Who is willing to pay for science? On the relationship between public perception of science and the attitude to public funding of science
This article examines the relationship between the general public’s understanding of science and the attitude towards public funding of scientific research. One of the main objectives of studies on the public perception of science has been the creation of an indicator of the social support for public policies aimed at promoting scientific research. The underlying premise is that the degree of knowledge has a considerable bearing on interest in science and its perception. Conclusions can be drawn from a substantive as well as a methodological conclusion. From a standard survey, it turns out to be difficult to predict an individual’s attitude towards financing. On the basis of the conclusions authors can suggest lines for future development of this area of research. If it is accepted that the support for public funding of scientific research is an important feature of the perception of science, the degree to which a variable contributes to identify the group of people in favour of public funding can be used as a criterion to select some of the questions to be included in future questionnaires.