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Science barometer 2022

Since 2014, through the science barometer, Wissenschaft im Dialog regularly surveys the attitudes of the German public towards science and research in representative surveys. How much do Germans trust in science? Which research areas are perceived as most important? What should scientists address when they talk about their research publicly?

In 2020 and 2021, the coronavirus pandemic has been a profound influence on the setting in which the data for the science barometer is collected. In 2022, data collection for the science barometer was also strongly influenced by the war in Ukraine and its impact on the German energy supply. Therefore, in addition to the regularly surveyed items, a question was asked specifically about energy supply in Germany.

Through the regular collection of representative data, trends and changes in public opinion on science and research in Germany can be reliably identified. The science barometer thus not only provides data and facts for current discourse, but also makes developments in society visible.

Levels of trust in science and research remain high

Germans’ trust in science and research remains high in the third year of the coronavirus pandemic: in the science barometer 2022, 62 per cent of respondents indicate that they trust science and research somewhat or completely (2021: 61%; 2020: 60%).

Interest and trust in research differ with level of formal education

The public interest in science and research in 2022 is similar to previous years. 54 per cent of respondents say they have a somewhat or very strong interest in science and research. The respondents’ level of formal education makes a difference here: 70 per cent of respondents with a high level of formal education (german Abitur, entrance qualification for a university /a university of applied sciences, university degree) say they have a somewhat or very strong interest in science and research. Among respondents with a medium level of formal education (secondary school without high school diploma), it is 47 per cent, and among those with a low level of formal education (elementary or lower secondary school) 42 per cent. Differences between levels of formal education can be identified in all survey waves of the science barometer so far. Like interest in science and research, trust in science and research is also highest among respondents with a high level of formal education, namely at 76 per cent. Among respondents with a medium level of formal education, 68 per‌ cent say they trust in science and research either somewhat or completely. For respondents with low levels of formal education, it is 44 per cent. Differences in trust in science between respondents with different levels of formal education have been observed in all survey waves of the science barometer so far.

Reasons for trust and distrust in science and research

In addition to the question about trust in science and research, the science barometer also asks for the extent to which people agree with reasons why scientists can be trusted or distrusted. In the science barometer 2022, the reason for trust with the highest approval rate is the perceived expertise of the researchers: 67 per cent agree somewhat or completely with the statement that scientists can be trusted because they are experts in their field of research (2021: 66%; 2020: 71%). 60 per cent agree that they can be trusted because they work according to rules and standards (2021: 57%; 2020: 62%). 49 per cent state that scientists can be trusted because they conduct research in the public interest (2021: 46%; 2020: 44%). The statement that scientists can be distrusted because they are heavily dependent on the funders of their research continues to be the most popular among all the reasons for distrust surveyed with 56 per cent of respondents agreeing with it (2021: 48%; 2020: 49%).

Aspects of science communication

When people are asked what scientists should attach particular importance to when communicating publicly about science and research, 74 per cent of respondents find it (very) important that scientists communicate about their own research results. 71 per cent find it (very) important that scientists also communicate about the results of other scientists conducting research on the same topic. A similar number of respondents (69 per cent) find it (very) important that scientists shed light on their research methods.

Relationship between science and politics

For the science barometer 2022, respondents were also asked about their attitudes towards various aspects of the relationship between science and politics. Four out of five respondents (79 per cent) agree somewhat or completely that scientists should speak up publicly when political decisions do not take research findings into account (2021: 75%). 69 per cent of respondents believe that political decisions should be based on scientific evidence (2021: also 69%). With 50 per cent of respondents, more people than in the last survey think that it is not the role of scientists to get involved in politics (2021: 43 %).

Importance of different research areas

When asked in which area research should be conducted most intensively in the future, respondents most frequently select ‘climate and energy’ with51 per cent (2019: 41%; 2016: 35%). This puts ‘climate and energy’ well ahead of ‘health and nutrition’, which was only selected by 28 per cent of the respondents (2019: 39%; 2016: 42%). In the last two survey rounds, the two were almost on a par.

Results at a glance


Individual graphics in JPG format

The use of the results is possible if the source Wissenschaft im Dialog/Kantar is mentioned. The graphics are licensed under CC BY-ND 4.0, adaptations of the format for editorial publications are permitted.

Interest in science and research

Trust in science and research

Science and society

Science and politics

Current topics and research in the future

Results from the previous years

The results of the science barometers 2014-2021 can be found in the overview on the project page.

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