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Science barometer 2014

In 2014 Wissenschaft im Dialog ran two waves of the Wissenschaftsbarometer, the first in July investigated attitudes to science and research in general and the second in December looked at current issues. 

Results of the December 2014 survey

The survey carried out in November-December 2014 focused on attitudes to current issues in science and research. The results showed that Germans think that research is critical to solving current challenges in German cities like the transition to renewable energy, sustainable mobility or demographic change. Dual-use research – that is research that can be used for military as well as civil applications – is viewed ambivalently. Research on infectious diseases that occur predominantly in poorer countries should be subject to more research in Germany, even when research budgets are limited, according to just under two thirds of respondents. 

Results of the July 2014 survey

Preferably research budgets should not be cut; citizens should be more strongly involved in decisions about science and research; and the influence of science on politics is too small – that was the opinion of German residents on science and its relevance for society in summer 2014. 

The results of the science barometer released in July 2014 show that one third of Germans are interested in scientific topics. The great majority regard science and research as important and useful for society. 

When asked about the influence of science and research on the future, respondents expected both improvements and problems. Health and nutrition was seen by the majority of respondents as particularly important for the future.

Methods and project background

The results of the science barometer 2014 are based on telephone interviews (land line) conducted by the social research firm TNS Emnid. Since the data was subjected to post-stratification weighting the results can be generalised to the German population aged over 14 years. 

Whilst in English the term ‘science’ is mostly used to refer to natural sciences, the German term ‘Wissenschaft’ refers to natural sciences as well as humanities and social sciences. The results presented here therefore apply for all fields of academic research (this was also stated in a short clarification by the interviewer at the beginning of the interview). 

The science barometer 2014 was funded by the Philip Morris Stiftung and methodological advice was provided by GESIS – Leibniz-Institute for the Social Sciences. Detailed results of the science barometer are available in German.

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