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CANADIANS ENTHUSIASTIC ABOUT SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH

June 14, 2016

By Bruce Anderson & David Coletto

In our latest survey of Canadian public opinion we included a few questions about the plans of the federal government to put additional resources into scientific research.

The findings:

• 78% believe that to “build a healthy economy for the long term Canada must invest increasing amounts in research and to attract this kind of investment from around the world.”

• In contrast, 22% believe that “research doesn’t do much for our economy today and is unlikely to be a big part of Canada’s economy in the future – our money is better spent on other things.”

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• There are virtually no differences by age or region on this point, and only marginal differences between those on the left and those on the right of the spectrum.

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• We also asked people to express an opinion about STEM fields (science, technology, engineering and math). A modest majority (59%) think “Canada should make a greater effort to encourage young people to study in these fields”. A substantial minority (41%) believe “that other skills are just as important or more important”.

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• There were some more notable differences across different subsets of the population. Younger people were more convinced than older people that the country should be encouraging STEM studies. Those who voted Conservative in 2015 were also less inclined than others to feel this way.

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• Those with more education are more convinced of the need to have more STEM students. Also, those who feel the economy is doing well are more convinced that this is the way to go.
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THE UPSHOT

According to Bruce Anderson:

“Canadians know that the global economy is undergoing a transition and that future competitiveness for Canada will require change on our part — and probably constant change.

As the government reviews its approach to investing in scientific research for the future, a couple of things are clear. First, most people believe Canada can ill afford to fall behind in equipping our young people with the skills needed to propel our economy and build good futures for themselves.

Second, that Canadians also recognize that not everyone will be perfectly suited to these studies, and that Canada will require people with a range of other skills and talents too. Policy that promotes science and STEM studies, while still reflecting that “one-size-doesn’t-fit-all” sensibility will find the broadest support.”

Methodology

Our survey was conducted online with 2,000 Canadians aged 18 and over from May 17 to 20, 2016. A random sample of panelists was invited to complete the survey from a large representative panel of over 500,000 Canadians.

The Marketing Research and Intelligence Association policy limits statements about margins of sampling error for most online surveys.

The margin of error for a comparable probability-based random sample of 2,000 is +/- 2.2%, 19 times out of 20.

The data were weighted according to census data to ensure that the sample matched Canada’s population according to age, gender, educational attainment, and region. Totals may not add up to 100 due to rounding.

Abacus Data Inc.

We offer global research capacity with a strong focus on customer service, attention to detail and value added insight. Our team combines the experience of our Chairman Bruce Anderson, one of Canada’s leading research executives for two decades, with the energy, creativity and research expertise of CEO David Coletto, PhD.


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