March 20, 2013

Awareness and Impressions of Synthetic Biology: Results of the 2013 Poll

  • March 20, 2013
  • 12:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.
  • Light lunch at 11:30 am
  • 5th Floor Conference Room

Beginning in 2006, the Science and Technology Innovation Program at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and Peter D. Hart Research Associates have conducted periodic national telephone surveys to gauge the public awareness of and attitudes towards synthetic biology and nanotechnology.

In our latest survey, conducted in January 2013, three-fourths of respondents say they have heard little or nothing about synthetic biology, a level consistent with that measured in 2010. While initial impressions about the science are largely undefined, these feelings do not necessarily become more positive as respondents learn more. The public has mixed reactions to specific synthetic biology applications, and almost one-third of respondents favor a ban “on synthetic biology research until we better understand its implications and risks,” while 61 percent think the science should move forward.

The survey also found that, despite outreach efforts, 68 percent of respondents have heard little or nothing about nanotechnology, which reveals no change in awareness since 2009.

More information on the event and a link to the live webcast are available here.

More information on our previous polls can be found on our Publications page.

Here is the video from the event: