By Dr Chiara Ceci, Strategic Communications Executive at the Royal Society of Chemistry.

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The first national, in-depth study on how the UK public thinks and feels about chemistry, chemists and chemicals

When we asked our members what we should do more of, “improve public attitudes to chemistry” is a common theme. But the truth is that we don’t really know what public attitudes to chemistry are. Or at least we didn’t until today.

At the Royal Society of Chemistry we think that it’s critically important that we understand and measure people’s interest in and engagement with chemistry.

While much research has been conducted into public attitudes to science (e.g., Public attitudes to science), there is very little evidence of their attitudes to chemistry specifically.
To create an evidence-based strategy to improve the public perception of chemistry, we first needed to discover what that perception actually is.

We commissioned the social research company TNS BMRB to conduct the first-ever national, in-depth study of what the UK public thinks and feels about chemistry, chemists and chemicals.
The research included several stages, namely: a literature review, telephone interviews, two surveys and online research with our members; two waves of eight qualitative public workshops; and a public survey conducted face to face with 2,104 UK adults (16+).

From the full research report we have developed a communications toolkit and an infographic outlining the key findings, which launched yesterday.
All materials are available at rsc.li/pac

The event was live streamed yesterday, you can watch the recording here

Together with few colleagues, I am going to be at the Science Communication Conference in Manchester Thursday 18 and Friday 19 June. I am sure there will be opportunities to discuss this research there as well!

Join the conversation on Twitter using #chemperceptions