The monitoring started in 2009. In 2015, focus is made on the analysis of public perception of science and technology.
Research Object: Russian population aged 16 and above.
Method of data collection is a representative survey of the Russian population aged 16+, conducted in November 2014. Methods of data analysis includes descriptive statistics, cross-tabulation, correlation, dispersion and cluster analyses as well as other methods of data segmentation.
Empirical base of the research
Empirical Base of the study includes the data set containing the results of a standard representative survey of the Russian population, which was carried out in November 2014 (1670 adults aged 16+). Additionally the data from previous waves of the monitoring conducted in 2009-2013 and earlier studies were included to demonstrate changes in public opinion. Data sources for international comparisons in are based on the information available in reports of the OECD, European Commission and the US National Science Foundation.
The project results show that the structure of public attitudes to science and technology is rather inhomogeneous. Technocratic views come together with unattractiveness of jobs in science as well as with low science literacy (which does not contribute to informed decision-making). Only a small part of population wants to know the latest news about science and technology. Interest to S&T (or its absence) is an outcome of lifestyle and social environment of the individuals. The public consider visiting museums and other popular science events as leisure activities rather than educational ones. There is no single model for public participation in S&T policy dialogue. Three positions are equally present among the population in Russia: indifferent, passive (population opinion should be considered) and active (population should take an active role in decision making by participating in referendums, etc.). However, the share of Russians who have participated in public debates or have addressed local authorities on S&T issues is four times less than the share of people who expressed such active position.
This year we also started a new cycle of research. Data analysis shows that public attitudes to the risks of scientific and technological development as a whole and attitudes to particular controversial technologies differ. As a result, in next monitoring wave we decided to concentrate our work on the analysis of public engagement in innovative practice. In order to be able to estimate how public adopts radical and incremental innovation and their potential risks we suggest to look precisely on the demand for new and emerging technologies.
Monitoring survey results are used in a number of scientific papers, they were presented at XVI NRU HSE April Conference and at 5th International Annual Research Conference “Cultural and Economic changes under cross-national perspective” (November 16 - 20, 2015). Some of the survey data are published in a statistical data books “Science. Innovation. Information society: 2015 (both in Russian and in English) and in “Indicators of science: 2016” (the data book will be issued in 2016). Furthermore, the monitoring survey results are regularly used in analytical reports by international organizations, includingOECD STI Scoreboard 2015, as well as in papers devoted to the issues of innovation development in Russia.
Level of implementation, recommendations on implementation or outcomes of the implementation of the results
Results of this study can be used for development of science and innovation popularization activities in frames of “Strategy for Innovative Development of the Russian Federation 2020”. In addition, they can be used for the development mechanisms of public engagement in policymaking in terms of discussions on the most important directions in science and technology development.
The monitoring data indicate that the democratization of the interaction between the public and science is able to increase the attractiveness of museums, exhibitions and festivals and other activities and institutions. This will not only draw citizens’ attention to the development of new scientific knowledge and technologies, but also encourage their active participation in the discussion of sensitive and ethically controversial topics (cloning, GMO, etc.).
Analysis of public opinion concerning careers in science shows that the major part of population has not formed an attitude to science work as to interesting and fulfilling one. If young people have more positive image of work in science, such career will be more attractive to them.
Finally, new technologies brought by scientific and technological progress shape people’s lifestyles and believes resulting in both positive and negative outcomes. A big part of population declares the readiness to engage in science and technology policymaking including the issues related to economic, social and environmental risks that come along with technology development. Meeting such need requires (among other things) establishing of channels for citizens’ involvement in dialogue about the development of STI policy tools.