In 2021, we are counting on science to restore and rejuvenate our lives as we embark on the road to recovery. As the vaccine rolls out in India and around the world, for the first time in almost a year, hope is on the horizon, and it sits squarely on the shoulders of science.
Agree that science brings hope for the future
Agree science will make 2021 a better year than 2020
Agree science will make life better in the next five years
The correlation between hope and science isn’t limited to our desire to reinstate the close human connection, such as travelling and spending time with friends and family. Hopefulness at this moment includes priorities that science can solve for beyond our health.
88% We are more environmentally conscious
88% Scientists are critical to our future well-being
78% Scientists and medical professionals are inspiring a new generation to pursue a STEM-based career in the future
In many ways, hope may be an outcome of the trust we have placed in science over the past 12 months. Trust in science one year into the pandemic, is at 90%, 3 percentage points higher than in the 2020 Pre-Pandemic survey.
At the same time, complete trust in scientists remains at the highest level we have ever seen it since tracking began [61%].
As trust grows, the issues India faces tackling COVID-19 and well-establish personal beliefs may be getting in the way of everyone fully embracing science. Only believing science which aligns with personal beliefs is growing in India – from 67% in 2019 to 78% today.
87% Defend science when someone is questioning it
85% There are negative consequences to society if science is not valued
We largely believe in following scientific recommendations to contain the spread of COVID-19—and a significant majority of us conform to always taking these recommended actions to stay safe during the pandemic:
81% Wear a mask in public settings
78% Frequent hand washing
75% Maintain social distancing (6-foot distance)
One year into the pandemic, it is too early to predict whether our renewed interest in science will cool off once we emerge from COVID-19, but there are some early indicators of susceptibility:
78% Believe the growth in science appreciation will continue beyond the pandemic
22% Predict science appreciation won’t last/or are unsure
91% Agree the world needs more people pursuing STEM careers
83% Have been more inspired to pursue a STEM career due to the pandemic
Fall-out from the pandemic, coupled with mainstream social justice issues, has ignited the focus on inequities for under-represented minorities.
83% Believe underrepresented minorities often lack equal access to STEM education
90% Believe we need to do more to encourage and retain girls in STEM education
With more diversity in STEM, science would achieve greater global collaboration between scientists, more innovative ideas, and new and improved approaches to existing research techniques.
With women of color leading gender equality in STEM education, and many institutions focusing their efforts on greater diversity, equity and inclusion in STEM, we are proud of the direction the world is taking in achieving greater equity.
85% Agree corporations should play a key role in improving diversity within STEM fields. Of those who believe corporations should be involved in supporting STEM education, the top actions corporations are expected to take include rewarding kids and teachers who show passion for science (43%), creating resources for kids to get involved in science at an early age (40%) and providing grants/scholarships to underrepresented students (40%).
We are more concerned than a year ago about air pollution (78%), climate change (77%), clean water supply (77%) and ocean plastics pollution (75%).
89% Agree we should follow the science to help make the world more sustainable
Scientific collaboration is critical and in light of the pandemic, people in India want more investment in science. Cross-border and public-private sector collaboration are priorities.
Our exposure to countries sharing scientific knowledge and resources during the pandemic may have magnified the awareness and importance of cross-border collaboration. This applies to the private and public sectors as well, with a majority believing there should be more collaboration across public/private sectors to advance science [87%]. We can also deduce that the public sees a correlation between the impact of science, scientific funding, and policy.
84% Believe countries should collaborate to create solutions based on science as the world faces major challenges like the pandemic and climate change
90% Believe that in light of the pandemic, science needs more funding/ financial support
Corporations are expected to help, and given events over the past six months, the top 3 priorities people most want corporations to address are:
1. Prepare for future pandemics (52%)
2. Provide existing employees with new skills and training for their future careers (47%)
3. Create new jobs/employment opportunities for underrepresented minority groups within their corporation (46%)
And to build a more sustainable future, specific actions companies should take, are:
1. Reduce the amount of plastic used in products (57%)
2. Reduce waste created by facilities (52%)
3. Reducing the amount of water used in production (51%)
4. Use renewable energy sources to power their facilities (48%)