Science matters. It matters to us, because it’s science that fuels 3M’s Vision: technology improving every company, products enhancing every home and innovation improving every life.
But what does the world think of science? Is it recognized and appreciated? Do people see, feel and appreciate its impact? Or are they largely blind to it, unconscious and indifferent to its presence around them? Are they trusting or skeptical of science and scientists? Do they even care?
We couldn’t find the answers, so we conducted our own research to get them. The result is the 3M State of Science Index. Discover what we found out about the image of science, along with revelations and insights from people all over the world.
If the world is indifferent to science, what are the consequences? Do apathy and skepticism undermine importance and respect for science and the role it plays in society? And could that ultimately impact science as a priority along with future scientific endeavors, funding and research?
These are all reasons why 3M chose to get a pulse on how people feel about science. We know science can improve lives and that we all have something to gain—from society in general, to individual countries and future generations. But if everyday citizens don’t see that, it doesn’t matter what we in the science community believe. Understanding how science is perceived is an important first step to having an informed conversation about this important topic.
You can access The State of Science Index data to see attitudes to science and we invite you to explore insights country-by-country through our explorer tool. We hope you’ll share and discuss the research. What do you think they mean to science today and in the future? View the 2018 survey explorer. For an overview of the combined global results, download our 2018 pdf here.
3M’s State of Science Index presents original, independent and nationally representative research conducted in 14 countries among the general population. It is one of the largest, most global studies to explore attitudes to science in recent years, and enables 3M to track and benchmark shifts in attitudes about science over time, using this first year as a baseline. Data from this research can be viewed as a 14-country, global average, or individually by country. At the 95 percent confidence level, the margin of error is +/- 0.83 percentage points at the global level and +/- 3.1 percentage points for each individual country. About 1,000 respondents in each of the 14 countries participated in this survey.
Is the world united in a singular view of science?
All over the world, people are intrigued by the idea of science. They recognize and appreciate how science impacts the world on a global scale, and 90 percent say that when they hear the word “science” they feel hopeful versus discouraged (10 percent). But when you dig a little deeper, a more complex story emerges: 38 percent say their lives would not be much different if science didn’t exist, and about a third fall into the science skeptics camp.
Insights from the State of Science Index leads 3M to the conclusion that while attitudes to and feelings about science are complex, science needs a champion. While 86 percent of adults claim to be fascinated by science rather than bored, the study reveals staggering skepticism and indifference to science around the world too.
3M hopes the State of Science Index will provoke a national conversation about science and its important role in the world. We don’t have all the answers, but we think there’s an opportunity for all of us in the science community to inspire people to be more conscious of the science around them, to connect the dots between science and the impact it has on their everyday life.
“Insights from this data paint a compelling picture of the perceptions of science around the world,” said Jayshree Seth, a Corporate Scientist and Chief Science Advocate (CSA) at 3M. “We don’t have all the answers, but the first step is to understand feelings toward science. The next step is to give this original research to the public to help identify more trends. I’m humbled to be named 3M’s CSA and look forward to hearing what people think of the State of Science Index.”
We hope this information inspires recognition of how the image, impact and expectations of science are perceived across the world. We invite enthusiasts to use these insights to talk about the gaps we in the science community need to fill, and to do your bit toward championing science.
Discover a few of the most interesting things we learned from the State of Science Index survey explorer. Click here to download the full global report as a PDF (2.97 MB)
3M Chief Science Advocate Jayshree Seth asks Scott Kelly about the 3M State of Science Index and what inspired him to go into space.