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Science and technology
 
UK science is well regarded, but young people rank the UK behind the USA, Japan and Germany for innovation. There is a low level of awareness of major recent UK advances in science and technology.

Tell me the extent to which you agree or disagree with this statement:
'(Country name) has a strong reputation at the moment for scientific and technological innovation.'


The primacy of the United States and Japan as centres of scientific and technological innovation was endorsed by massive margins. Views of the other three countries were more mixed, though a clear hierarchy emerged with Germany in third place, the UK fourth and France fifth.

The survey showed that the difficulty for UK science is not that young people don't think it is good, but that they regard that of some other countries as better. In general across the 17 survey countries 66 per cent of people agreed that the UK has a strong reputation in this field, and in eight countries (Argentina, Hong Kong and Hungary; and Bangladesh, Kenya, Nigeria, Pakistan and the UEA) the proportion was 73 - 93 per cent. Dissents were led by Japan, where 27 per cent of people disagreed, and Singapore (18 per cent).

British inventions

Discussion in the focus groups showed that young people were not always aware of UK achievements in science and technology. This evidence was supported by answers to a follow-up question asking people to link three recent major inventions to its country of origin. In the event the only one of the three inventions that was correctly identified with the United Kingdom was cloning¹.

I am now going to read out a number of inventions from this century, I'd like you to tell me in which of these countries you think they were invented.

The World Wide Web

Viagra

Cloning

¹World Wide Web

This was invented in 1989 by Tim Berners-Lee, a British graduate of Oxford University, while working at CERN, the European Particle Physics Laboratory. He wrote the first web client ( browser-editor) and server in 1990. The optical amplifier, allowing a step-change in how much data can be transmitted over the web and thus speeding its development, was also invented in the UK.

Viagra

In 1992, scientists in Sandwich, Kent, developing a new drug to treat angina, realised that it might help the biochemical processes involved in male arousal, which had just been resolved. The drug was subsequently marketed as Viagra.

Cloning

In February 1997, Dolly the sheep was born at the Roslin Institute in Edinburgh, the first clone of an adult mammal ever born.


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