Survey Insights

  • Woman looking at laptop, feeling hopeful

    Signs of hope spring from science

    In 2021, we are counting on science to restore and rejuvenate our lives as we embark on the road to recovery. As the vaccine rolls out in the United States and around the world, for the first time in almost a year, hope is on the horizon, and it sits squarely on the shoulders of science.

In 2021...

  • Teacher and student working on STEM project
    89%

    Agree that science brings hope for the future

  • Two colleagues happily collaborating
    87%

    Agree science will make 2021 a better year than 2020

  • Man flying drone at sunset
    79%

    Agree science will make life better in the next five years


The correlation between hope and science isn’t limited to our desire to reinstate the close human connection, such as travelling and spending time with friends and family. Hopefulness at this moment includes priorities that science can solve for beyond our health.

  • Female scientist collecting specimen outdoors

    In light of the pandemic…

    77%           We are more environmentally conscious

    91%            Scientists are critical to our future well-being

    62%           Scientists and medical professionals are inspiring a new generation to pursue a STEM-based career in the future

Another cause for hope is that a large majority, two-thirds, believe science drives more unity when people have opposing views [67%], than division [33%].

  • Male scientist viewing test tube in lab

    Trust in science reaches highest levels in four years.

    In many ways, hope may be an outcome of the trust we have placed in science over the past 12 months. Trust in science one year into the pandemic, remains at the highest level we have ever seen it since tracking began [91%].

    At the same time, skepticism is the lowest recorded [27%] since we started tracking the State of Science in 2018 and it is notable that it has dropped twice in the past year.

  • We are putting our biases on the backburner.

    As trust grows, we appear to increasingly favor science over our personal beliefs and biases, as evidenced by a 7-point drop in the percentage of people who only believe science that aligns with their personal beliefs from the 2020 Pre-Pandemic Survey.

56% The importance of science to our everyday lives remains at an all-time high since tracking began—jumping a significant 10 points in the past year, during the pandemic
  • Not only have we become more attuned to the impact science has on the world, but we are also speaking up for science.

    75%           Defend science when someone is questioning it 

    85%           There are negative consequences to society if science is not valued

  • Increased trust in science may have influenced our pandemic behavior.

    We largely believe in following scientific recommendations to contain the spread of COVID-19—and a significant majority of us conform to always taking these recommended actions to stay safe during the pandemic:

    83%           Wear a mask in public settings

    79%           Avoid large gatherings

    78%           Frequent hand washing

  • But will our newfound trust in science last?

    One year into the pandemic, it is too early to predict whether our renewed interest in science will cool off once we emerge from COVID-19, but there are some early indicators of susceptibility:

    59%           Believe the growth in science appreciation will continue beyond the pandemic

    41%            Predict science appreciation won’t last/or are unsure

    Younger generations, including adult Gen Z and Millennials, are more likely than Gen X and Baby Boomers to believe that appreciation for science will continue once the pandemic is over which brings an element of hope for the future.


  • Children in Elementary Class with their Teacher p

    The pandemic has reinvigorated interest in science and renewed focus on STEM.

    90%           Agree the world needs more people pursuing STEM careers

    60%           Have been more inspired to pursue a STEM career due to the pandemic

  • Diversity in STEM: Big problem. Big priority.

    Fall-out from the pandemic, coupled with mainstream social justice issues, has ignited the focus on inequities for under-represented minorities.

88% agree it is important to increase diversity and inclusion in STEM. But we also recognize women and other minorities face major or obstacles.
  • 73%           Believe underrepresented minorities often lack equal access to STEM education

    87%           Believe we need to do more to encourage and retain girls in STEM education

  • With more diversity in STEM, science would achieve greater global collaboration between scientists, more innovative ideas, and new and improved approaches to existing research techniques.

    With women of color leading gender equality in STEM education, and many institutions focusing their efforts on greater diversity, equity and inclusion in STEM, we are proud of the direction the world is taking in achieving greater equity.

    89%           Agree corporations should play a key role in improving diversity within STEM fields. Of those who believe corporations should be involved in supporting STEM education, the top actions corporations are expected to take include creating resources for kids to get involved in science, providing grants/scholarships to underrepresented students, hosting internships, summer camps and workshops to help students pursue STEM.


  • Female environmentalist collecting discarded plastics from seashore

    The pandemic has opened our eyes to sustainability issues—and solutions for climate change are urgently needed.

    We are more concerned than a year ago about ocean plastics pollution, climate change, intensifying natural disasters, and air quality.

    89%           Agree we should follow the science to help make the world more sustainable

    Sustainability may grow in importance in the future as younger generations form a larger proportion of the adult population: climate change has become more of a concern for younger generations over the last year [Gen-Z 72%] vs. [Boomers 68%]; and the pandemic has made them more environmentally conscious than their older counterparts [Gen-Z 80% vs. Boomers 73%].

While the pandemic ranks top of the list of issues people most want science to solve, the rest of the issues are all environmental.
Top 3 environmental issues: Climate change, Ocean plastics pollution, Access to renewable energy sources and air quality
  • Collaborating across sectors

    Scientific collaboration is critical and in light of the pandemic, the world wants more investment in science. Cross-border and public-private sector collaboration are priorities.

    Our exposure to countries sharing scientific knowledge and resources during the pandemic may have magnified the awareness and importance of cross-border collaboration. This applies to the private and public sectors as well, with a majority believing there should be more collaboration across public/private sectors to advance science [92%]. We can also deduce that the public sees a correlation between the impact of science, scientific funding, and policy.

  • 91%            Believe countries should collaborate to create solutions based on science as the world faces major challenges like the pandemic and climate change

    92%           Believe that in light of the pandemic, science needs more funding/ financial support

  • Woman studying chart

    Corporations are expected to help, and given events over the past six months, the top 3 priorities people most want corporations to address are:

    1.     Preparation for future pandemics

    2.     Collaboration with governments to advocate for regulations/policies that solve global challenges*

    3.     Investment in innovations that mitigate the effects of climate change

    *not asked in the UAE

  • Engineer working in the field near wind farm

    And to build a more sustainable future, specific actions companies should take, are:

    1.     Use recycled and renewable materials in products developed

    2.     Reduce the amount of plastic used in products

    3.     Use renewable energy sources to power their facilities

  • woman looking at computer

    View and filter all data from the 2021 survey

    See how your views differ from others on key scientific perceptions and attitudes towards science.

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  • man presenting screen

    About the State of Science Survey

    Learn about the reasoning and intent behind conducting the State of Science Index survey

    Learn more about the survey


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