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 Australia 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.
of Australians agree that science gives them hope for the future.
of Australians are hopeful that 2021 will be a better year than 2020 because of science.
of Australians agree young people are more engaged in science and science-related issues than ever before.
The correlation between hope and science isn’t limited to our desire to reinstate the close human connection, such as traveling and spending time with friends and family. Hopefulness at this moment includes priorities that science can solve for beyond our health.
61% of Australians say, we are more environmentally conscious
93% of Australians say scientists are critical to our future well-being
57% of Australians say 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. Amongst Ausralians, trust in science one year into the pandemic is very high at 90%. Trust in scientists is also high, sitting at 89%.
75% Defend science when someone is questioning it
84% There are negative consequences to society if science is not valued
Australians 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:
72% Frequent hand washing
68% Avoid large gatherings
61% Maintain social distancing
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:
55% Believe the growth in science appreciation will continue beyond the pandemic
45% Predict science appreciation won’t last/or are unsure
92% of Australians agree the world needs more people pursuing STEM careers
55% of Gen Z/Millennial Australians 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.
69% of Australians acknowledge that underrepresented minority groups often do not receive equal access to STEM education
84% of Australians acknowledge more needs to be done to encourage and keep women and girls engaged 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 colour 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.
88% of Australians 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 creating resources for kids to get involved in science, providing grants/scholarships to underrepresented students, hosting internships, summer camps and workshops to help students pursue STEM.
Australians are more concerned than a year ago about ocean plastics pollution, intesifying natural disasters, and climate change.
90% of Australians agree we should follow the science to help make the world more sustainable
Many Australians feel the pandemic has made them more environmentally conscious [61%]. This is even higher among GenZ/Millennials in Australia [68%]. A strong majority of Australians agree better solutions to mitigate climate change need to be put in place immediately [80%].
Scientific collaboration is critical and in light of the pandemic, the world wants 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 [93%]. We can also deduce that the public sees a correlation between the impact of science, scientific funding, and policy.
93% Believe countries should collaborate to create solutions based on science as the world faces major challenges like the pandemic and climate change
95% of Australians believe that investments in science make the country stronger.
Corporations are expected to help, and given events over the past six months, the top 3 priorities Australians most want corporations to address are:
1. Preparation for future pandemics
2. Collaboration with governments to advocate for regulations/policies that solve global challenges
3. Investment in innovations that mitigate the effects of climate change
And to build a more sustainable future, specific actions companies should take, are:
1. Use recycled and renewable materials in products developed
2. Use renewable energy sources to power their facilities
3. Reduce the amount of plastic used in products