By Sasha Ness
An overwhelming number of Australians support investment in science to boost Australia’s post-pandemic recovery, according to a study released on Thursday by a peak science body.
The survey published by Science & Technology Australia suggests that 93% of Australians believe that scientists are “critical to our future well-being in light of the pandemic”, and nine in ten want science to shape government policy.
It was also reported that 19 in 20 people support more investment in science, and 84% agree that there are negative societal consequences for failing to value science.
On the back of conspiracy-fuelled anti-lockdown protests last month and a surge in anti-vax movements across the country, the study presents an optimistic image of the public’s faith in science amidst the pandemic.
However, according to Managing Director of 3M Australia ND New Zealand Chris LeBlanc, trust in science is at its highest level in years, with nine in ten Australians reporting to trust science and scientists.
“Since 3M started the State of Science Index four years ago, trust in science globally remains at the highest level we have recorded.
“The Index has captured a moment in history when the impact of science on our lives has never been more visible.”
Science & Technology Australia Chief Executive Office Misha Schubert said the report demonstrates that Australians “clearly” want science to shape post-pandemic economic recovery.
“It’s heartening to see how strongly Australians recognise, respect, and are reassured by the powerful contribution science and our scientists have made,” she said.
The survey results follow the release of a “code red” report on Monday by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which warned that temperatures would rise by more than 1.5 degrees over the next two decades if nations do not take immediate action to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.