Scientists could have communicated better during pandemic, survey shows

Scientists could have communicated better during pandemic, survey shows
Credit: Belga

The majority of Flemish people continue to trust scientists, however, only half of them feel scientists communicated understandably during the coronavirus crisis, a government survey has shown.

Seven out of ten Flemings say they explicitly trust science, while just over half of the Flemish people (51%) think that what scientists say is true,  Flemish Minister of Science Policy Hilde Crevits’ Science Barometer showed. A little more than 4% of people said they do not trust scientists.

“Despite the continuing crisis and difficult times, the Flemish people continue to recognise the importance of science and to have faith in it. This is a more than positive signal and gives a boost to the objective of increasing support for research and science,” Crevits said in a press release.

When it comes to public opinion of scientists during the pandemic, trust in what scientists say is slightly higher than last year. Three-quarters of those questioned said that scientists came across as professional during the crisis.

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However, the science barometer also reveals working points, as half of the Flemish people think that scientists’ communication skills could have been better. Especially people aged over 55 responded that scientists made too little effort to come across as understandable.

“This confirms why we invest over €10 million in effective science communication in Flanders. We want to make science understandable for young and old,” Crevits added.

The Science Barometer is a government survey instrument conducted among 1,300 respondents in October 2021 and is designed to determine the support for science and technology among various target groups.

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