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Young Europeans are enthusiastic about science – but still reluctant to pursue scientific careers

Science tops the table of young Europeans' interests, but that does not seem to be enough to make them consider a scientific career, indicates a new ‘Eurobarometer’, published in November 2008. Young people's recommendations how to get young Europeans more involved in research and innovation were given to the EU Commissioner for science and research, Janez Potočnik, and French Minister for Higher Education and Research Valérie Pécresse during the "European City of Science" held in Paris on 14 November 2008.

"I'm happy to see that science stimulates the European youth. The Eurobarometer survey shows that there is a huge reservoir of interest and support to science in the young generation. However, the low interest in engineering and scientific studies is a major concern, as well as the gender imbalance. We must reverse this trend because talented and educated "brains" are EU major assets in the current global competition" said EU Commissioner for Science and Research, Janez Potočnik.

The recommendations conclude 6 months of work undertaken by some 150 young Europeans from the 27 Member States. They include a proposal to organise an event called “European Capital of Science” which would be held annually and rotate through every European Union country, and a suggestion that the EU should increase interest in science & technology by making links between science education and recent scientific work.

The latest Eurobarometer data show that young Europeans (aged 15-25) have mixed attitudes towards science and technology (S&T). On the one hand, they have positive feelings about S&T, with 82% agreeing that S&T bring more benefits than harm. On the other hand, more than half of the young people interviewed said they are not themselves thinking about studying in science or engineering. In addition, 69% of all interviewees agree that science classes at school are not appealing enough. However, in New Member States, young people were slightly more open to scientific studies.

Further information:

Link to the young people's recommendations:

See also website of the European City of Science:

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