Young Swedes have least faith in research

April 25, 2003

Young Swedes favour investment in research less than their elders, according to a survey conducted by researchers at Gothenburg University.

While 80 per cent of all Swedes believe science improves the quality of life, only 60 per cent of young Swedes share that opinion.

The survey shows that although two-thirds of Swedes have confidence in researchers generally, the degree of confidence varies depending on the subject area. It found a high degree of confidence in medical research (84 per cent), technical sciences (71 per cent) and the natural sciences (63 per cent). But just 47 per cent have confidence in research in the social sciences and only 37 per cent in research carried out in the humanities.

Swedes aged 15 to 19 have the least confidence in research, and people with less education have less confidence in research than people with more education.

Research into cancer topped the list of priorities for Sweden with 76 per cent, followed by the environment (57 per cent) and energy (54 per cent). Historical research trailed with only 10 per cent.

The survey was conducted for Vetenskap och Allmanhet (Science and Public), an organisation devoted to improving the public's understanding of science and science's understanding of the public.

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