many EU citizens think that science and technology mostly helps improve the lives of those who are already better off (57 percent) and does not pay sufficient attention to differences between women's and men's needs (23 percent). More than half think that researchers in China (58 percent), the US (57 percent) and Japan (54 percent) are ahead of researchers in the EU in terms of making scientific discoveries. Levels of scientific knowledge also show wide divergences across different parts of society.

More than two-thirds (68 percent) believe that scientists should intervene in political debates to ensure that decisions take into account scientific evidence.

Most EU citizens get their information about developments in science and technology from television (63 percent), followed by online social networks and blogs (29 percent) and online or in-print newspapers (24 percent). A large majority (85 percent) believes that young people's interest in science is essential for future prosperity.

The data is available as a PDF and in the Open Dataset portal at data.europa.eu/euodp/en/data/dataset/S2237_95_2_516_ENG

europa.eu/eurobarometer/surveys/detail/2237

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