Science and Society - Is Something Going Wrong?

Is skepticism about science particularly prevalent in Austria? This is one of the questions addressed in a recent IHS study. Interim results show that disinterest in science is more pronounced than systematic skepticism.


In recent years, the role of science has come into focus - not least because of the Corona pandemic. On behalf of the BMBWF, the IHS is conducting a study together with Aarhus University and science journalist Klaus Taschwer to examine the relationship between society, science and politics. The aim is to explore attitudes among the Austrian population and to explore systemic and historical causes. Initial results were presented at the beginning of the year and indicate the need for a critical debate on science skepticism.

This is confirmed by study leader Johanne Starkbaum (IHS): "Currently, science skepticism is being discussed more intensively in Austria. However, there is no differentiated debate about which forms of skepticism toward science exist in society and which causes may be responsible for it. Our initial results show that disinterest in science is more pronounced than systematic skepticism. Trust in science in Austria is high and constant over time in all surveys we analyzed. However, there are also critical attitudes toward science in parts of the Austrian population. These exist in all areas of society and are not limited to specific socioeconomic groups. However, skepticism does not have to be rejection of scientific methods, but can be criticism of the connections between science and other areas of society, such as politics or economics."

A more detailed presentation of the initial results is available on the website of the BMBWF