European citizens, science and technology
The special issue of RTD info (Magazine of European Research) presents the results of the latest Eurobarometer survey on science and technology, carried out for the first time in 32 countries simultaneously. The picture that emerges is globally
positive, which is to be welcomed.
We find, for example, that Europeans still believe in scientific progress. 88% of them consider that science and technology have brought improvements to the quality of life of people of their generation, while 76% believe they will improve the lives of future generations too.
Another result is both positive and surprising: the increase in scientific knowledge in nearly all the EU Member States, in contrast to what many scientists and politicians would have us believe. It seems we are scientifically more cultured than we think!
But there are nevertheless some less positive findings. In particular, the resistance of Europeans to certain areas of ﾑprogressﾒ such as genetically modified foods, cloning and even certain information technologies, accused of destroying more jobs than they create.
The situation is admittedly complex, given the many national ﾑpeculiaritiesﾒ, genuine contradictions and apparent paradoxes revealed by this new Eurobarometer that is already generating a great deal of interest all over the world. It is a complexity effectively summed up by one senior US official when he learned of the results: ﾓPeople understand science and technology better than we think, itﾒs just that they donﾒt want what we are giving them.ﾔ