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CULT Study presentation: Science and scientific literacy as an educational challenge

February 4, 2019 @ 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Recent societal developments across Europe have been characterised by a growing support for extreme political ideologies, the spread of misinformation, disinformation and conspiracy theories, and the growth of anti-scientific movements such as climate change sceptics and anti-vaccines. In this context, scientific literacy and a critical approach to the validity, reliability and impact of information are important tools for democratic development and sustainable growth. Many pressing policy issues facing European societies – such as health, energy, climate change, automation and sustainable development – raise clear scientific questions. They require an informed and critical view from the public and scientifically literate citizens able to participate in the civic debate around these challenges.

In light of these challenges, it is crucial to understand the state of scientific literacy in Europe and the evidence base on key approaches to strengthen people’s critical thinking skills and scientific curiosity. Promoting scientific literacy in European societies is one of the solutions to combat the spread of misinformation and disinformation and ensure an informed democratic dialogue based on evidence. This study aims to enable Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) to form their opinions regarding potential European Union (EU) education policy developments to foster scientific literacy in Europe.

The specific research questions this review aims to answer are:

  • What is understood by the concept of scientific literacy?
  • What is the level of scientific literacy among Europeans (to the extent that evidence is available)?
  • What are the current education policy approaches used to enhance scientific literacy among the population in different Member States?
  • What key policy recommendations can be made to improve educational responses to foster scientific literacy among the EU population?



Policy Department B


SPINELLI 3G3 European Parliament
60 rue Wiertz
Brussels, 1047 Belgium
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