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 the United Arab Emirates 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 beyond our health.
86% We are more environmentally conscious
89% Scientists are critical to our future well-being
81% 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 six into the pandemic, remains at the highest level we have ever seen it since tracking began [90%].
At the same time, skepticism in science continues to be high. Around half (52%) are skeptical of science (vs. 27% globally*), making the UAE among the most skeptical of all countries surveyed in SOSI 2021.
As trust grows, we appear to increasingly favor science over our personal beliefs and biases, as evidenced by a 4-point jump in the percentage of people who only believe science that aligns with their personal beliefs from the 2020 Pandemic Pulse Survey.
82% Defend science when someone is questioning it
82% There are negative consequences to society if science is not valued
Increased trust in science may have influenced our pandemic behavior.
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:
79% Wear a mask in public settings
71% Frequent hand washing
70% Avoid large gatherings
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:
77% Believe the growth in science appreciation will continue beyond the pandemic
23% Predict science appreciation won’t last/or are unsure
In the UAE, this hopefulness includes priorities that science can solve for beyond health – such as sustainability and STEM equity gaps. A new-found enthusiasm for science in youth suggests that the image of science may continue to improve as younger generations age.
89% Agree the world needs more people pursuing STEM careers
79% Have been more inspired to pursue a STEM career due to the pandemic
Both men and women agree that more needs to be done to address STEM inequities women face.
88% 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.
88% 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.
We are concerned about clean water supply, air pollution, cimate change, ocean plastics pollution and intensifying natural disasters.
89% Across all generations, people believe we should follow the science to help make the world more sustainable.
UAE sees cross-border and cross-sector collaboration as essential to scientific advancement.
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 [89%]. We can also deduce that the public sees a correlation between the impact of science, scientific funding, and policy.
88% Believe countries should collaborate to create solutions based on science as the world faces major challenges like the pandemic and climate change
88% 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:
And to build a more sustainable future, specific actions companies should take, are: