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RCUK / NERC Public Insight Survey

Survey of UK adults on behalf of RCUK and NERC on attitudes towards academic research, and workshops with UK public about engagement with academic research.

  • Science and nature documentaries appear to be the most popular form of research-related media, with three in five UK adults saying they watch them at least once month (59%).
  • 83% of UK adults say they would be interested in visiting a museum over the next year.
  • University academics (81%) and prominent TV presenters such as David Attenborough and Mary Beard (80%) are the sources UK adults believe to be most trustworthy, of those tested.
  • The majority of UK adults (81%) say they would trust a researcher they saw on TV talking about research in general.
  • The vast majority of the UK public (84%) say that they support public money being used to fund research, while less than one in ten (8%) oppose.
  • Three quarters of the UK public (75%) agree that public funding of research benefits them, their family or their friends.
  • The UK public are most likely to say that they have seen, read or heard about research about the natural environment (54%), medicine (52%) and economics and society (47%) in the last month.

Date Published: 20/04/2017

Categories: Public and communities | Public Sector | Social | UK

Client: Research Councils UK / Natural Environment Research Council


ComRes interviewed 3,000 UK adults aged 16+ online (16-64 year olds) and by telephone (those aged 65+) between the 20th and 31st January 2017. Data were weighted to be nationally representative of all UK adults aged 16+ by age, gender, region and socio-economic grade.

  1. RCUK-NERC-Public-Insight-Survey-Data-Tables 0.02 MB.

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