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SOBERING STATISTICS

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If scientific research is ever going to get its much-needed increase in funding, we have to change the public’s perception of research:

A 2012 survey of Americans found that only 50% of respondents believe the benefits of scientific research “strongly” outweigh the bad. Another 22% said the benefits are only “slight,” while 7% feel the negatives outweigh the positive entirely.

The good news is that, in the same survey, the vast majority (83%) of respondents supported federal funding of scientific research. But 45% thought the current levels of funding were adequate, while only 38% said funding needs to increase.

Read more about this survey and the public’s opinion of science and technology in this 2014 report from the National Science Foundation: http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/seind14/index.cfm/chapter-7