Does the public trust science? Scientists? Scientific organizations? What roles do trust and the lack of trust play in public debates about how science can be used to address such societal concerns as childhood vaccination, cancer screening, and a warming planet? What could happen if social trust in science or scientists faded? These types of questions led the Roundtable on Public Interfaces of the Life Sciences of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine to convene a 2-day workshop on May 5-6, 2015 on public trust in science.
This report explores empirical evidence on public opinion and attitudes toward life sciences as they relate to societal issues, whether and how contentious debate about select life science topics mediates trust, and the roles that scientists, business, media, community groups, and other stakeholders play in creating and maintaining public confidence in life sciences. Does the Public Trust Science? Trust and Confidence at the Interfaces of the Life Sciences and Society highlights research on the elements of trust and how to build, mend, or maintain trust; and examine best practices in the context of scientist engagement with lay audiences around social issues.
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