IP Outreach Research > IP Creation


Title: Young People and Science - Analytical Report
Author: [The Gallup Organization]

European Commission

Year: 2008


Subject/Type: Innovation
Focus: Success Factors
Country/Territory: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, International, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom
Objective: To determine young people's interest in science and technology, their views on various topics and their plans for future involvement in the scientific domains.
Sample: Almost 25.000 randomly selected young people (aged between 15 and 25) interviewed across the 27 EU Member States
Methodology: Telephone interviews, face-to-face interviews

Main Findings

Young Europeans show a high level of interest in science and technology: two in three EU citizens are attracted by the topic (75% of male, and 59% of female respondents). Interest in specific science and technology topics varies: 89% are at least moderately interested the earth and the environment, 87% in new inventions and technologies, 83% in the human body and medical discoveries, 83% in information and communication technologies (ICT), and 64% in the universe, sky and stars. Young men tend to be more interested in new inventions and technologies and ICT, while young women find the earth and the environment and the human body and medical discoveries most interesting.

Overall, young Europeans view science and technology positively, with just 16% believing that science and technology bring more harm than benefits. Respondents also have a positive image of scientists: 79% agree that scientists are devoted people who work for the good of humanity. Notwithstanding, six in ten believe that due to their knowledge, scientists have power that can make them dangerous. 90% agree that young people’s interest in science is essential for future prosperity, and 84% are in favour of further encouraging girls and young women to take up studies and careers in science. Almost 70% feel that science classes at school are not sufficiently appealing.

Only a minority of young Europeans are considering choices of scientific study: they are most likely to say that they would study social sciences (39%), followed by economics/business studies (36%); 31% would definitely or probably consider studying biology or medicine, 28% engineering, 25% natural sciences, and 24% mathematics. Preferred professions in science are: engineer (cited by 22% of those considering studying natural sciences and/or mathematics), health professional (22%), teacher (15%), researcher in the private sector (12%), researcher in the public sector (11%), and technician (9%). Reasons given for not considering studying engineering and/or biology or medicine are: “I have already chosen my profession” (56%), “I am not interested in this kind of profession” (52%), “I don’t have the skills for such a profession” (26%), and “this type of profession doesn’t pay well enough” (3%).

[Date Added: Jan 28, 2009 ]