EU survey: Public attitudes to science

With our young people showing top marks internationally for science, as a nation we regard a scientific education with the utmost regard.

In a Eurobarometer survey carried out across all 28 EU countries last year, involving 27,563 respondents, Ireland was the only nation in which a majority of people (51%) said a scientific education is very important in stimulating creative thinking in young people. We also ranked highest (92%) for respondents to the survey who agree with the view. An average of 84% of all respondents agreed.

Meanwhile, the same survey found that 59% of EU citizens believe that young people who are interested in science have a better chance of getting a job.

Some 72% believe that by being interested in science, young people also improve their culture.

Interestingly, respondents in Ireland and Malta were the most optimistic about science-minded students finding a job, at 78%. Only four countries — Cyprus (41%), France (44%), Slovenia (44%) and Latvia (48%) — did not return a majority agreeing with this view.

The poll showed a slight rise in the number of people who believed that science offered young people a chance to get a job in the recession, compared with the same survey carried out in 2010. Also, 68% of people surveyed agreed that science prepares youths to act as well-informed citizens.

The survey revealed that though 53% of all respondents are interested in science and technology developments, the majority (58%) do not feel informed about discoveries and breakthroughs. A massive 40% said they were “not very well informed”. Public understanding of science remains a challenge for governments, the media and the public themselves.

Read the Eurobarometer survey

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