IMPORTANT LEGAL NOTICE - The information on this site is subject to adisclaimerand acopyright notice
 
Contact   |   Search on EUROPA  
European Research News Centre - Homepage
Graphic
Weekly Headlines RTD info magazine Diary Press releases Calls - Contacts
Graphic
image European Research News Centre > Research and Society > Hopes and doubts
image image
image image image Date published: 03/04/2002
  image Hopes and doubts
RTD info Special
image  
   
  Do Europeans believe in the virtues of science and technology? Yes, but they lack the confidence held by previous generations that progress will be achieved. Science is not seen as all-powerful. Nor is it seen as existing in an ivory tower. The issues it faces are also in part the concern of the worlds of politics and economics, of which people are more wary.
   
     
   

More than half of Europeans do not believe science and technology will help eradicate poverty and famine. When told that "thanks to scientific and technological progress, the earth's natural resources will be inexhaustible", 61.3% disagree. A majority (80.5%) believe, however, that scientific and technological progress will help to cure diseases such as AIDS and cancer (80.5%), will bring greater opportunities for future generations (72.4%), or will make our lives healthier, easier and more comfortable (70.7%). Feelings vary depending on the field: the more interests outside science are involved (economics, politics, etc.), the less confidence there is in progress. Also, reactions of trust and mistrust are more marked the higher the cultural level of interviewees (see graph) and, logically enough, in countries with a higher level of scientific education (the Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden).

Basic and applied research

This scepticism does not stop Europeans from awarding importance to basic research, both for the development of new technologies (83.2%) and to "achieve progress in knowledge" (75%). In this respect, even if research "does not bring immediate benefits" it is "necessary and should be supported by government". Opinions are divided on the benefits of applied research. Half of the respondents (51.5%) believe that "many high-tech products are only gadgets". But they certainly do not think this applies to technology such as the Internet which is seen as essential for the development of new economic activities (56.2%). And will the Internet improve the quality of life? Here, not so many are convinced. Among the minority of converts, young men (60.1% of 15- to 25-year-olds) and an educated public (43.5% of those who have pursued lengthy studies) dominate - see graph.

 

Graphic element

Graphic element

 

imageSommet de la page
 
 
 

Science and technology are no longer seen as the panacea for a series of problems many of which Europeans believe must be addressed by other agencies, notably public, social or environmental policies.

Science and technology are no longer seen as the panacea for a series of problems many of which Europeans believe must be addressed by other agencies, notably public, social or environmental policies.


European Research News Centre - Homepage
Graphic
Weekly Headlines RTD info magazine Diary Press releases Contacts
Graphic