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image European Research News Centre > Research and Society > National perceptions
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image image image Date published: 03/04/2002
  image National perceptions
RTD info Special
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  How do individual EU countries perceive science and technology, scientific culture, the importance awarded to science subjects at school, ethical issues and the role of researchers? We take a brief look at each country in turn, highlighting the differences - big and small - to reveal how each one varies from the "norm".
   
     
   

Austria

Most critical of the world of knowledge: 33.1% think schools and universities are the least important source of information about scientific developments (EU: 20.6%).

Belgium

Among the least opposed to GMOs: 19% feel their presence in food poses no particular threat to health (EU:14.6%).

Denmark

Best informed about science and technology (51% believe they are well informed, compared with EU average of 33.4%). High expectations of research: 94.1% of Danes believe that scientific and technical progress will help find a cure for illnesses such as AIDS and cancer (EU average: 80.5%).

Finland

High expectations that science and technology could help eradicate poverty and hunger (43.6% compared with an EU average of 30.4%). Low awareness of EU research policy: just 18.4% of Finns know that the Union is involved in this field (EU: 38.2%).

France

Limited confidence in scientists: just 56% would trust them to explain the reasons for a disaster (EU: 62.7%). 75.4% feel that because of their knowledge scientists exercise a potentially dangerous power (EU: 63.2%). Positive attitude to research coordination: 87.4% want to see more co-operation between Member States (EU: 80.4%).

Germany

The lowest interest in science and technology (66.6% pay little attention to it, compared with 52.2% in the Union). Positive attitude to European research: 64.7% feel it is more effective than research at national level (EU: 58.2%). The new Lńnder are among the most positive about enlargement: 82.5% feel it will enhance the scientific and technological potential of the current Member States (EU: 53.3%).

Greece

Very concerned by ethical issues: 90.3% of Greeks believe the authorities should oblige scientists to respect ethical standards (compared with 80.3% in the EU). 70.1% feel they are responsible for the uses - including misuses - to which their discoveries are put (EU: 42.8%). They believe that scientists bear a major share of responsibility for BSE (84.8% compared to 50.6% for EU), and are strongly opposed to GMOs: 93.3% say they do not want this type of food (EU: 70.9%). 66.8% believe that research at European level is more effective than at national level (EU: 58.2%). 60.9% say they are interested in science and technology, while 25.5% (EU: 14.7%) say they are "interested" but "poorly informed".

Ireland

The lowest number of visits to science and technology museums: 4.1.% compared with 11.3% in the EU. The lowest level of confidence in scientists (22.9% compared with 44.9% in the Union). Italy 59.4% of Italians believe more women should take up studies and careers in science (EU: 70.8%). They have a high regard for European research and believe it is more effective than at national level (65.1% compared with 58.2% for the EU).

Luxembourg

65.8% are particularly interested in the environment, a record compared with the EU average of 51.6%.

Portugal

The Portuguese are the least well-informed about science and technology (73.2% compared with 61.4% in the Union) and, logically, get the least pleasure from reading about the subject (78% say they read few articles on the subject, compared with 60.6% in the Union). Positive attitude to the Internet, believing it has the potential to improve the quality of life (50%, compared with 39.4% in the Union). Just 18.3% of Portuguese know that the EU is involved in research (EU: 38.2%). Spain Positive attitude to enlargement: 61% believe it will bring an 'added value' to the scientific and technological potential of the current Member States (EU: 53.3%).

Sweden

64.3% of Swedes say they are interested in science and technology, compared with 45.3% in the EU. 19.4% say they visit science and technology museums regularly (EU average: 11.3%). They trust scientists: 68.6% do not hold them responsible for the misuse of their discoveries, compared with 42.3% for the EU. Are they technophobes? 72.5% believe that most high-tech products are no more than gadgets (51.5% in the EU). Are they Eurosceptics? So it would seem as far as European research is concerned: 38.3% believe it is less effective than research at national level (EU: 18.6%).

The Netherlands

The Dutch are the most interested in the Internet (47.9% compared with 27.9% in the EU) and among the least opposed to GMOs. 52.6% of them do not want them in their food, compared with 70.9% in the EU).

United Kingdom

The British are critical of the EU's role. Just 66.8% want to see the EU involved in the fields of science, technology and research - compared with 80.2% in the Union.

 

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