Out of the 82% who believe there are negative consequences to society if people do not value science, 67% believe environmental impact is one of the top consequences of concern.
According to the 2020 pre-pandemic survey, the top 5 issues science should prioritize to create a sustainable future are reducing waste (43%), reducing the world's reliance on fossil fuels (39%), improving air quality (37%), water conservation (36%), and designing a more circular economy (35%).
As a result of the pandemic, 74% are more likely to believe the world needs more people pursuing STEM related careers to benefit society’s future, and 73% are more likely to believe a strong STEM education for students is crucial.
Gen Z (28%) and millennials (24%) are about twice as likely to say they were discouraged from pursuing science in school than their Gen X (15%) and baby boomer (9%) counterparts. Of those who were discouraged from pursuing science, 36% attributed it to a lack of access to science classes in their school.
86% believe governments should be more involved in containing the spread of COVID-19.
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 2020 survey explorer. For an overview of the combined global results, download our 2020 pdf here (2.11 MB).
For the last three years, 3M has conducted the annual State of Science Index to track attitudes to science through multi-country original research, presenting original, independent and nationally representative research conducted in a multitude of countries. Since 2018, it has been one of the largest, most global studies to explore attitudes to science and enables 3M to track and benchmark shifts in attitudes about science over time, using this first year as a baseline.
Due to recent global events, two waves of data were released at once in 2020: one from our typical global survey, fielded pre-pandemic in August-October 2019, the other from a pulse survey conducted in the summer of 2020, after the pandemic hit.
The first wave – called the 2020 Pre-Pandemic Survey – was fielded a few months before the pandemic hit, completed in October of 2019. It marks our third year of exploring attitudes to science and builds on two prior years of research (fielded in 2017 and 2018 and reported in 2018 and 2019, respectively). The second wave – called the 2020 Pandemic Pulse – was fielded in July-August 2020, about six months into the pandemic. This research captures a snapshot of how science is perceived in this moment in time, against the backdrop of the coronavirus outbreak. It enables us to compare and contrast current attitudes around science against sentiment captured before the pandemic.
Data from the 2020 Pre-Pandemic Survey can be viewed as a 14-country, global average, or individually by country. Countries include: US, Canada, UK, Germany, Poland, Spain, Brazil, Mexico, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, China, India, and South Africa.
Data from the 2020 Pandemic Pulse Survey can be viewed as a 11-country, global average, or individually by country. Countries include: US, Canada, UK, Germany, Poland, Spain, Brazil, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, and China. Following the global launch, the survey was fielded in Mexico and UAE, although these countries are not included in the global average.
At the 95% confidence level, the margin of error for the 2020 Pre-Pandemic Survey on a 14-country average is +/- 0.83 percentage points, and +/- 0.94 percentage points on the 11-country average. To compare results over-year, a 9-country tracking average was used, given France and Saudi Arabia were replaced with South Korea and Spain - which has a margin of error of +/- 1.03 percentage points.
The second survey, called the 2020 Pandemic Pulse, was fielded in July-August 2020, about six months into the pandemic. This research captures a snapshot of how science is perceived in this moment in time—against the backdrop of the coronavirus outbreak. These give us a timely understanding of how and why the world’s perceptions of science have changed due to the pandemic and other major economic and social justice developments.
The first survey, called the 2020 Pre-Pandemic Survey, was fielded a few months before the pandemic hit, in August-October of 2019, and marks our third year of exploring attitudes to science. It builds on two prior years of research (fielded in 2017 and 2018 and reported in 2018 and 2019, respectively). These provide insight into how the world viewed science overall, as well as science-related topics like STEM education and sustainability, before the pandemic.
In our Science Champions podcast series, we discuss issues related to the global perception of science with some of the brightest minds in the field.