3M state of science index: man presenting data at a convention
The global pandemic has renewed trust in science
sketch of coronavirus

Our annual research shows that appreciation for science and trust in scientists has increased significantly in 2020, compared to past years.

 3M Chief Science Advocate Dr. Jayshree Seth boils down the ‘State of Science’ in 2020
3M Chief Science Advocate Dr. Jayshree Seth boils down the ‘State of Science’ in 2020.

Science skepticism declines for the first time in three years

“I am skeptical of science”:

Graph line
2018 29%
2019 32%
2020
Pre-Pandemic
35%
2020
Pandemic Pulse
28%

There is an increased understanding of how important science is in our lives:

Science is very important to society in general:

Person

up 11 points from pre-pandemic

Science is very important in my everyday life:

Person

up 10 points from pre-pandemic

But challenges remain:

63%
rarely think about the impact of science in their everyday life

32%
still believe that their lives wouldn’t be that different if science didn’t exist

The world is united in following science to solve our biggest challenges

People’s actions should follow scientific evidence/advice to contain the spread of COVID-19.

There are negative consequences to a world that doesn’t value science.

Global priorities include healthcare, followed by social issues, sustainability and the economy

Find a cure for emerging viruses (e.g., coronavirus/COVID-19)
Find a cure for ongoing diseases (e.g., cancer, heart disease)
Social justice/STEM equity (advocate for racial equality in society and/or ensure underrepresented minorities have access to STEM education)
Mitigate the effects of climate change

Pre-pandemic, climate change was the #1 issue people wanted science to solve, aside from healthcare

Today, both healthcare and climate change issues continue to be top priorities.

Address unemployment

Pre-pandemic, climate change was the #1 issue people wanted science to solve, aside from healthcar, Today, both healthcare and climate change issues continue to be top priorities.

Dr. Kate Biberdorf, diversity and STEM equity video

Dr. Kate Biberdorf, science communicator and Associate Professor of Chemistry at the University of Texas at Austin, talks about diversity & STEM equity in this year’s 3M State of Science Index

To address these ongoing global challenges, we must inspire the next generation to pursue STEM

About one in six people (17%) report being discouraged from pursuing science when they were students.*

Person
Person
Person
Person
Person
Person

But adult Gen Zers and Millennials are significantly more likely to report being discouraged.

Person

Gen Z 28%

Person

Millennials 24%

Person

Gen X 15%

Person

Boomers 9%

Barriers to STEM education are holding students back

Why were students discouraged from pursuing STEM?

Lack of access to science classes is the leading reason.

left

One in four (27%) cite some form of inequality (race, ethnicity, gender)—and this surges to 50% in the US.

right

The pandemic has pulled into focus the urgency of STEM education

are now more likely to agree that a strong STEM education is crucial.