Estonians’ trust in science is very high (78%) by the study by the Estonian Science Barometer. Most Estonians see scientists as experts based on the report.
Interest in science is like that in Finland, but higher than, for example, in Sweden or Switzerland. The most interested in science are the Estonian-speakers, men, people under 65 years of age and people with higher education.
“Such a high percentage was a pleasant surprise,” states Karin Jaanson, Executive Director of the Estonian Research Council. Partly, it can be because the survey was conducted during the global pandemic when most people turned to scientists for answers.
“It is quite an interesting comparison; in Estonia, 89% of people see scientists and researchers as experts. In Germany, for example, only 64% of people,” describes Marju Himma-Kadakas, one of the authors of the study.
The support for financing science and research and relying on a science-based society is also remarkably high in Estonia. 90% of Estonian residents agree that scientific research is necessary, even if there is no instant benefit. 87% of people think that the state should support research more. Scientists have quite a strong position in helping to manage state affairs already, but 85% of the Estonian people thought that politicians should listen to scientists and researchers more often.
As the study revealed, trust is lower among the elderly and people with a lower level of education. They are also less informed. So, the authors of the study recommend relaying and explaining science-related topics to older people and those who don’t speak Estonian or have a lower level of education.
The Estonian Science Barometer is a monitoring tool for measuring the attitudes of people towards science and their exposure to it.