Trust in science: assessing pandemic impacts in four EU countries

Trust in science is a key issue during the Covid-19 pandemic. Facing the novelty, complexity and impacts of the new coronavirus, the limits of scientific knowledge have been exposed. We are advised by experts to follow recommendations and respect restrictions even while their knowledge of the virus and the means to control it is provisional. In this article five experienced science communication researchers and practitioners discuss pandemic impacts for trust in Germany, Ireland, Italy and Sweden.

Public opinion surveys in many countries have shown increasing trust and confidence in science and scientists through the Covid-19 pandemic. A discussion paper based on such surveys for four European countries reports and reflects on these findings. The paper is the product of a collaboration between PCST Network and EUSEA (European Science Engagement Association). Cissi Askwall, president, and Markus Weißkopf, former president, represented EUSEA, while Brian Trench, president, and Birte Fähnrich and Massimiano Bucchi, Scientific Committee members, represented PCST.

The collaboration started with a panel session at the ESOF (Euroscience Open Forum) conference in Trieste, Italy in September 2020, and the discussion paper was developed from that.

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