European Law Monitor

Make your voice heard!

European Law Monitor newsEuropeans are more interested in the results of medical and health research than in international, economic and social news, says a new Eurobarometer.

A survey conducted for the European Commission by Eurobarometer confirms that there is a strong interest in most European countries, particularly in the old EU member states, in health research as well as in science and technology. The interest is even higher than in international news and economic and social affairs. Europeans are especially paying attention to the added value that health and medical research can bring to their daily lives. The survey indicates also that citizens trust the scientific and medical professions above all others when it comes to information on science or health research, and that international institutions • including the European Union itself • are significantly more trusted than regional or national governmental sources.

European Science and Research Commissioner, Janez Potočnik, said: "This Eurobarometer shows the growing interest in research issues among Europeans, particularly in areas that affect them directly. The desire for information about health and medical research is undoubtedly linked to the ageing of the population, but it is also encouraging to see the interest among the younger generation as well for science and technology. This study clearly highlights our responsibility to communicate the results of the research we support to the public."

The European Commission has carried out a Eurobarometer public opinion survey to analyse the degree of interest and information European citizens have about medical and health research. In particular, this study aims to measure the level of awareness among European citizens of European collaborative research projects on biological and medical issues, and to identify the factors and sources of information that can contribute to improving such awareness.

Key findings of the survey include:

       * A large majority of European citizens are interested in medical and health research (71%), as well as in science and technology (60%). Environment is the main concern of an overwhelming 84% of respondents. Moreover, Europeans are more interested in health research than in European and international news (70%) and economic and social affairs (68%). The interest of citizens in medical and health research increases with age (76% of people aged 55 and over compared with 61% of those aged 15-24).
       * What attracts the attention of citizens the most are principally the results of medical research (78%) and the new discoveries on major diseases (60%). Europeans are interested in information which allows them to better protect themselves from infectious diseases. This attention to the results of research is even more accentuated among the elderly and among those having suffered from a chronic or life-threatening disease or having experienced this situation in their families.
       * More than half of Europeans (52%), especially in the old Member States, are aware that researchers specialised in biology or medical sciences have the opportunity to work with European colleagues on collaborative research projects, and 44% are aware of the role of the European Union in co-funding such collaborative research.
       * In terms of reliable sources of information, European citizens are most likely to put their trust in doctors or medical staff (53%) and researchers working at a university or government laboratory (47%) as a source of information on biological and medical research, followed by the specialised press (31%). International institutions -including the EU- and non-governmental organisations are significantly more trusted than regional or national governmental sources.
       * Television remains the most important information channel used by Europeans to get information on science and research (70%), followed by newspapers, radio and magazines. The growing use of the internet as a source of scientific information (19%), especially among young Europeans, is also noted.

The survey is based on 29,000 interviews conducted in 29 countries: the 27 EU Member States, Turkey and Croatia.

For additional information on the survey and to access the report:
For additional information on European Collaborative Health Research, see also:
Reproduced with the permission of the European Commission IP/07/1341