Summary of Eurobarometer report on science in the media

Scientific discoveries and their practical applications can promote industrial development and social advancement. Research, innovation and new technologies influence economic, social, political and even sometimes ethical dimensions of modern societies. Thus their impact on the everyday life of EU citizens requires the increased attention of  decisionmakers.

In 2000 the European Council set a strategic goal for Europe called the Lisbon strategy.  Its objective was to make the EU the most competitive and dynamic knowledge-based economy in the world. In line with this target and to promote sustainable growth and more and better jobs, the EU is focusing on boosting research and development.

The creation of the European Research Area that brings Community resources together to better coordinate research and innovation activities in the European Union also supports these goals. Furthermore the fact that the Seventh Framework Programme for research (2007-2013) has a longer perspective and larger budget than its predecessor programme reflects the priority given to research.

These developments create a need for effective communication with the public on scientific research activities and results. The media can play a crucial role as an interface in the science domain, helping to increase public support and understanding regarding the need to create a knowledge-based society. In addition, it could contribute to encouraging investments in research and justifying public funding. The European Commission regularly carries out opinion polls, in order to learn how to motivate European citizens to become more involved in science, research and innovation.

For this reason the Directorate-General for Research launched this special Eurobarometer survey to explore what the media could do to achieve this goal. Interviews were conducted face-to-face in people’s homes, in their national language, between the 10th of April and the 15th of May 2007. The countries surveyed were the 27 Member States of the European Union. The methodology used is that of the Standard Eurobarometer polls, managed by the Directorate-General for Communication (unit “Opinion polls and Media Monitoring”). In the annex, a technical note details the interview techniques used by the institutes of the TNS Opinion & Social network, as well as levels of confidence.

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