Increased confidence in Swedish resarchers

In Sweden most people have high confidence in researchers and think that scientific and technical developments improves life

According to a public opinion poll performed by the society “Vetenskap & Allmänhet” (VA ) 86% of those living in Sweden have high or very high confidence in scientists at universities and colleges. There is a slight increase from last year when the figure was 77 percent. VA has performed similar polls for ten years and confidence has swung over time, says Maria Lindholm, chief investigator at VA:

– Attitudes to research seems to be quite easily influenced by external events. Our survey last fall was not preceded by any direct scandals. On the contrary, the government and the opposition's willingness to invest in research has been given much space in the debate, says Maria Lindholm.

Other information emerging from the poll is that fewer and fewer believe that Sweden should just focus only on "useful" research. Similarly, there is a reduced proportion of persons who believe that research can contribute to increased economic growth. 97% of respondents believe that researchers should be given full or limited access to databases containing information about individuals' predisposition and health.

– Considering the discussion which is related to if register-based research can limit personal integrity, the results suggest that many people feel they can trust the scientific community. It also shows how important it is that the scientists engage in the dialogue about the aim of the research and how it is performed, says Cissi Askwall, general secretary at the VA.

Link to the article in "Curie", a web magazine published by the Scientific Research Council.